Awards, red carpets, receptions and knowing people

The longer I work in this business, the more I marvel at the ego gymnastics we put ourselves through. And the more I marvel at it, the easier it is to do a double back dismount after a giant on the high bar with a cocktail in hand. (in case you are curious)

This week, I was at the SOCAN music awards where our client Rose Cousins performed “If You Could Read My Mind” in a Lifetime Achievement Award tribute to Gordon Lightfoot. It was a meaningful reason to be somewhere. I’m a longtime fan of Lightfoot, and I can’t think of anything more powerful than seeing one songwriter I greatly admire (and get to work with) perform in tribute to another, who is an absolute legend.

SOCAN Music Awards

It was so great to see folks like Jill Barber and Kathleen Edwards take home SOCANs. To watch as so many writers and co-writing relationships, across all genres, were celebrated at the event. And to congratulate and commune for a night.

In moments like these, I am reminded how lucky I am to do this work, how inspired I am by colleagues and artists, but I am also reminded of another thing…

We are people.
We fit in. We stand out.
We relate. We are different.
We belong. We are remarkable.

Everything that we are works in contradictions, and also creates friction. It is a friction that can debilitate some if taken in desperation, but I prefer to see it as a happy friction, and keep it on my good side.

I know some people who go to industry awards events a lot “get the drill” and start to look at them as just another thing you do when you work in the industry. In and out, bup bup bup, snap snap snap, flash flash flash, and there you go. When I first started going, I thought that was my goal. To get to a place with it where I felt like it was old hat and easy, like it didn’t matter, so I could just move through it, know what to do, where to go, let interactions and conversations happen. Minimize it to make it socially easy. Do the thing. You know?

But I gotta say, that’s just not my way. That hasn’t happened. And well, I’m kinda glad now.

I hope I never lose the sense of wonder I feel about these events.

How powerful it is to gather various sub-sections of the industry – teams of people who work so hard, and see them – for just a moment – be recognized for their efforts and achievements.

Are these events nerve-wracking? Totally.
Does everyone pretend they aren’t? Probably.
Do some people or projects not get recognized that should? Oh come on, of course.

And sure… It does feel different the more people I get to know and the more our artists grow and are known. But that is just natural in any environment. We have to be on the outside of things before we are on the inside.

But generally, if we welcome ourselves to the moment, the moment welcomes us back.

So, here is my advice if you are headed to an awards show or industry event…

I encourage you to let it matter. Let yourself feel uncomfortable or intimidated if it’s your first or second time. Be okay if you don’t know people – and trust you will continue to know more and more. But most of all…

Don’t suppress your sense of wonder. Protect and defend it.

Don’t worry about being cool. Be totally uncool. Be YOURSELF.

If you let yourself see and hear the moment, through your own eyes and ears, you’ll experience the moment to its fullest!