Don't Forget to Dream!

by Dick McVey

           You may or may not know that I grew up in West Virginia, just a few miles from Little Jimmy Dicken's hometown in the heart of Appalachia. Although it is a poverty stricken area, I was more fortunate than most and made my way to Nashville and to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and have performed with major artists all across the US and around the world. I have offered to help a number of talented people in that area make the big move to Nashville, but only a handful bothered to try. I finally realized why and wanted to relate it to you in this writing.
           This story has haunted me for some time, and I think it might just help someone who is thinking about music as a career and are unsure of taking that big step of moving to Nashville. A couple of years ago I was asked to return home to West Virginia and speak to a music class at my old grade school. I decided to take some of the awards I had received over the years as an incentive that might stimulate a future star.
           After giving my talk and answering questions like "Do you know Tim McGraw?" I was approached by two girls about 12 years old. They informed me they had written a song and would like to sing it for me. I agreed and although the song was not in the league of Harlan Howard, I told them if they would come to Nashville, I would pay to have the song recorded for them. The excitement in their faces was worth the 8 hour drive I had just made. I asked them to talk with their parents about bringing them to Nashville and let me know.
           One of the girls was so enthused she immediately called her mom from the school office and returned to tell me her mother was on her way to the school to talk with me about my offer. I thought this must be one of those stage mothers anxious for her daughter to have this wonderful opportunity, but once the mother arrived I realized she was irate that I dared to plant such a dream in her daughter's mind. She made a statement that shocked me - she said "We've taught our children not to dream that big because we don't want them to be disappointed." I was speechless, but went on to explain to her that I had attended school there and had gone on to live my dreams. I had no impact on her feelings, and as a result there will be two young girls who may never dare to dream again.
           It is a sad statement. Who knows how many potential great singers, songwriters and musicians that will be lost to this attitude. I started thinking back and realized I faced quite a bit of resistance and negativity myself when I told my parents and friends I was leaving the hills to move to Nashville.  My parents feared the music business because of the alcohol and drugs, but I never did either. My friends seemed to fear the rejection, and although I have dealt with it, it always made me work harder and get better. Once I started playing on the Grand Ole Opry I had relatives coming out of the woodwork to attend shows and visit Nashville.
           If you are a musician, singer and/or songwriter and you read this piece I hope you will not be deterred by people who don't understand creative people aka "dreamers." If you are a parent I hope you will encourage your children to dream big and help them achieve those dreams in whatever field. I read once that in order to live your dreams you must first wake up.  Leroy Van Dyke once told me "To be happy in life you have to do what you love and get good enough at it that people pay you do it."
           Both of those statements have been a big part of my success. I hope this article will wake a few people up. If you talk to anyone who is successful in this business you will find they all had to take that risky first step so what are you waiting for?

Dick McVey
9 Music Square South
PMB 177
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone 615-264-3637
Cell 615-714-3637

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