After spending an hour or two working on a composition the other night—yes, with pencil, paper, and acoustic piano—I wandered down to my office to check out Facebook. The first thing that popped up in my feed was an ad referring to a music contest: “Deadline extended to January 31.”
I quickly texted Jennie List (my co-writer and the one featured on my latest song), “Should we be entering ‘Open Road’ into the American Songwriter contest?” No answer. I would have to make a decision on my own.
Self-doubt crept….well, more like jumped in: “Who do you think you are? You’re not like those people in Nashville. Your lyrics are simple. Those songwriters down there are professionals and you’re a hack.”
Next, I told myself the contest was probably a scam.
I looked up the judges. One of them had released a song with Keith Urban. It was a sign! We all know how I feel about him.
I clicked on my YouTube channel and found the song I was considering. Two measures in, I had decided. I uploaded “Open Road,” paid the $25 entrance fee, and gave them my information, with only 2 hours, 35 minutes, and 12 seconds left.
Wish me luck!
About Marie de Haan
Marie is a gifted pianist, playing since the age of nine. As a teenager, she composed mainly instrumental piano music. She released her powerful debut single, “I Am Broken,” on October 22, 2020, a song whose creation drew heavily upon the trauma she endured as a victim of childhood sexual abuse. Marie held a benefit concert on September 10, 2021, in Skagit County. A portion of the proceeds went to CrossRoads Youth Ranch; this local organization—through equine therapy—empowers “at-risk and sexually exploited youth to heal, grow, and thrive.” She has continued to write music: Christian, folk, and country. Marie loves hiking, gardening, and photography. The Pacific Northwest—where she lives with her husband—is the backdrop for her favorite activities.
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