The 4 keys to greatness: Gems from music industry leaders!
“Bold and innovative thought is the only clear path to greatness” – Bryant Lloyd
You will never unearth a diamond for yourself digging in someone else’s hole.. Mentorship will forever play a role any success story, however, dominating the music industry will not come by following the step by step instructions of another. It will come through innovative thinking, courageous action, resourcefulness, and passion. These core attributes of greatness are the driving force behind some of the most dominant figures in the music industry. With nuggets from these well-documented industry leaders, you will learn how these core attributes can unearth your potential for greatness.
“I guess the game has changed, I guess the rules aren’t what everybody says it is.”
In an interview with Sway, J. Cole spoke about his now classic Forest Hill Drive album and how he rid his mind of all the “old questions” that still surround artist when working on a body of work. Questions like what is the single or what features are going to be on it. He said that he had to come to grips with the fact that this album might not sell when he released it. The album is currently double platinum and a rare jewel in the hip-hop community. “I guess the game has changed, I guess the rules aren’t what everybody says it is.” He said referencing the albums unprecedented success.
What J. Cole did was create an album that he loved and put it out for the world, and it became a hit. Something not many artists can boast. Today we see more and more examples of unconventional releases from artists such as Beyonce and Frank Ocean but one can argue that J. Cole started it all.
Innovative ideas can be frightening but without them, nothing can ever change. All the great people in history are the ones who introduced change. Without new and innovative idea’s, change cannot be. Push the boundaries of your own thoughts, rid yourself of all limiting ideas or perceived rules and allow yourself imagine freely. Innovation can appear in many forms, J.Cole isn’t the first rap artist to go platinum but he is the first to do it on his own terms and his own method. Jot down your own ideas about what changes you can bring to the industry and prepare to attack.
“Take the craziest dream you ever had and go after it. Make it a reality. I don’t want you to dream I want you to do.” – Diddy
Having ideas and dreaming is one thing, acting on those thoughts is another entirely. Taking courageous action has to become a habit if you are to become great. For most this proves to be the most challenging step. It can seem easy when you read it on a blog, but in the moment it can feel like life and death. The opportunity for action presents itself in a multitude of ways, from buying a plane ticket and investing in studio time, to introducing you and your brand to A&R’s and radio hosts.The fear of failure is powerful and can leave a person in a state of permanent paralysis called mediocrity. Without the courage to act on your passions and desires your potential stays dormant and dreams stay just as they are, dreams.
Fear only has as much power as you give it which makes it all the more crippling. During my time in sales, I had a difficult time prospecting potential clients for fear of rejection. I knew what people thought about those in my profession at the time and struggled with the idea of being judged. Knowing I had to get over this, I began to challenge myself to talk to a new person every day using one of our sales scripts to introduce myself. Though I didn’t reach the level of success I had imagined at that job, I DID successfully rid myself of that fear and developed a skill that has proved valuable in every venture since.
You will only go as far as you’re willing to go. Challenge yourself to face the fears that have been holding you back and combat it with action! Do small things on a daily basis that make you feel uncomfortable until the feeling vanishes.
“I would run into the corner store, the bodega, and just grab a paper bag or buy juice – anything just to get a paper bag. And I’d write the words on the paper bag and stuff these ideas in my pocket until I got back. Then I would transfer them into the notebook.” – Jay-Z
This simple tale of a young boy grabbing bags to jot down fleeting ideas demonstrates perfectly the power of being resourceful. Utilizing what you have at your disposal is the ONLY way to add more to yourself. All great people have proven themselves to be extremely resourceful. Most of their stories revolve around using what little they had to create something outstanding. Ironically many of them had less than many of you reading have at your fingertips at this moment. This core attribute is undervalued by many as people tend to focus on what they do not have and use them as excuses to hide away their dreams.
Stop wasting time focusing on what you do not have and look at all that you do have. If you don’t have money then you typically have time, if you don’t have time you have money. If you’re big then you’re strong if you’re small then you’re quick! Identify your strengths and build on them and watch as your pull of resources grow.
“One of the biggest thrills for me is still sitting down with a guitar or a piano and just out of nowhere trying to make a song happen.” – Paul McCartney
The not so secret ingredient to true greatness and wild levels of success is passion! You have to love what you are doing more than anything to be truly great at it. It’s the passion that keeps you up until 3:34 AM trying to tweak the last bit to make the track perfect, or to keep approaching A&R’s and labels despite rejection after rejection. Your passion is your fuel and it can only come from inside of you. Sure you can find sources of inspiration from the outside but inspiration is fleeting while passion burns forever. It’s attached to your soul! If you haven’t yet, ask yourself if music something you’re passionate about or just interested in. Are you drawn to the industry because of the lavish lifestyle you see on TV or do you have a genuine love for music and performing? There is no right or wrong answer just what is right for you. If you find that you do have the passion for it, merge it with the remaining core attributes of greatness and prepare yourself for the journey of a lifetime.