An Artist’s “Success”
This might sound suspiciously like the rantings of a person who is justifying his own place in the world, but it’s not the intention.
I just heard today that Justin Beiber was arrested and charged for a bunch of crimes related to drugs, alcohol and driving., and it prompted me to post something on this topic.
I was always raised to believe that the only true way to success was hard work. In my adult years I have added “and luck” to the motto. Many of my opportunities have felt more like luck than earned. But if my career was built on luck alone, I know it would have collapsed onto itself by now.
Justin was discovered young. He put in a short, albeit concentrated amount of time into developing his craft, before the powers that be swept him up, surrounded him in lights, colour and movement and began to get rich.
I’m not dismissing the valuable learning curve he has had since then. The talented singers that I work with (who could sing Justin under the table) have no stage chops, nor the stamina and experience of a touring pop star.There’s also his commercial obligations… appearances and photo shoots etc. Honestly I think his life is probably a whirlwind of chaos….. not particularly condusive for a performer to continue to develop their voice, their song-writing and their craft in general.
Then there are the ‘stayers’, the artists who climbed to fame with hard work and persistence….. Madonna, Lady Gaga, Katie Perry. While a large chunk of their fan base probably think they popped into existence 2 minutes before their first hit song was played on the radio, the reality is that they had been slogging at it for years before they finally caught the break.
Not only are these seasoned performers, more conditioned, more talented and disciplined, they also handle the fame better, as it was EARNED! They are humbled by their own experiences, and realise that their success was not their born right.
Back to Beiber…. I’m not sure I could handle the intense adoration and hatred he must receive from the world. My heart goes out to him, now as he falls off the rails….. actually that’s a good analogy……he’s like a freight train travelling too fast and not in control. He might be a young adult now but his formative years have been totally hijacked by his managers and frankly I doubt he has a real idea of a normal life any more. It’s hard enough learning the evils of over-drinking and drugs as a normal teen. Imagine having access to excess like this kid and learning how not to kill yourself.
I’m still slogging along. I will admit that self-promotion is not my strong suit, and perhaps this is where I have relied most heavily on luck. But I feel blessed to have a great studio to work in, a loyal client base, an interesting and diverse work-life and a happy personal life too. I don’t envy the rich and famous, but I admire and aspire to those that are happy.