January 28, 2013

Get Hungry

We walked down Broadway through the bright lights of Nashville, and every door we passed by held the threshold to somebody else’s dream. In this doorway it was Hank Williams, in this one The Dance….but with every chord that was struck, every chain in the melody, I felt the beat drum out in my own head what it is to be hungry.

We made our way into the Whiskey Bent Saloon and sat down at a table. It was the kind of place where there was dirt on the floor and signed head shots of people who had made it out of there on the wall. See ya later Whiskey Bent. I’m not ever coming back. It was only early evening, and yet everywhere around us the shots had already started to pour. It was the kind of place that was smokey without anybody smoking, salty without anyone shedding a tear.

And although the lights were not quite bright enough and the crowd was not yet rowdy enough to really be into it, a young, blonde singer from Kentucky sat on stage with her guitar and stared out into this version of her spotlight. When she opened her mouth, a voice poured out that would have put Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood and that girl from Lady Antebellum all combined to head hanging shame. We were floored. She belonged in arenas. She should have been playing for the big crowds. And yet here she was on a dirty, salty stage where the lights weren’t quite bright enough, playing for tips in a peanut jar.

We stayed for a few more songs, and I bought a cd from her on the way out. She gave me my change, and I thanked her, put a hand on her arm, and said Never, never, never give up. You were born to do this. And then life, as it has a way of doing, moved on. And paths as they are so often known for, uncrossed. But as we made our way down Broadway, with my hands shoved deep into my pockets to keep them safe from the cold world outside, I thought about what it is to really be hungry. And what it is to pay your dues for a dream.

We expect singers and actresses and athletes to be hungry for their dream. We expect them to be waitresses and busboys, and play on dimly lit stages while a fist fight breaks out in the back, dreaming of the day when a record producer comes in and changes everything. We expect them to be willing to move towns. And knock on doors. And be told “no.” We expect them to struggle, to sacrifice, to time and time again not get picked. We expect all this because we believe that hunger will show us just how bad they really want it. And through that struggle, they will come out stronger on the other side.

But let me ask you this.

When is the last time you were really hungry for your dream? When is the last time you were willing to knock on the doors, to pound the pavement, to step out into the dimly lit spotlight? If push came to shove, would you be willing to leave that safe place that you know and head out hands clenched into the cold world outside? Would you be willing to play your heart out in front of a crowd that might not be into it yet? Would you be willing to stay on the small stage for now, even though you know in your heart you belong in the arenas? We talk a lot about having these dreams, you & I. But here’s the thing…to dream is a verb. It requires action. Effort. Work.

So today I want you to get hungry. Get mad. Get better.

These dreams are ours for the taking.

This is it. Fight like hell.

(*photo credit: Jeremy Mitchell)

**to learn more about this incredible singer, Kinsey Rose, that I’m talking about above definitely head over & check out her site HERE. You can also find her on iTunes!

  1. Heather Gallaher

    Mary – this one brought me to tears. Don’t YOU ever stop. What you’re putting into the world is epic. xx H

  2. Katie Yuen

    wow.. tears. beautiful words.

  3. ashley barnett

    Way to come out swinging ;) Love you!

  4. J Sandifer

    Good Stuff M! Have a blast pounding the pavement yourselves!

  5. Kevin Bobbitt

    Kinsey Rose is an amazing singer as well as person. She sang in our wedding and helped make our day perfect

  6. Mike Hendrix

    You will love Kinsey’s CD as much as you did her singing in Whiskey Bent. We look for Kinsey every time we visit Nashville. One day she will wave to us from the big stage.

  7. Justine Cirullo

    Beautiful & challenging words! Thank you

  8. Jeff Lundstrom

    Oh Nashville – how I miss you so! I spent 10 years in Nashville and I remember places like Roberts and Tootsie’s and The Bluebird like it was yesterday. Enjoy your visit guys – stay hungry :)

  9. jamie

    So needed to hear this today. Love your writing Mary, can’t wait to read that book of yours. <3

  10. Bethany Ann

    I can’t wait to check out her music! And I love this blog. And I’m so glad you guys came to Nashville. :) And I hope you have a wonderful week! Thanks for being so inspirational!!

  11. Char Soder

    She is an amzing person as well as an amazing singer…Her heart is as big as her voice is beautiful..Yes, she is working hard for her dream and she deservs her Dream to come true.

  12. marissa rodriguez

    GAH! and now i’m crying. dang girl, i really needed to visit your blog today. xoxo

  13. Heather Gallaher

    Mary – this one brought me to tears. Don’t YOU ever stop. What you’re putting into the world is epic. xx H

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