Someone wrote a song about me! About me!

Spotify recently added podcasts to its offerings. Wondering if my podcast, Boy vs. Girl, had been added, I asked Alexa, our Amazon Echo, to play Boy vs. Girl.

She told me that she couldn't find it on Spotify.

Then I asked her to play "Matthew Dicks," hoping it might pick up my name as one of the hosts of the podcast. 

"Playing Matthew Dicks on Spotify."

Then Spotify began playing a song about me

You can imagine my shock. Also my glee. 

It's a song produced by the Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library in conjunction with a TEDx Talk I gave in Somerville back in 2014 about the importance of saying yes.

I had no idea it existed. I was fairly exuberant about its existence. Elysha was also exuberant but became less so as I continued to play the song and express my excitement, pride, and lust for the tune.

I may have become insufferable in the span of about 15 minutes.

Still, a song about me! Mistakenly discovered on Spotify! I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

When you put things out into the world (in this case, a TEDx Talk), you never know what will come back to you. 

Taylor Swift teaches a valuable lesson to all content creators.

If you haven’t seen Taylor Swift’s Christmas video, you should.

It’s a lovely thing, but it’s also an exceptionally valuable lesson for anyone who creates content. Actors. Writers. Artists. Musicians. Designers. Anyone.

Treat the people who make your work possible very, very well.

My agent, Taryn, once told me that although she thinks I’m a talented writer and a great storyteller, one of my greatest attributes is that I treat people with kindness and respect.

Basically, I’m not a jackass.

This may come as a surprise some of my friends, but it’s true. 

I’m polite and respectful to my editors and the professionals at my publishing house. I respond to every email and tweet from my readers. I bend over backwards for bookstores and libraries. I’m accommodating to the organizers of literary festivals and speaking tours.

Taryn said that it’s much easier to sell my books when the people who buy them know that I’m not a jerk. That I am a decent person to work with.

I think this was probably Taryn’s way of warning me not to become a jerk, which can apparently happen after someone sells their first book.

I didn’t understand her concern at the time, but since publishing my first novel in 2009, I’ve had the honor of meeting many, many authors. Most of them are kind, humble, generous souls. The salt of the Earth. The best of the best. Truly some of the finest people who I have ever known.

But there is a very specific segment of authors and unpublished writers who are not nice. They are entitled, arrogant, rude, angry, demanding jerk faces.

They are also almost all men. This may simply be a reflection of my personal experience, but probably not.

I suspect that the same is probably true for musicians and celebrities like Taylor Swift. Most are kind, generous, and polite. Some are probably not.

I was not a Taylor Swift fan prior to watching her Christmas video. Her music was fine, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. I would occasionally play her songs her songs at weddings, but I didn’t have any Taylor Swift songs in my musical rotation. Other than a handful of her hits, I didn’t know any of her work.


After seeing this video, I’m an enormous Taylor Swift fan. I’m not sure if I like her music any more than before, but I like Taylor Swift as a person a whole lot. I’m much more likely to give her music a chance now. More inclined to watch a video on YouTube. 

This was a very smart thing for Taylor Swift to do, but most important, it strikes me as exceptionally genuine. I felt like I was watching a real person doing real things for real fans. I felt like I was seeing the real Taylor Swift. 

Perhaps I’m naive. Maybe the video was a carefully orchestrated, cleverly choreographed production by a team of promoters and marketers, but I don’t think so.

I think that Taylor Swift is probably an exceptionally kind person. Someone who knows how to treat her fans. Someone who values them and understands what they have meant to her career.

Taylor Swift has a new fan today thanks to that video, and she’s reminded me about the importance of treating my substantially fewer fans well. To go above and beyond whenever possible.  To thank them for making it possible to do what I do.

I might not be sending Christmas presents next December, but I’ll be watching for ways to let my readers know how much I appreciate them.

When I started working as a wedding DJ in 1997, the world was damn near prehistoric.

My partner and I started our DJ business 17 years ago on a whim. We had no experience and no equipment but thought we could make it work.

Since 1997, we’ve performed at more than 350 weddings. 

Over the course of that time, I’ve also married more than a dozen couples.

We’ve done two weddings for the same groom after a divorce and second marriage.

We have many, many stories.

Though we constantly contemplate retiring, our company goes on. We’ve reached the point in our careers that we turn down many weddings. We pick-and-choose our clients and wedding venues carefully. We only work when we want to work. 


It occurred to me today, as I was working at wedding #353, that when when I started my career as a DJ in 1997:

  • Smoking was still permitted in most wedding venues.
  • Digital photography did not exist in its current form. Every single professional photographer was still shooting with actual film. In fact, my partner and I carried two extra rolls of film with us after multiple photographers had run out of film at weddings.
  • Digitized music did not exist. Every song that we played was purchased at a brick-and-mortar store.
  • We still played some songs on cassette tapes.
  • There was no online mapping website or software. Directions to wedding venues and client’s homes had to be taken over the phone and written down by hand.

Seventeen years is a long time to be doing anything.


Unnecessary repetition. Wasted opportunity.

I will never understand why songwriters repeat the first verse of a song as their third verse. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it can completely ruin a song.

Lee Ann Womack’s chart topping song I Hope You Dance is a perfect example of this. It’s a beautiful song and ideal for father/daughter and mother/son dances at weddings, but for reasons I will never understand, the first and third verses of the song are identical.

It’s still a lovely song, but I’m convinced that the unnecessary repetition prevents it from becoming an all time classic.

King Harvest’s Dancing in the Moonlight suffers this same problem. Though I still like a song a lot (and my wife loves it), the first and third verses are identical. The song has managed to remain in the public conscious for almost forty years, perhaps because the repetition is a little less noticeable in this song. While the lyrics play an enormous role in Womack’s song (and are probably the song’s most defining feature), Dancing in the Moonlight is more about the song’s overall musicality. You don’t need to know the lyrics of the song in order to enjoy it. 

Also, every single rhyme in the song is an –ight rhyme. There are only so many of those words in the world.

Not only does the decision to repeat verses strike me as unnecessarily repetitive, but it also represents a lost opportunity. The songwriter and musician had a chance to say more without appearing to say too much, but when given the chance, they opted not to.

I don’t understand it.