How is it that some people in the entertainment industry are one-hit wonders while others have careers that last for decades? Much depends on talent, timing and mindset.
When I first started in the business as a teenager, I kind of believed that if you had the big break, that was it – you had made it. In reality, this is the furthest from the truth. Working as an artist is not only a balancing act of ups and downs, but also requires learning to navigate the movements – a new skill that many must fully learn. For the past year I’ve interviewed famous people and rising stars, and their stories all have something in common.
Show up is half the battle.
Often there is an audition and before you even have the information, you talk to yourself why you are not the right person for the role / gig. This is a common feeling. Wondering if you have the right outfit and can keep up with the other talents – the list goes on.
Don’t sabotage your efforts before you’ve even started, and remember, you are not the casting agent. Appear.
Always go with your tummy.
Follow your gut instinct for any business venture or decision in life. If something doesn’t feel right or wrong, don’t do it.
Don’t expect anything from others – join in.
It’s easy to sit back and wait for new opportunities. The artists I know who are good are the ones who showcase themselves, be it on TikTok and other social media platforms or when they attend events in person or online. Mentors and PR agents can be great, but you have to do your part. Share your knowledge with your social media channels and meet people. The more people you know in your industry, the more support groups you will have.
Don’t let a rejection put you off.
As soon as you realize that it is a numbers game, the word “no” is no longer so stressful. There are times when a job doesn’t work and you end up getting a different role or moving in a completely different direction. The world works in a mysterious way. I recently interviewed a legendary singer-songwriter, Don McLean, who told a wonderful story about his early days. He found the phone number of a successful folk musician he looked up to and actually called that person who actually answered. They became friends and the rest is history.
Make your own choices.
I interviewed a TEDx spokesperson, Michelle Enjoli, who speaks only about connecting people. We had a long chat about how we bond over coffee, and we both agreed that some of the best conversations happened in our family homes around the kitchen table while we watched our families gather over tea and coffee. Problems are solved and stories are told here. I firmly believe that this type of connection can help those who want to survive the entertainment industry. Apply this in your own life and when someone inspires you, offer to have them for a coffee.
Be yourself: make sure you know who you are and where you are going.
People like authenticity and want to see your real self. It’s so simple, yet easy to miss – especially in entertainment. Know how to set limits as you keep improving and reinventing yourself. Let your true self shine through and show your individuality.
Enjoy the small steps of the journey and you will live a happier life.
When I started in this business over 27 years ago, I had no idea how to get from A to B. The fact is, nobody does that. You do your best to move forward because it is the little things and the daily habits you make every day that lead to bigger milestones. By doing one thing each day that aligns you with your higher goals, you will prepare yourself for success.
Surround yourself with people who criticize you constructively, but also lift you up.
With the right team and support system around you, your career can be critical before you even get started. Make sure they are like-minded people who support and encourage you to do your best and help you achieve your goals. While an artist’s life is still relatively unpredictable, it is the best advice I can give when the opportunity presents itself.
It’s essentially an ongoing mix of all of the above. Good timing doesn’t hurt either, but it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. Some of the best people are returning to the industry after leaving other careers they’ve been in for years. The most important thing is that you get started, and that comes full circle: showing up is half the battle.