So, it’s “just around midnight” (Stones reference) on Thursday November 16, 2017, and I just wanted to share some of my thoughts – for whatever they’re worth.
First and foremost, it is an absolute honor and pleasure to undertake this arduous task on a weekly basis. Mind you, I am certain that the battery of Judges who have been here from day one, can certainly relate to this ongoing challenge in no uncertain terms.
Though still very much wet behind the ears, I for one just wanted to share my personal experience thus far - insofar as the process in which I’ve adopted to do my very best to live up to not only my own standards, but to the standards and expectations of the Open-Mic music community at large.
Okay, so here goes – for whatever it’s worth.
First, I start out by listening to every entry from DAY ONE of each weekly contest. Once I get a “personal” feel for who I think really stands out, I start dropping them into a “long-list” of “must-consider” entrants.
I have so much respect and appreciation for each and every entrant that it is often rather difficult for me to leave anyone out of this “Long-List,” yet I must.
As a “judge,” I am called upon to use discretion of the highest order in order to fulfill my task in a most honorable way - not only to the sponsors, but to each and every one of the participants, and the community as well.
For me, it is first and foremost essential to be true to oneself in exercising complete autonomy as a “judge,” and secondly, as somewhat of an ambassador of the Open-Mic venue – to then be true to the community at large as well… And yeah, I guess doing so in that general order should more or less keep me on “the good-foot” as it were… At least that’s what I’m hoping…
As such, I begin to develop my “long-list” right from the moment the new contest week is announced… Thereafter, as the week draws to a close come Thursday and Friday, I have already amassed a rather “long-list” of at least 30 or more entrants who have captured my heart in one way or another.
So yeah, that’s the easy part! NOW WHAT???
Once I get that far, I must then listen and watch again – re-listen – and then yes, listen and watch yet again for several more times thereafter - to each and every one of my 30 or more, long-list of favorites.
Using somewhat of an objective list of categorical criteria from which to draw upon, (btw – nothing is totally “objective” in this process) I begin to order my selections based upon my six categories of performance criteria.
There is no doubt that certain artists/entrants are so overwhelming talented that by any fair measure – they will always (deservedly) “rise to the top” as it were. However, I do try my best to consider this.
Ascribing to the community ideal of not having a select few rather talented artists simply “take-over” the Open-Mic charts on a perpetual basis – I do indeed plan to spread my love accordingly to whatever extent possible.
That said, we should all tip our hats to these most talented artists who are ever so generous in sharing their music, extraordinary talent, and exceptional skills with us all.
They are indeed a never-ending source of inspiration for all of us. That being said however, I am both compelled and “subjectively” inclined to tweak my selections so as not to perpetually yield to the ongoing “cream of the crop” as it were – as much as they might deserve it, and no matter how much I may love them.
Yeah, I’m a “free-market” kinda of a guy – and “bending” my selections beyond anything short of what’s objectively best – does kinda go against my grain. But this ain’t the stock market, man – this is about real people, expression, passion, art, music, and the community in which this shared expression is taking place.
So in consideration of the aforementioned, I must dutifully cast my otherwise libertarian/free-market principles aside. Oh, they’ll still play a role no doubt – but said inclinations shall not rule the day – not here anyway.
I trust these extremely talented artists will understand my way of thinking, and I suspect via the sheer community recognition that they receive, alongside up-votes, and the monetary rewards that these fine artists deservedly earn on a regular basis – that they would be so gracious as to help empower those not quite yet as talented as they are – and to give their fellow artists the chance, recognition, promise, and inspiration to forge on in their respective development.
Yet despite such admirable disclaimers, I must at the end of the day yield to my heart, alongside and in concert with the objective judging criteria I’ve selected to constrain it.
In closing, I think you all now have a much better idea of where I’m (subjectively) coming from with regard to my selection process. I hope and trust that my approach is one that the community at large generally approves of – and one that I will try my best to honor so long as I am part of the Open-Mic team.
Thank you once again for all of your support and for all of your wildly fantastic talent that each of you provides for this rather amazing and ongoing endeavor of artistic expression and community. It is truly nothing short of a miracle! And, I for one - am so ever grateful to have experienced and become part of it.