Most of the time the things that we aspire for and dream about are based solely on what is “the tip of the iceberg” – the summit, if you will, in all its amazing glory. What lays hidden, except to the select few who have managed to reach the apex or those who have experienced scaling the mountain before, is a plethora of navigational requirements and challenges one needs to traverse and be aware of just to be able to say one has experienced the journey.
Forget for a moment about reaching the summit – that is an entirely different ballgame altogether.
The iceberg or the mountain being referred to here is what is known to the music public as the GRAMMY Awards.
Despite all references to “dreams” and “aspirations”, I’ll be the first to admit that anything GRAMMY related is far beyond the realm of reasonable or realistic expectations from my end as I went about my musical pursuits. I did, however, endeavor to find out how one becomes a member of the Recording Academy. And when I was able to get my membership in 2011, I already considered that a highlight of my career – to be part of this prestigious organization of musical peers.
Every year thereafter, I stood on the sidelines during the awards season, a proud listening participant during the campaign and voting process as I exercised the privilege of having my vote counted towards determining who among the best of the best would receive a GRAMMY.
When we released the album STRONGER THAN BEFORE last November 9, 2013, we never even considered entering it into any of the award categories in this year’s competition. As we have always maintained, it was too much of a pipe dream, even though the album was starting to get a lot of traction with positive reviews, and nominations at the Hollywood Music In Media Awards and the American Songwriting Awards.
Then late in 2013, we found out that we’d be able to attend music’s biggest night in 2014 – the GRAMMY Awards night itself. It was another first for me, and little did I know, it also planted a little seed of plausibility. Do I dare submit my work and my creation for GRAMMY consideration amongst those of my musical peers and music legends?
The decision was thus made after attending GRAMMY night last January to throw our hat in the ring and see where this journey would take us.
Despite the tempered expectations, there was definitely excitement too at the prospect of participating in this process – of having to submit your work, studying carefully the eligibility guidelines for album releases, to choosing the right category for our lone entry, which is the title track of the album – STRONGER THAN BEFORE.
When submissions were opened in June of 2014, we finally dared ourselves to dream as we filled in the online submission forms, read instructions carefully, and sent in a physical copy of our album for GRAMMY consideration.
The initial reluctance stemmed from that inherent doubt that echos the question “Am I good enough?” or “Am I worthy enough?” – questions that I continue to struggle with throughout my career. With every step forward and intermediate goal achieved, the doubts get a bit diffused layer by layer, but I guess one cannot totally outrun its pervasive nature – just as you can’t totally eliminate that initial nervousness every time you step on stage and size up a new audience. You just have to face it head on, always trying a little harder each time to be better at your craft.
That’s how you grow. And eventually you find yourself asking a different type of question – “Why not me?”
After 3 long months, we found ourselves staring at the officially accepted entry list released last October 15, with STRONGER THAN BEFORE officially on the ballot for the 57th GRAMMY Awards. I can’t begin to tell you what a thrill that experience was for someone like me. And the realization that all I’ve done thus far was to get myself to the starting gate – giving myself the privilege and the opportunity to be part of this race.
It’s another chapter written to my ongoing musical journey, one that has defied the odds so far and surpassed all my personal expectations already.
As before….my music journey continues. Thanks so much for being a part of it!
ALWAYS IN MUSIC,