I just finished reading Alan Light's The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of "Hallelujah". It was literally something I read on two days off, so it was a pretty quick read, and there is no reason that anyone else interested could not read it.
Because of that, it wouldn't make sense for me to summarize the book and what I learned. It did put a lot of things that I kind of knew into context, plus telling me a lot of things that I didn't know, so I appreciate that. I had thoughts about many things while reading it, and some of them may come out at some point.
What I thought I wanted to write today though is a little about the "unlikely ascent" part. Leonard Cohen's first studio recording of "Hallelujah" was on an album that the label refused to release. Another label eventually released it, but it stayed pretty obscure. People who were into music knew about it, and eventually things started building from it's inclusion in a movie, Shrek, that did really well after getting released, but the movie had a lot of trouble getting there.
Once the movie was successful, that not only led to greater recognition of existing versions, but many other versions being recorded. Some will say it's overdone, now. If I were more culturally aware, like if I watched various singing competition shows, I would have heard it a lot more, and I might feel differently. Regardless, despite how powerful the song is, and how many people it has resonated with, it was initially not seen as having that potential.
Sometimes when I see that an old blog post has been read again, months or years later, I will go back and read it, and that happened with my post on The Hobbit recently. All of the previews were so bombastic, and there were so many broad jokes, and it felt like no one is willing to make a small, quiet movie anymore, though those are often the best ones.
Putting them together, I freely admit that there needs to be some attention paid to finance and commercial concerns. Artists need to eat, there are production expenses, and that's fine.
If we are only looking for big hits, though, there will be too many misses. Not only do we lose out on small, emotionally poignant pieces, but audiences can get tired of too many big films that all feel the same.
I'm not exactly saying "Art for art's sake", but the money shouldn't be more important than the art, or the art doesn't end up being worth very much.
So I guess one thing that I am grateful for is the many people who do keep creating, and they do it for love and with love. I do wish them financial success, maybe just not so much that they lose their spark. And I wish that for me too.