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Robbie Gennet: Inspiration Through Tragedy - A Songwriter’s Perspective

July 13, 2020

In this episode, I'm talking to Robbie Gennet (singer/songwriter/musician/journalist/teacher/artist) about finding inspiration in tragedy. From losing his home in the California fires to COVID-19 changing the music industry again, he's had to adapt. But rather than feeling defeated, he's found a new drive and is working on some of the most exciting material of his career.

We talk about random meetings leading to lifelong friends (one such encounter with him is the reason I'm called "Aardvark Girl"), finding gratitude and acceptance, looking at fear as a driver, stepping out of comfort zones, and being conscious of time slipping away.

He also breaks down his songwriting process, his love of words, hiding philosophy in lyrics, and why he leaves meaning open to the interpretation of the listener. With the constant changes in the world, he understands the value of creating solely for the love of the art, especially when there is no business model for what you want to do.

You either have excuses or a plan. Hear all about Robbie's plan in this insightful episode from a songwriter's perspective.

You can find Robbie at and or on Facebook at

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00:19 How a random meeting after a concert in 1997 led to the name "Aardvark Girl"

03:52 Everything happens for a reason, and sometimes random events can change the course of our lives.

05:05 Keeping a positive attitude, even through tragedy - it's about gratitude and perspective.

06:04 How two major back-to-back tragedies fueled Robbie to create more. It started with acceptance.

08:17 The impact from these tragedies seeped into his songwriting - looking at things from a meta level. Using fear as a driver, he aims to unlock and break that instinct that stops people from unifying with others.

10:47 Making the choice to keep moving forward by developing a process for writing songs and making the effort rather than waiting for inspiration to hit. You have excuses or you have a plan.

11:50 Creating for the sake of creating, and engaging that creativity to elicit deeper thinking in others.

14:55 The meaning of a song is open to the interpretation of the listener, regardless of what it was written about.

19:59 The power of music - the feelings, the mood, the visceral emotion... These days, there are a lot more ways to get out to people and connect with the ones who "get" you.

21:35 Nostalgia from the music in our teens and twenties and how it seems to be more impactful than music now.

24:00 Missing curation, and wondering how you can make something now that's so compelling that people don't want to shut it off.

25:19 When your whole industry changes, you have to adapt or you're going to get left behind. With no business model for music, you can only do it for the love.

26:42 What every artist wants is to be taken seriously, and to matter.

27:34 "Your best songs are ahead of you." That's how every day of your life should be.

30:49 On being conscious of time slipping away, and how that can accelerate your goals and drive.

33:15 "Have delusions of grandeur! Pretend that the thing that you're creating is going to get out there and affect the world in a great way."

34:23 "You can't sit idle. That's the only thing you can't do. You have to scratch into it every day, grab the shovel, put it in the dirt, wipe your brow, and dig. That's it."