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(Don't Gotta Be A) Big Star

Words and Music © 2007 by Tom Smith
Released under a Creative Commons Noncommercial ShareAlike license
Success, as they say, ain't all it's cracked up to be.
The news is constantly filled with the comings and goings and doings and not-doings of this entertainer or that athlete or this singer or that celeb. Their triumphs, their tragedies, their veddy veddy oppressed circumstances, all the baggage that goes with the Great American Myth of what it means to be successful, brought into focus two things.

First, many of them seem to spend in an average weekend, or evening, or lunch, what I make in a year. Can't tell what good it does 'em.

Second, I think I'm happier than they are. I think I'm a lot happier. I'm nowhere close to rehab, I don't have to squeeze into even a custom-fitted tux for any awards show, I have no need or desire for any of the ridiculous trappings that go with that level of wealth and fame. And the things I always thought were the most important, being able to make music and perform and be happy... I'm there. I'm right there.

And it's wonderful.

I've got everything. I've got my nearest and dearest. I've got my family and my friends and my stuffed bear. I've got fandom and The FuMP. I've got my guitar and my computer and my recording gear. I've got the freedom to create the music I want, and a bunch of fantastic people to sing it to. And when I was in the pit of despair in the mortgage industry I used to mutter that if I was doing something I loved I wouldn't have to make a lot of money, just enough to pay the bills and maybe get a DVD now and then, but I'd be happy. And then I lost that job and couldn't get another and went full-bore into the music and now I have enough to pay the bills and maybe get a DVD now and then
and I was right.

I think I've got a hell of a rest of my life in front of me. I think I'll end up doing better financially, and there's more, and I think better, music coming all the time. I'm even getting to be a little famous. (Especially around Talk Like A Pirate Day.) But, y'know something? If I never go any further than this... it's all good.

I've won.

And I could not have done it without you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Teenage cuties sell out stadiums in the blink of an eye,
Rappers threaten to end their careers if their fans won't buy.
Record labels treat customers just like common thugs,
Lame-O singers with fake boobs make news by doing drugs.
That's the mainstream music biz, that's all I ever hear,
If that's what they think music is, I think I'll stay right here.

Don't gotta be a big star,
Don't gotta be a big star,
Don't care if the big guys never call.
If getting to where they are
Means always going too far,
Don't gotta be a big star... at all.

Used to sit in my cubicle, dreaming great big dreams,
Concerts, movies, TV shows, dancing fangirls' screams.
Went to bed each night half dead, woke up just the same,
Thought that I was trapped there, no one would ever know my name.
And then the rat race kicked me out, my songs were all I had,
I plugged into the Internet -- since then life ain't so bad.

Don't gotta be a big star,
Don't gotta leap the high bar,
Don't gotta limo filled with girls and bling.
It's just me and my guitar,
I still drive a used car,
Don't gotta be the Next Big Thing.

I'm not the kind of artist that they want on Tee Vee,
Just a fat old hippie, there ain't nothing much to see.
But I can make you laugh like mad, or cry from love or pain,
I can sing a song you'll never get out of your brain.
I've got all of you, and all this music we can share,
You wonder, will I hit the big time -- I'm already there.

Don't gotta have the limelight,
I'd rather get this rhyme right,
Not in stores and never hope to be.
I only need to make enough off this,
To never go back to that office,
And there's at least a million more like me.

Don't gotta walk the Red Line,
Living between each headline,
The paparazzi waiting for my fall.
No fortune I need to bring in,
I've just got to keep on singin'.
I'm happy and I'm free, and that ain't small.
Don't gotta be a big star -- I've got it all.

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