Check out this video of a Branford Marsalis interview…
The best line for me was: “We live in a country that seems to be in… …just a massive state of delusion where the IDEA of what you are is more important than you actually being that.”
OMG!!! That phrase rang true for me on so many levels, and not just music, and frankly, not just kids. I call it the “American Idol Syndrome,” where people have been led to believe that they’re good just because they happen to participate in something; or that they can achieve fame and fortune by simply showing up. I’d bet that 99% of the folks that enter aren’t very talented (remember, there are thousands that show up for the auditions in each city), and I’m also willing to bet most just don’t have the drive to do what it takes to achieve, let alone sustain their success. But they certainly think they do and that attitude is exacerbated by those around them saying how good they are.
Don’t believe me? Just look at all the past winners. While several have enjoyed professional success to some degree, arguably the most successful of them is Carrie Underwood. That chick has put in time! Sure, “Idol” put her on the map, but you don’t win multiple Grammys and other awards on talent alone.
Though not of the “Idol” ilk, the same could be said of Taylor Swift. Again, I’m not a fan of her music, but that young lady WORKED to achieve her success and fame, moving to Nashville at the tender age of 14 to pursue her dream of songwriting. She was recognized for her talent, yes, but if you think she didn’t work to get where she’s at now…
I’m not going to disparage any single person directly, but over the course of my long musical career, and especially the last several years, I’ve met so many people who have been told they’re good by those around them, and they just aren’t very good. The plain fact of the matter is that to be GOOD, you have to work at it. As Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his incredible book, “Outliers,” the best people in any profession that he studied spent at least 10,000 hours honing their craft. 10,000 HOURS! The best aren’t the best because they have talent. The best are the best because they have talent and are willing to put the work in to the point where they are recognized as being the best or at least among the best at what they do. These people are definitely not full of shit.
So what’s the point to this? Other than not mimicking the title of this article, realize that there are no shortcuts, and just because you have talent doesn’t mean you’re going to be a success. As I tell my kids, “You gotta work at it, baby…”