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Someone recently brought up an interesting point as they left a comment on one of my YouTube videos.  They argued that my talent wasn't very rare, and that everything I've done has already sorta been done before--that I'm not really pushing any boundaries or doing anything new.  Tone is often lost or misconstrued over the internet, but it seemed to me that the person leaving the comment was insinuating that I was somehow "less" of an artist, or not quite deserving of praise, simply because I wasn't pushing some sort of boundary with the music I made.

I have a pretty thick skin, but I'll admit that negative comments bother me.  They bother every artist.  We do what we do to make others happy, and if we fail in that endeavor, it makes us feel bad.  Any artist who denies that is either lying, or not in it for the right reasons (in my opinion).  That being said, the guy's comment on my YouTube video... kinda bothered me.  And, it got me thinking about why I make music, and what we "should" be doing as musicians.

I'm not making music to change the world.  I'm not.  I'm not trying to progress the art of songwriting ... I'm not trying to be the next Bach, or Led Zeppelin, or the next John Lennon, or Stephen Sondheim.  I'm not trying to "one-up" everyone else, and I'm not trying to be unique, or stand out in any particular fashion, or create something so mind-boggling and amazing that it stops the Earth from turning.  I just want to make good, fun music that kids and adults alike can enjoy and smile to.  I'm really not trying to make high art.  I'm not trying to push the boundaries.  I just want to make nice tunes.

Don't get me wrong.  I work hard. Very hard.  I've been doing this, thanklessly, by myself, busting my ass, for the past 9 years.  I take my craft very seriously, and I never deliver a product or finish a project that I'm not satisfied with, or that I feel I've put less than 110% of my efforts into.  With every song I make, I focus on doing a better job than I, personally, have ever done before.  I'm not trying to be better than everyone else.  I'm just trying to improve myself, because you guys deserve the best that I can give.

But I'm not going to kill myself trying to write the next White Album.  It's just not going to happen.  And you know what?  I'm okay with that.

I kinda think we should all be okay with that.  There is a place for artists who want to make simple art that people can simply... enjoy.

If someone wants to paint normal, easy paintings, without trying to push the envelope and be the next Rembrandt, then by Celestia, s/he should do just that.  If it brings someone else and/or themselves some happiness, then who the hell are we to say that it's somehow "less" of an art than what others create?  Just because we're not showing off... just because we're not competing with everyone else... just because we're not trying to "progress our art"... does that somehow make us "less" of an artist?

I'll admit that I'm a pop musician.  I make jazz, dubstep, bluegrass, Celtic, and rock music, sure--but I'm a pop musician at heart.  Why?  I enjoy writing simple, accessible songs that people easily and quickly identify with.  I compose "meat-and-potatoes" music.  It's simple, it's not cryptic, and it's easy to "get".  And, hopefully, it's fun and entertaining.  I just want to bring a smile to someone's face with my art.  After they smile, they can move on with their lives and hopefully have a brighter day.

That's seriously all I'm going for.  Is that a bad thing?  Am I less of an artist for having such lowly aspirations as to only hope to make someone happy?

There will always be guitarists, painters, writers, poets, and sculptors who try to change the world, or at least, the art world with their masterpieces.  There will always be people who push themselves beyond what others have ever reached for, attempting to progress art and humanity, or even "save" it.

I'm not one of those people.  I'm not gonna kill myself trying to write a song that no one else has ever written, and I'm not going to try to "say" something that no one else has ever said.  How would people relate to that?  That's not what I'm aiming for.  I want to tell people about the emotions that I feel.  If people relate to it, or if it's something that others have already written about, I'm okay with that.  It just means that my emotions are universal, and that I'm not alone.  Sometimes that's comforting... for the composer and the listener alike.

Again, I usually have thick skin.  This sort of thing doesn't normally bother me.  I'm not trying to be better than Kurt Cobain or Neil Young.  I just want to be Andy Stein.  Andy wants to make people smile with fun, well crafted, clever and entertaining songs.  Am I less of an artist because of this?  Should I feel bad that I'm not pushing the envelope?

Are we supposed to tell artists what they "should" create?  "Should" all artists be pushing boundaries and doing more than the last person?  Or should artists be allowed to do whatever makes them and the people around them happy?  Or better yet, why can't we have both?  Maybe the idea of simply making someone smile is enough of a revolution in the art world to count as being progressive and bold.

You can change the world by painting the Sistine Chapel... or you can change someone's world by making them happy and painting them a flower.

Either way... just paint.


love to you all,
~mandopony
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:iconthunderjoy:
ThunderJoy Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2015  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
Haters often hate others, because they're jealous about them.
Reply
:iconshade0405:
Shade0405 Featured By Owner May 24, 2015   General Artist
Haters gonna hate. Your music is an inspiration to some of my drawings
Reply
:iconlespartan:
lespartan Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2015
Dude your music is awesome!!! Who cares about what haters have to say? If your happy with the music you make then you're cool.
Reply
:iconsuperman676:
superman676 Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015
hey Mando, what would you be doing if music never existed?
Reply
:iconimariposa:
iMariposa Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
You're right! Art should make you happy! So, if creating revolutionary music makes you happy, then so be it! And if creating simple, fun tunes for someone to dance to and turn their crappy morning around . . . then so be it Clap 
Reply
:icongemstonetheunicorn:
GemstoneTheUnicorn Featured By Owner May 9, 2014
Just for the record, I absolutely love your music! I think it's amazing what some people do to make others happy.

Also, Kindness is my favorite song right now.
:)
Reply
:icondiddyjakal:
DiddyJakal Featured By Owner May 19, 2013
:iconthisplz:
Reply
:iconarrjaysketch:
ArrJaySketch Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I find the whole "you're not a real 'x' unless you 'y'" statements to be complete bunk.

I love your music. I think people make the very silly mistake of taking their own opinion too seriously. Some treat their own opinion as objective fact, and that's just silly! Musical taste is a highly subjective thing.

Of course, every musician should always try to push for self-improvement. Good (I didn't use the word "real"!) artists and musicians love constructive criticism. Truly good musicians/artists are good because they love their craft so much, they'd be doing it anyway! The criticism feeds into this by making something dearly loved even more awesome.
Reply
:iconsilentphantomomega:
SILENTPHANTOMOMEGA Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014
exactly
Reply
:iconmandopony:
MandoPony Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013
Well said, I totally agree :)
Reply
:iconbeldansfire:
BeldansFire Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013
Often times people forget that art for arts sake is enough once you are doing what you love.
Reply
:icontoksyuryel:
Toksyuryel Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012
I love your music, just keep on doing what you're doing ☺ let's all be happy together.
Reply
:iconbillytheshark:
BillyTheShark Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
And this is why we love you. :heart:
You're wonderful Mando, and I'm so grateful for the awesome stuff you've done.
Reply
:icontoxic-sparkle:
Toxic-Sparkle Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Student Digital Artist
It's late, and I don't feel like typing a huge paragraph as a response, though I did read the entire thing. I know everyone below me is basically saying the same thing, but we all love your music. And by all, of course I don't mean all, but for every hater there are 100 people who love your music. It's catchy, it's fun, and I can't be the only one singing "That's why they call me Loyaaaltyyy" when listening to Loyalty. Every other song you made is amazing in their own ways. Twilight's Curiosity was so beautifully composed, and Sweet Apple Acres makes you wish you were on the farm eating apples with the Apple family. You say you compose 'simple' music, but that 'simple' music really can take people to different worlds. Seriously, Twilight's Curiosity turned me into a librarian...

Just keep on doing what you love to do. Challenge yourself, and don't let other people challenge you, because no matter how many people think you need to step up your game, I, and all your other fans will still love the music you make.
~Toxic
Reply
:iconkingsleyrulz:
kingsleyrulz Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Even it is just a simple tune that made someone smile, think what that smile does for someone, how it can be a touch of kindness that they need to get by. And don't worry, I feel the same way about every piece of art I make. for instance, a friend of the house came over to talk with some family members about some rather serious depressing or aggravating thing (They wanted to talk alone so I don't know what it was about), but while they were talking I drew a picture of pinkie pie with giant eyes holding a rose captioned "please smile". She did on her way out.
That's what makes me happy. It wasn't a masterpiece and it didn't need to be. It was heartfelt, which is what all of your music is.
:heart:
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:iconcloud-flare:
Cloud-flare Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012
there are always those few sad people who feel like they need to attack others to make themselves feel good. Undoubtedly that all the individual mentioned was trying to accomplish. Mando you gave a gift, plain and simple and you choose to reach out to people to bring a smile to their faces. That in its self is what makes you and other brony musicians unique. Dont ever let someone say " your nothing special" because you are, you care. Unlike many modern artist who are in it just for the money. Don't let that parasprite get you down Mando.
Reply
:iconponyadler86:
PonyAdler86 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
In this modern society it's all about making money through music and art. Most people fail to see the true meaning of creating great music and art for the idea of being rich and famous has blinded them. Art is a way of expressing oneself and it is to be shared with the world with no means of earning a profit and fame. Don't ever let sarcasm and insults of those who do not understand the aim of art destroy your passion and hobby for writing music and making art.
Just let it go through one ear and exit through the other without interpretation. Looking forward to more of your great ideas and performances.

\m/(^_^)<(ROCK ON FROM PONYADLER86):dalove:Love art!
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:icondustypony:
DustyPony Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012
*Sticks his fingers in the paint and smooshes it around!*
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:iconmadrigles:
madrigles Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012
You've made me smile countless times with your songs Andy Stein.
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:iconscrooples:
Scrooples Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Dear Mandopony,

"Is that a bad thing?"

No.

"Am I less of an artist Because of it?"

No.

People do artistic things because it makes them happy, Making others happy too is just an added bonus. It is only a bad thing, you are only less of an artist if (in my opinion) you stop doing it for you. If you don't break the world record for the 400m sprint does that make you any less of a runner? An athlete? No. The same analogy applies for art. It does not seem to me that you are only creating music to please others, so waste no more time stressing about what one person said about your music when you have 18K people who LOVE YOU AND YOUR MUSIC SO EFFIN MUCH YOUR HEART MIGHT POP.

your fan and Bro(ny),

Scrooples
Reply
:iconkittyinequestria:
kittyinequestria Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have many thoughts on this, but one stuck out: you may have been doing this thanklessly, but not anymore. Thank you!
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:iconplatyperson:
Platyperson Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012
Try not to let those types of comments get to you, you're achieving your goal in making enjoyable fun music people will smile at. Your music always brightens up my day, and you are definitely one of my favourite brony musicians. Keep doing what you like to do.
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:iconkayctricky:
KayCTricky Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Some times I like to believe I'm not drawing for anyone else but myself. I'm doing it because it makes me happy, why should I care what others think of it. But in the end I am drawing for others, for my friends and my potential friends or just random people that enjoy what I do.

However, there is still the negative feed back every so often, but that sort of thing comes from people who don't understand or have decided that drawing cartoons and anime is a lesser art for then painting or sketching from life. I don't see that at all. Sure I know there are people better then me but I'm okay with that because there always will be people better then me no matter how hard I try. So instead of trying to be them, I try to be me. In the end that's good enough, because that's all I can ever hope to be.

Love you MandoPony please keep up the amazing work and continue to put a smile on my face! :heart:
Reply
:iconotakusquirrel:
OtakuSquirrel Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Negative comments get to us all... Sure, it can be argued that your talent isn't very rare, but the fact that you're using those talents, sticking your neck out and trying to succeed is rare! What you learn from all your experiences, and all the friendships and memories that you're making are going to be more reward than anything else.
All I can say is to keep doing what *you* want to do... because at the end of the day, it's only yourself that you have to answer to. And frankly, wanting to cheer people up and make them smile is something really important these days, so there's nothing wrong with that at all. =)
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:iconijustyayed:
iJustYAYed Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
A good friend of mine made a similar point. He stated that people should not push to do what others want based on what is considered a standard medium; if you want to make pop music, but apply a dubstep feel to it, go ahead. If you want to make jazz for the point of making fans of jazz happy, go ahead. It's not about the medium, it's not about trying to shock listeners with something so intricate that it initiates a state of awe -- it's about doing what you love for you, alone.

Yes, you have pieces out there that fall under the categories of jazz and classical (influence), but people should not take that fact to the next level by criticizing your intentions; a genre should have no impact on the artist. A composition is a composition -- it was made with some purpose, and that's all that should matter. The fact that you've dabbled in so many different genres is commendable in itself and should not be questioned.

But, like you said: you write music that hopefully makes people smile. Just keep doing that, and no one should have any reason to complain.
Reply
:iconjustablankflank:
JustABlankFlank Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Your music has been my go-to cure for a bad day for the past few months now. Keep doing what you're doing. :)
Reply
:iconalphazenovine:
AlphaZenovine Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Student General Artist
This was a great post. I really liked it. It is great to see people smile at what you do. When I showed my Newly found Brony "A Long Way From Equestria" He asked, "Who is this?" I told him, then he said, "Well show me more! This is great!"

Me, I don't do much But I am trying to learn new things Such as Guitar and Piano. You have inspired me. I want to learn. I can't draw at all. I like how you do both. It's so awesome.


Some people are meant to push boundaries.. and some aren't. I'd like to push my boundary from not being able to do much, to being able to do at least on thing. Right now I play Baritone (Basically small tuba for those who not know) and Tenor Drums (The lots of drums on one guy for those who don't know.) in my High School Band. But I can't really do much with that. (Least not that I know of). That is why I am trying to learn Guitar. To give something back to this great Fandom.

I feel I put more of me into this comment I meant to. Sorry. But you are awesome. Keep doing what you are doing!
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:iconritameethermaid:
RitaMeetHerMaid Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:D your songs make me smile.

and yeah, i only draw just to see my ideas on paper, it's fun.
Reply
:iconsurfingca:
SurfingCA Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Dude, can I just give you a hug or something? I've been stressing out about this a lot lately, not because somebody told me to, but because I have a friend who is getting kinda famous. As he gets more posts on EQD and more views on Youtube I can see his happiness rising. He's not doing something that nobody has ever thought of, he's just the first to do it with ponies. As he gets more and more famous I kept feeling worse and worse, because I knew I'd never be like that.

I draw. Thousands of bronies draw. I'm not good, I'm not different, I modified an art style from the show, I'm never going to stand out. While a few hundred people already know his name, I'll be lucky if I can get 30 to remember mine. I'm not pushing the boundaries of art, I don't have artistic talent, I'm just doing what I can and teaching myself as I go. I will never be like him.

But, right now, every comment where somebody says something even slightly nice makes me smile. Every time I finish a request and somebody tells me that it made them smile, it makes me happy, even if just for an instant. Happiness is not exactly something I have a lot of right now. To me, being famous would just mean making that many more people smile with what I do, but as I do slowly get more people looking at my stuff, the less that comment means to me. I'm not sure if it's gotten to the point where they actually like it, or if they just feel like they have to say something.

No, I'm not pushing the boundaries. No, I'm not famous. And no, I'm never going to be famous. But if I can brighten up somebody's day, then I'm happy with doing what I do.
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:icondudermannic:
DuderManNic Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012
This just proves that one YouTube comment really CAN make a difference to a pony's feelings. That's why I hate trolls there. Trolls who feel like they can make a good argument when really they are just trying to make someone feel bad and make them feel better.
Not sure that has to do with this statement, but you are 150% correct about it, no doubt.
Reply
:iconkired25:
Kired25 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Student Filmographer
Not sure that I can add anything else to the comments other than my support for what's already been said.

Keep at it, man. /)
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:iconxnedra22:
XNedra22 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is certainly thought provoking, but you are right.

It is completely worth pouring yourself into it, not only because you feel fulfilled from it, but if you can make just one person smile... if you can make just one person happy... how many other people around that person would be effected by the positive change? Maybe you've started a chain reaction?

I am of the opinion that even the grumpiest of folks might just need to be shown a little love.

I remember once I was having a horrible day at work, back when I was waiting tables. It took all I had to keep from crying. Then this sweet old man was leaving, and as he was walking out the door he looked me in the eye, smiled as big as he could and told me to have a wonderful day. I almost started crying right then and there, but for an entirely different reason. That one smile turned my day completely around. That one person made me happy, and I was able to effect the mood of my coworkers and even some of my tables. So to say something simple isn't noteworthy is an absolute lie. It could change someone's life for all you know.
Reply
:iconlionheartcartoon:
Lionheartcartoon Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012
That commenter is not really commenting anything new as that comment has been done before. We should tell him that he's less of a commenter because of that. Those people forget that if we werent there to make something for them to comment on, they'd never have anything to say.. positive or negative.

That being said, I think you're an awesome musician and artist. Inspiration comes from so many directions that not picking an idea of a muse 'because someone's been that way before' is just denying that part of us that wants to create. I'm the firm beleiver that if we do something because we WANT to do it instead of being told to do it, then we have that little extra incentive that makes it all the more worth while. Not to mention it makes it more 'us' in a way.

Lets not forget that unless criticism is contructive, it's just not worth listening to. Someone who can criticise should at least have the balls to show they can help improve instead of destroying.

I'm no musician.. even if I tried many years ago, I can't make a chord to save my life :) But I can't go to a rapper and just say 'Dude, you suck.. I hate your music'. Cuz in the end he's just gonna point to his audience and go "Well THEY like it, so f-off". And I happen to like your music :)

Keep your head up bro.. and see it that way: if there's 200 likes for every 'dislikes' it means that in the street, that dislike had 200 blokes around him giving an evil eye :D
Reply
:iconxnedra22:
XNedra22 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I like the way you put it. "If there's 200 likes for every 'dislike'..."
Reply
:iconoliverlacota:
OliverLacota Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012
I believe I know of the comment that you're referring to. For all intents and purposes, the user in question was arguing that your talents are not particularly noteworthy. Something about a few simple chord progressions.

Now, can people whip up a few chord progressions? Yeah, it's not a very difficult thing to learn, fairly straightforward guitar and piano technique. Similarly, can people sing? Well, not everyone can, but a lot of people can certainly learn how. So I get what the user meant when they were talking about the questionable level of talent (if that's what their angle was).

What sets you apart, however, is your ability to write and play enjoyable music. Anyone can learn some basic musical techniques, anyone can learn to sing, anyone can write music - but few people can write music *well*. Few people can write music that flows smoothly, that rolls off the tongue and pleases the ears, and MandoPony, this is a talent you most certainly DO have. You are able to bring your music to life and bring joy to those who listen to it, and that's something that ordinary people definitely can't do.

Also, I'd like to clarify that I know you're far more capable of doing just boring old chord progressions - I've seen one of your livestreams and am fully aware that you're a very capable guitarist, not to mention being able to play more instruments than I could ever hope to =3
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:iconlegeden:
Legeden Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012
I'd say something clever but everything clever was said already by you :)
I think I saw a poster with a motto "Do your best", it's so simple yet so amazing. Do not satisfy yourself with a clumsy/hasty work but yet accept your own boundaries and by learning push them a further, step by step.
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:iconheilos:
Heilos Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Professional General Artist
As long as you've touched even one life in a special way with your art form, even if that person is yourself, then you've already done something worthwhile with your talent. Smiles speak louder then anything else.

Just keep doing what you do, your music brings just that little bit more joy to my day that I really need sometimes, that's all I can ask for. (:
Reply
:iconxnedra22:
XNedra22 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree 100%.
Reply
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