Song Fu…2? (on Contests, Fails, Wins, Friends, and being Ill…)

This EXTREMELY LONG blog post is about Masters of Song Fu, which is a contest I used to be involved in.

If you remember or were a fan or reader of mine in 2009-2010; it effectively pulled me out of my slump and got me to expand my fan base through audience participation and voting. To be honest and frank, I was looking forward to its return which had been whispered about.

This was mostly for selfish reasons. There always seemed to be something about the NAME Song Fu – and it was the only contest I participated in in a mainstream way which encouraged vote solicitation (at Song Fight! we prefer that the vote not be “friend flooded.” I’m glad I have that and it actually helps me express myself more freely in songwriting (like with the “f” and “s” word if I want to or something), but I wished there had been a voting component in Spintunes because I didn’t have gigs to advertise to my fans for a while- even now, for personal reasons. Anyway… :)).

People have asked from time to time about Song Fu; and I thought it was kind of groovy that within my fanbase, enough support was drummed up to place me first in round three of Fu VI, although I didn’t have the votes to go up head to head as one of the top two.

Honestly, a lot of support was drummed up for a LOT of us. This surprised many of us. A lot of us have gotten a LOT of cred just for being in Fu. This was due to a combination of factors, but mostly, it really boiled down to that magical thing that happens when you mix a bunch of artists together and they share each other’s fanbases because they are similar. It’s kind of like what we Wanted to have happen at SongFight! – why it’s nice that the fights are generally small.

It was explained to me once quite succinctly in a Fu listening party BY Mr. Plume… that there was a reason the that website continued on in such a cumbersome design (it encouraged people to scroll down through all the entries. I don’t know that it did, but it’s a nice thought and I took it at face value).

I do have a few people from random corners of the world listening to me and I don’t know who they are. I am listed as similar to the Song Fu people when I am Denise Hudson and to Song Fight people when I am DJ Ranger Den. I guess a chunk of my followers are due to my little brother’s fine hustle (he’s in a niftysauce band) and still more are due to the random Scot I acquired during Round 2 of Fu 6. That was interesting. These things happen during the Magic that is Fu.

Well, it’s returned all right; some would say, but its not a contest anymore.
I am kind of thinking of it as Song Fu 2, or NewSong Fu, even. Song Fu – the year They Removed Contact. It’s not the same in the least. I doubt my droll and smart assed nicknames would be unanimously appreciated; but these are MY feelings on the subject. They’re a little sharp, but kinda jokey. Kinda.

In all seriousness, I would call it an open forum clinic-environment for aspiring songwriters interested in online production. A kind of long term Master Class with a contest-like set-up. A thing which does have benefit, certainly. I could use some work on my own production in collaborations. But I think I can do that with what I have already, and I am already taking steps to get there. I am not adverse to other approaches.

Of course, I have had enough trouble learning to take critique from my peers. Why would I start again as a songwriting amoeba, so to speak? As beneficial as *any* learning environment is, due to the nature of being kind of a hermitty shut-in who finds traditional performance scenarios difficult (I am, of course, working earnestly on this and will blog to this Effect… #heywhereareyougoing ๐Ÿ™‚ ….); I feel like I am constantly having to professionally “start over.” To voluntarily do so sounds kinda like a real drag when I have other opportunities to do something I’ve gotten recognizably good at. Maybe that’s just hubris. I’ve had to learn that lesson the hard way before, that I don’t know what I’m doing yet just because I have a piece of paper and can play. But I’m not humble enough to *not* say I’m too proud for New-Fu; although perhaps I *will* fancy one of these personality-born challenges and write a little something and post it up on my own place. Maybe discuss it on the Fu Facebook page or something. So I’m not bitter and won’t be trashy because its great that things weren’t just left in the garbage.

Because what is the point of being snarky? I do hold back much of the time. There is a vestige of dark cloud-who me(?) in the air and I really do feel like saying something a little bit Pro-Old-Skool (or perhaps middle-Skool?) Fu. Because it WAS, indeed, a glorious thing. Otherwise, we would not have continued spending way, way too much time together – this little group of us that kind of glommed onto one another. I think there’s about 15-30 of us that meander in and out. Give or take ten or twenty and any given point in time. I dunno. We’ve never taken up a directory or compiled a dictionary of the weird little language we’ve developed concerning our memes and traditions and culture and expectations and happenings and lives and … STUFF… ๐Ÿ™‚ We just remember that that IS what she SAID and continue back-and-forthing wherever we endup late at night or early in the morning or on whatever radio show or cast or contest pops up; welcoming new folks that “fit.” And there have been some that have found our little weird place we’ve made.

We who have already participated in Song Fu-Spintunes Thing-y-ma-Jig are a diverse lot. Most are not career musicians. Some are just spreading wings in the entertainment industry. Some are reconnecting or re-jumpstarting careers in the milleu. All need practice and all benefitted from the way people before us have done the very lo-fi Internet success thing – which is accomplished through a combination of hard work and some lucky breaks.

There were other contests, before the Spintunes came along and during. I myself became a Song Fighter – and I’m there more than I am with this little family-like group of mine. I needed something even more than Song Fu and Nur Ein fit the bill for that because the challenge turn around time is shorter than Fu’s was. And at Song Fight! there is always a title up.

I’ve been happy to see that there are other addicts like me in both of these places. They generally participate in everything they can get their hands on, in both places. You’ll find them in Fight things, in Spin things, in Frankensong Challenges, in White Elephant Club stuff, and in other stuff that floats around. I did an OMG Songclub once. Other folks are doing and have done FAWM. Others are even novel writers and do NanNoWriMo every year. There is song-a-day man, who made a career out of, well, his own personal challenge… and of course JoCo who did the song a week thing before Fu ever was. This whole thing is sort of a culture.

I have been writing about this in personal detail for a couple years now during all of this. Just from my point of view, and I will continue to do so until I feel like “it” is ready for “something-or-other.” Right now it looks like a cross between a weird fictionalized romance novel about my song-characters, science fiction-fantasy, fan-fiction, a diary, and something like Edric’s, Dave’s, or the Offhand Band’s song biographies.

Anyway, I digress…

There is a Facebook group (I linked above) that was started around the time of “original Fu’s” demise. On it, it was mentioned that it would sure be nice if some of the contest winners that were declared (however so) Masters participated as guests during rounds with Molly Lewis and the DoubleClicks.

I myself feel that this is most likely not going to happen. The small time of camaraderie between the founder and the veterans who continued the contest ended fairly swiftly. Attempts to engage back and forth on all sorts of topics yielded little fruit. But I think that there perhaps are hurt feelings, as if the later masters needed more recognition somehow.

The forum does sound like a place for people learning the ropes to develop an album to prompts over the course of a year.
And just maybe, everybody got honored enough by the fact that a group of us was inspired to bind together in an exciting collective of cantankerous and protective people who feel that we really made something to be proud of in Fu, and beyond.
Because we did.

Perhaps some of us sound snarky to those not well versed in all this. Perhaps this is true. Maybe it seems petty, as if there is silly complaining about something which isn’t really that big a deal. But to think that the nebulous and undefined group of us didn’t get some snark as though we were unruly children would be incorrect. We made something “Phoenix-y,” when we needed continuance and did not feel like waiting for some kind of song contest absolution… We rose up and tried to be constructive (sometimes with attitude I suppose, but mostly..constructive).
And feet were somewhat petulantly stamped. Without being petty and getting into all the minor occurances and private conversations; feelings got hurt. These things happen. But in my estimation, all of song fu was a great thing; cresting up into its pinnacle in V and VI in caliber of songwriter development,, fan base hustle, and community growth.

Maybe that is what happens when baby grows up and gets a tattoo and starts dating the boys from the wrong side of Tinseltown.
Song Fu 6 started out with really great songs and then crested up to brilliant by the last rounds. In my opinion, perhaps having a “master” would have detracted from our vibe…

Personally, I’d like to think we *were* honored by collaborations with others. I’d rather have my friends than the validation the lot of us are never going to receive. And which we frankly, when we get down to brass tacks, do not need.

We are all connected.

The people we might think of as heavy hitters didn’t need it either when they were “nobodies.” They instead thought of themselves as some-bodies and acted accordingly. This is why people who are more famous than us have the luxury of ignoring us today while we hope to get their attention somehow. They expect to be treated well and recognized for their hard work and talent. They respect themselves.

Everything that you do needs to be done for the right reasons. If you are a fan of something or someone, it must be because you love the sport, and the way the sport is played.

Original Fu was fun while it lasted. Made me wish I’d found it at the start of it all ๐Ÿ™‚

We are all somebody. People should be paying attention to YOU.

And That
means all of you.
Best of luck… to all the contestants. Of everything.

Song Fu…2? (on Contests, Fails, Wins, Friends, and being Ill…)

4 thoughts on “Song Fu…2? (on Contests, Fails, Wins, Friends, and being Ill…)

  1. I’m still thinking about my reply to the new Fu. You’ve managed to articulate many of my peeves and randomness, though. It was fun, I made many contacts, friends, and mistakes, and had a good time doing it. It lead to TMA and ArtiFiction and SpinTunes, and a host of new artists I’m still causing trouble with.

    I guess I’m disappointed that Fu has changed, but happy it still lives on in some way. Petulant Children is a good analogy. I wanted to stamp my little feet and be pissed off. Waah. But it’s not my ball to play with.

    Funny thing is, the next day, I came up with a great idea for the challenge. If Al and I had the time, we’d probably pound it out. We still might in between things – but I know that Fu won’t be the same as it used to be.

    I do wish Ken success with his reborn venture. I’ve even plugged it as I’ve been harassing newbies and vets about the SpinTunes deadline. I’m grateful he started something that grew far beyond a simple song contest. I blame Mike Lombardo for most of that, but Ken had a hand in it.

    Things change, and we grow from them. Here’s to growth, friends, and the memories of Fu to come.

  2. I think I was talking in either the Fu or Spin Facebook group or a Google hangout that since there aren’t any ironclad rules – we can pretty much do as we like. Since to me it’s silly to think I’ll remember a contest with a month long prompt to due-date (if that is how it “works”) with the kind of turn-times I’ve gotten used to … I was thinking I might try something a little meatier, like finally doing some orchestral stuff and/or soundtracking. I’m letting the idea of bioluminescence sit in the back of my brain and scoring it with no words. We’re not really allowed to do that in Spintunes, you know ๐Ÿ™‚ I woulda gotten disqualified for ‘Anna’s Gerbil …’ !

    1. Well, it’s been a year since the Fu was reborn. I’m happy it came back but it turned out to not go in any specific direction, except be a great showcase for The Doubleclicks to shine, as well as a bunch of new people (and a few vets) to experiment with.

      BYD ended up putting in 2 songs which we modified to fit both a SpinTunes and Song Fu challenge. But I was disappointed most of the SpinTunes folks didn’t find the new format alluring enough to contribute. Ken even seemed to lose steam towards the end with it, so I’ll be curious if he brings it back for 2013.

      1. I was meant to do the whole thing as a sort of Album Challenge. In December. I still may, but I have a couple of those to do from SongFight and there is FAWM coming up and so many other things. You could literally glut yourself on song contests. There is no shortage of ways to generate material – let alone all the unfinished stuff I have lying around from things I never developed going all the way back to Song Fu 4!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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