Archive for September 17, 2018

Sometimes I feel like we live in an American Idol world. I guess I better break that down. American Idol was a show I really enjoyed for a while. I loved seeing all these talented people trying their luck before the judges, with the hopes of making their dreams come true. I enjoyed it because there were some really talented people, and indeed the show did produce a few superstars, but something didn’t sit right with me.

It seemed like everyone was sitting around waiting for their golden ticket. Waiting for someone to hear them, accept them and bestow on them the life of their dreams. Contrast this with my friend Morgan. One day last week she posted this video of her heading to New York City to perform with her band. She got to the club in time to play her set, and when it was over she shot a little video of herself getting home at 5:30 a.m. I saw another video from Boston this week. Now she ends up playing a fair amount of bars and clubs and given my history with alcohol, well that’s not my thing, but here’s the point. She’s not sitting around waiting for someone to make her dreams come true. She’s not sitting in her house waiting for someone to see her and how talented she is. She’s doing the work.

Her video reminded me of a clip from my all-time favorite band Rush. Just before they retired, they put out a documentary called Time Stand Still. I remember watching them live when I was in high and thinking about how cool their lives must be as they traveled all over playing music. The documentary gave a taste of their reality. Traveling from city to city in a station wagon, bartering with each other for the privilege of crawling in the back and sleeping on the equipment, and then graduating to a Dodge Fun Craft van with an actual bunk. Now of course today their lives are very different and they are quite wealthy and very famous but the reason they got there was because they didn’t sit around waiting for fame, they jumped in the “Fun Craft” and did the work.

That’s life in the arts. Natural talent is a great blessing from God, but the ones who succeed are the ones who will take that talent and roll up their sleeves and do the work. I see people all the time that seem to think they will go to school, get a degree in some art form and think that will guarantee them success. It won’t. I’m not belittling education, but the ones who succeed are the ones who go out and do the work. They practice. They perform. They write. They paint. They hustle. They realize they aren’t to big or important to take the small role or the small show. They get all the real world experience they can get. Don’t wait for the “cushy gig.” Find the opportunities and make the most of them. There’s no substitute for doing things the right way.

No matter what you want to do. You’ve got to do the work.