Just my imagination
The singing group The Temptations once made a song called "Just My Imagination" in which a man talks about the relationship he has with a woman. He speaks about the wonderful times they have together and how much they love one another. He then reveals that this relationship doesn't exist at all, except inside his head. As the title says, it's Just My Imagination, running away with me.
I write gospel rap lyrics and usually I pair them with traditional church songs. I like the blend of the old and the new. I sent several of my lyrics off to be copyrighted. This was back in 2008. A few weeks ago, I received my copyright certificate in the mail. Yes, that's right, two years later. I guess the U.S. Copyright Office is a little behind in the paperwork. That's OK, though. You can do the whole thing online and get immediate credit for your work, which is just as good as having the piece of paper in your hand.
About two days after I received my certificate, I got a letter in the mail. It was from a company called Hilltop records. They said in the letter that they were interested in seeing some of my work for a project they were working on. They said they were especially interested in gospel artists. I wondered how they had gotten my name and address, as I had not made any attempt to market my stuff. In fact, I had prayed about it and felt in my heart that I should keep my work for local use until God led me in some other direction. But it was exciting to receive the letter just the same. I shared it with my family members and some of my friends and they were even more excited than I was. This is it!!! they all said, you are going to BLOW UP!! You will be FAMOUS!!!
I wasn't so sure about all that and I wasn't sure what to do. The letter requested that I send in three or four of my best works to be considered for the CD they said they were compiling. I have learned to never make a major decision without praying and this seemed like a pretty major decision to me. So I prayed. The idea came to me that before I sent anything in I should do a little more research. So I did.
New Gospel Rap Star?
If it's too good to be true...
As I looked into this company, I discovered that many other people had received similar letters. Most of them had been received just after they got mail from the U.S. Copyright office, the same scenario I had been through. Some of these people had not written songs or even anything related to songs. They were perplexed by getting a letter from a record company.
Others had created musical pieces of one kind or another. Some of these people had sent their material to the company. They later received follow-up letters asking for money to cover "production costs." After sending this money in, most of them later got one copy of a record or CD with their work as one piece in a kind of group project with other people's work. This was a little different from what was promised in the original letter. The letter stated that the company would produce, distribute and promote your work and pay you royalties. The people who sent work in never enjoyed any promotion or distribution. Two people said they got royalties, in both cases less than one dollar. ($1). Basically what they got was their work put on a CD along with other people's work and they paid a hefty sum for that. Many of these same people tried to get in touch with the company to find out what was going on, but as you can imagine, they were unable to do so.
I decided to learn from other people's experiences and keep my stuff for local use, as I had been doing all along. I have always believed that if something looks too good to be true, it's usually not true. I think if God wants my lyrics to be dispersed into the commercial music world, He will open up an opportunity for that. And if He never does, that is just fine.
For a minute, I had a fun fantasy of myself as an emerging gospel lyricist. But it was just my imagination, running away with me. And to be honest, I am kind of glad that that's all it was.