Are you special? (Hint - you're probably not)

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Record-Producer.com.

Friday April 22, 2011
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Every now and then I take a look at the people who subscribe to Audio Masterclass on Twitter. Here is an interesting example of the bio of a recent subscriber...

"I am 17 years of age and am a singer who wants to be in commercial singing and performing arts (TV, drama, theatre, studying Performing Arts)."

From the perspective of a 17-year old, achieving a career in commercial singing and performing arts seems very possible. I know that because it seemed very possible to me when I was 17.

As you get to 18,19 and 20, things still seem very possible. But as one's twenties progress, the possibility of 'making it' seems more and more remote. And at 30, well you might as well call it a day. Fortunately for me, I signed my first publishing contract when I was 30, after twelve years of handing out demo tapes. It only took Diane Warren eleven years, so I was a bit slow!

Special?

What I learned from this was that I am not 'special' in any way; I don't have any so-called god-given talent and that everything I have achieved has been through working for it.

And I think it would be good advice for anyone who wants to achieve anything in the music or performing arts business that however naturally talented and gifted they think they are (and some people actually are), they are going to have to work for success.

Work? What is work?

Notice that I say 'work' rather than the cliche 'work hard'. There's a difference...

I now recognize that although I worked for what I achieved (a satisfying degree of success in TV music), I didn't in any sense work hard. And even if I had worked what I considered to be hard in my twenties, it wouldn't have been hard enough to become a recording artist or songwriter, as I would have wished at the time.

Craft and connections

So what I would say to anyone who seeks a career in music or performing arts is that no-one achieves success without work, hard work and really hard work. You need to put in the time developing your craft and your connections. If you don't treat it as a full-time occupation at the very least, your chances of success will be slim.

And don't forget that for every one place in the industry, there are thousands of people who would like to have that place. At least if you know how much effort you are going to have to put in, you'll be ahead of the game!

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