“Fame encourages us to believe that if it hasn’t happened yet, it won’t happen. Fame is not the same as success, and in our true souls we know that. Fame, the desire to attain it, the desire to hold on to it, can produce the “How am I doing?” syndrome. This question is not “Is the work going well?” This question is, “How does it look to them?” Julia Cameron
Flip through a Rolling Stone magazine or watch the Grammy’s and you’ll soon discover the fame drug at work. It eats at the artist child within whispering, ‘You’re not good enough, your music sucks, you’ll never achieve music success.’ If you peruse these forms of entertainment you have to watch yourself and be careful with these destructive inner thoughts of fame addiction you might have. Be on guard. Always when you have a big project you’re working on or when starting a new music project, someone with more talent, more affluence and more fame will come across your path to try and discourage you. Be careful that you don’t compare your ‘newly hatched’ creative work with someone who has years of experience and a little fame under their belt. In other words, don’t compare your rough sketch drawing to a Van Gogh painting. Don’t compare your newly laced track to the latest Timbaland beat. Yes, it’s good to make sure your sounds are up to par and to study technique, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about comparing yourself to those that are famous and doing it so much that you doubt yourself. If you’re a student or have been doing music for ten years, you have to allow yourself time to be ‘just OK’. You have to let yourself make mistakes, you must allow your inner artist room to grow without comparison or judgment.
When we wish for fame what we are really wanting is acknowledgment and love. We seek affirmation as artists, “Is my music really good? Do people understand me?” Many artists have achieved high levels of success without becoming famous. So if this is one of your goals: Become a famous musician. Than beware. Striving to become famous is the fame drug that can hurt you more than help you. Yes, of course being famous is good. But it should only be a by-product of first being true to yourself, and becoming amazing at what you do. Being able to create something new and fresh and innovative. Wishing to attain fame only hinders this delicate process. How can you be true to yourself when you have one eye on your competition? How can you create something fresh when you’re worried about what people may think?
When on the fame drug, fame addiction sets in and you feel lost to it’s grip, discouragement leading to writer’s block then sets in. The best thing to do is go to your studio and create. Write a song, play with music production, sing, rap or write a song. Creativity for the pure love of art is the only thing that can snap you back to reality.
Music success is not fame. Music success is when you are doing what you love every day. Music success looks different on everyone – your success is not going to be another’s success. Every day make time to pat yourself on the back for staying focused, playing, practicing – reward yourself with every little step of progress. This is your personal music success.
Remember, 85% of people do not know how to stay focused and keep moving forward no matter what the obstacles in your path. You are among the 15% of successful musicians and music producers.
Tutorial: When Fame Addiction is a Block to Music Success
1) When listening, studying or watching other artists, identify the temptation to compare and stop the thinking patterns that follow. If possible, stop listening to others music the day or hours before working on your own music.
2) Go to your studio, turn everything on and just start. No matter what your mind tries to tell you, stick it out. Its like going to the gym. The first 15 minutes you fight with ‘why am I here, I can’t stand this, this is boring, etc’. But after 15 minutes it changes to ‘I forgot how much I love this, this feels great, so glad I stuck to it’. So it is the same with music. Just turn it on and keep going.
3) Read articles and books, watch movies and videos that encourage your goals and creativity – no matter how different they are from those around you. Make a note of info that discourages you or brings ‘comparison thoughts’. Being mindful of these things during a music project, song, deadlines, etc will help keep you creative and inspired.