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I made a mistake when I released and promoted my first solo album in 2007. I did not know about the First Follower. I had a First Follower (well, I think I did, in the hind sight — now I’ll never know for sure) but I didn’t think it amounted to much. After all, it was just one fan!! I got discouraged and burned out, and I stopped promoting my album, the best and proudest thing I’ve done with my music thus far.
Fast forward to last year. I’ve been so, so fortunate to have been working with my singer Bob Yang. 9 months after starting our collaboration, he continues to just blow me away. (Note: many of my projects didn’t last 9 months) The other day I played a gig with him, for the first time in years. We played three of my songs (and a cover). Bob’s wife was in the audience and she seemed to have known every word of my songs we played. I was not expecting for anybody to sing along, let alone recognize my songs, and this freaked me out.
It occurred to me recently, that in Bob I did find my First Follower. Well, he’s more than a follower, as he’s now my collaborator, a duo. But while I had lost faith in the musical value of my first album — my excuse was that I never cut it as a singer — somebody else didn’t let that get in the way of finding value in my offering. Apparently Bob’s been playing my music to his family and friends.
I’ve always dreamed of finding fans, of learning that my offerings have made an impact on somebody. Bob thinks highly enough of it to join me. Saying that I am happy doesn’t really do my current state justice. I feel bewildered, still in a state of shock and disbelief.
We are only a few weeks away from releasing the most ambitious piece of music to date — Bleeding Redwood. This is the first from-scratch new music Bob and I are releasing. It’s a piece I’ve been wrestling with for over a year — but thanks to Bob (and my friend Adam Lutz who played bass) I’m almost at a point where I can get it out of my systen.
It’s been amazing to co-create with someone who’s a fan. I am excited to find more people like him, as I share more of my gifts.