General Question

niki's avatar

Is it too late for me to become a famous artist/musician? Also, is fame important?

Asked by niki (699 points ) January 23rd, 2011

For all struggling artists out there (eg: musicians, painters, drawing artists, designers, photographers, etc),
have any of you ever struggled/wrestled with the questions about being a “famous artist”,
ie: do you want to be a famous artist, if you could? do you aspire it? is it really important goal/dream of yours, as an artist?...or not so much? if it’s not, then what or why can you actually feel ‘content’ by not having fame over your artworks?

My biggest dream has always been to be a professional Musician/songwriter, performing, and sharing my music, touch and inspire many souls and hearts in this world.
But lately, with me being 28 yrs now (will turn 29 this August…oh how time flies so fast!),
and with many ‘pending’ and ‘unclear’ and failed music projects in the past (ie: bands broken, projects postponed because one or two members got busy with fulfilling ‘parental or school’s obligations’, a member whose parent told him/her to stop all the music/artistic activity and to continue his/her family’s business/shops, etc), and also my parents (especially my father)‘s constant pressures on me to NOT pursue my musical dreams (or careers) but to focus on the “big money-making business world”, and also with an artistically-stifling environment where I currently live at,..I have finally come into a thought that as follow:

what if it’s all too LATE for me to “making it” in my music/artistic endeavors/dreams?
what if I simply couldn’t become, or didn’t have the right environment & supports, to become a long-dreamed famous artist/musician ?...can I accept this reality? or would I easily lose my own identity, as a musician/artist?..
and what if, finally, I yield to my father’s ‘realistic/pragmatist’ expectations of just helping him in his businesses, to continue running the non-music-related family business, and just put music as a ‘hobby’ or as“just do it on the side/free time only” (as my father always advised me to do so),..if I were to finally yielded and accepted all of that,..would I easily lose my own core identity? would I have a ‘dark, depressing’ future, with full of regrets? or, would it actually [I]liberates [/I]me from the ‘haunting’ of “too late to make it in music”?..

This is such a very important, huge dilemma and lingering thoughts that recently have really crossed on my mind, perhaps as a ‘cushion’ or ‘life safeguard’ , if I were to finally compromise and accept my father’s realistic expectations..

To all ‘struggling’ artists out there, please share your opinions and own experiences here regarding this matter.
I would love to hear yours.
thank you.

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31 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

I forget the exact wording, but it’s been said that if you can make a million dollars doing something besides art – do it.

Art is a passion, not a job. There are ways to make a living and still pursue it, even successfully so you can “quit your day job.”

Fame is the least important thing in the world. Recognition from artists that you respect may lead to fame – but if it doesn’t, you have the actual valuable thing already.

sashii's avatar

it is not too late for you to be a famous music/artist if you have hope. that’s my opinion. we have the same dream. and like me,i do not lose hope. because i know that maybe someday,i will become a famous musician/artist like what you dream for. just hope 4 the best and fight fight fight !

Nullo's avatar

Fame, I gather, is one of the most spectacular ways in which people commit themselves to their own ruin.

As with all things, seek moderation.

tan235's avatar

you’re never to old, i’m in now my 30’s and i struggle(d) with it everyday, I am also successful at it (meaning I now make money from my ‘art’) but that didn’t happen till I turned 30…. just don’t give up.
‘iamthemob’ maybe has had a bad run at things, and it’s definitely not ‘easy’ being an artist, but… you should always be able to make money doing what it is you love, you just truly have to see that there is no other option and jump.
I didn’t start doing music till i was in my late 20’s.
Just do it – stop worrying about your age…. go for it.

Cruiser's avatar

It’s never too late and you are relatively young and hopefully have many years of songwriting ahead of you. I might suggest putting your songs on youtube and just start playing out as much as possible. If you have talent, let others know about it. Good luck.

mrentropy's avatar

Just to pull two names out of a hat, J.K. Rowlings and Susan Boyle, should be enough to show that there isn’t a time limit on fame. As far as artists and photographers go, there’s probably a couple who didn’t “make it” until after they were dead.

nebule's avatar

I don’t think fame is important at all. What is important is that you do something that you enjoy doing. If you feel that you are passionate enough about music to want to do it full time and can afford to live off what little it pays you, unless you do end up making a l;ot of money out of it then go for it.

I’m 30 and after realising I wasn’t cut out for the operatic world that entered into in my 20s I drifted a little and popped in and out of the music profession. It’s not for me. You need a lot of dedication, time and energy and the confidence to get you through the knock backs. I don’t have any of this and much prefer to just sing in the shower these days. All my family would say that I have a wonderful voice and could knock the socks of any of the big stars but it’s a lot more complicated than that!

The other thing that I would say is that before I entered the classical music industry I was incredibly passionate about singing and opera and I had a lot of verve but doing it day in day out and being exposed to the harsh realities of the industry ruined my passion. Really. I don’t listen to opera really now at all… I don’t want to be in the industry. I feel like my passion was kicked out of me somehow.

I am now very tentative about what I should do with the rest of my life because whilst I want to do something that I love and am passionate about but I really don’t want those passions that remain to be washed away also.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Dreams only die if neglected.

filmfann's avatar

Paging Susan Boyle. Susan Boyle to the white courtesy phone.

Summum's avatar

I have two uncles that were listed in the top ten artists of the world and niether of them got the fame until after their deaths. It is not so important for the fame and if you gain it while alive you sometimes suffer with very little privacy. Some say it is not worth it to have the fame. Look what it has done to so many child stars.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I have zero desire to be famous. I just want to create as much as I can. What happens to my art makes little difference to me, I just need to get it out of me, in a sense. I have always had this constant, nagging desire to make things, to create something using whatever medium appeals to me that day. If someone else likes what I do, that’s awesome. If someone else wants to buy what I’ve made, well, even better.
That isn’t why I do it. I do it because I can’t imagine not doing it.

aprilsimnel's avatar

What’s worth more to you, being able to make music or being famous? Why do you want to be famous (besides the money)? Once you break that down, ask yourself if there’s any other way for you to meet that need and be satisfied.

That said, people tend to forget that there’s no such thing as “security” anywhere, as our current economic woes show. I was always told, “Learn to type and how to operate the office machines, and you’ll never be out of a job!” Well, that’s horsepucky. I got laid off despite my office machine knowledge and compliant, “go-get-em” personality.

Now I temp while writing TV shows (though I’m not sure how to get any sold, but I’m researching this), which I was terrified of doing even a year ago, thinking, “What if my work’s crap?” Well, it isn’t. I have many great stories to tell, and in my head, they’re visual, so that’s how I write them. I don’t want to be on my death bed regretting not giving this my best shot and taking some job just because it was “safe”.

john65pennington's avatar

In America, there wil always be idols and heroes for us to support. Humans are just built this way.

A good phrase to remember: “Never Say Never”.

The object is to never stop trying.

Austinlad's avatar

NEVER too late—at least to make a start. Grandma Moses started painting in her 70s!

harple's avatar

@niki, you have been asking this same question in various guises since March 2009… This could suggest one of two things, heck maybe both at once…

1) You are really really serious about pursuing a music career
2) You are so caught up in thinking about it that you aren’t actually doing it.

If you want it, pursue it in every spare second you have, until it starts to reward you better than whatever paid job you’re currently doing. At that point you can show your father cold hard facts – “I earn this much for this many hours of music, and I can do this x times a week, therefore I can drop a day a week” etc etc. (Do you still live at home? At some point in your life you WILL need to live life for yourself on decisions you make for yourself…)

Pursuing it with every spare second is done by practising your craft, coming up with promotional fliers (even on your home computer at little cost) approaching venues (ANY potential venue – bars, clubs, busking, the local women’s group monthly meeting, ANYTHING), being willing to do something for nothing in order to get the exposure… Get yourself to regular open-mike nights where you can perform and mix with others with the same passion… Keep going, keep forging new links, keep networking and meeting as many new people as possible… Sort out your myspace, facebook, twitter… use it to push what you can do…

If you come up with a new idea, run with it and see where it takes you, then run with the next one… get yourself out there!

Where am I coming from with all this? I have had the battle of “Normal job” verses pursuing my passion of music… I’m not famous (nor do I wish to be) but I have performed at all the major concert venues in England, including the Royal Albert Hall in London… Don’t give up, but for goodness sake push yourself, it won’t land on your lap without your own bloomin’ hard work!

nebule's avatar

@harple beautifully put x

gondwanalon's avatar

You can become a successful artist with much perseverance and hard work but it is unlikely for you to become a rich and famous one. I think that you either have the gift or you don’t and no amount of practice and hard work can get you to the level of a Michelangelo if you weren’t born with that potential. Good Luck!

xMissMorganx's avatar

No, it is not too late. It is never too late to try and fufill your dreams. :P
Famous wise… if you’d want to be in the spotlight all the time then sure. But if you wouldn’t like it, then maybe not.

syzygy2600's avatar

It’s never too late.

Fame is only important for attention whores. True artists don’t care if 1 or 1 million are watching.

mrentropy's avatar

The unasked question is, can it be too late to enjoy the fruits of being famous. The Rolling Stones say “no.”

jazzticity's avatar

“Late” is not a factor here. You can become a truly great musician at any age. But success, let alone fame, is never guaranteed.

mattbrowne's avatar

I think it’s never too late. I was 36 when I began writing a science fiction novel. It did it because it was a wonderful new experience and because I liked the challenge. I didn’t become famous. Being famous is not important for me. I want to live a meaningful life and make a difference. This can be done without being famous. In fact, becoming too famous also carries significant dangers. It’s not easy to handle fame properly. Too many people fail handling fame.

Go for it. Worry about the art and the music. Not about becoming famous.

niki's avatar

@mattbrowne thank you for your comment, and also everyone else.
if I may know, what is your current day job (one to make a daily living)? does it not related with the artistic passion? is it entirely different?
like me with my utmost music passion, for example, do I have to eventually let go of my fixation with making music as THE only & only job for me,..and it is actually perfectly OKAY to just make music as my side-job, and then choose whatever job for the day job/daily make-a-living, even in helping my dad’s businesses, which are totally unrelated with music?
what do you think?
thanks.

mattbrowne's avatar

@niki – Keep in mind that only 1 in 1000 writers, artists, musicians can make a living without having another job. Yes, a totally unrelated job can make sense, while a passionate hobby is still important. Have you thought about teaching music in high school?

niki's avatar

@mattbrowne thank you for your response back.
Yes, I am in fact now supplementing my ‘quick income’ from the teaching of piano (thinking of expanding/growing it even more), and by playing at the weddings, events, etc..
but I know that I wouldn’t just ‘stop’ there, like many of my musician friends seems to be doing,.and that’s really fine to me, if that’s what all they really want and they’re happy and enjoying it. but as for me, I am viewing all of these as a ‘stepping stones’, and still working for my ‘bigger visions/target/goal’ in Music. Basically, my ultimate pursue is to be a full-time artist/singer-songwriter with full concepts that could hopefully really inspire, or even change the world (I am not exaggerating here..this is really truly my utmost, ultimate dream, and yes, I am an Idealistic kind of a person).
And I will never, ever let things or life ever stopped me from doing or making my music!
I want to inspire, change people, the world, through my music & expressions.

niki's avatar

oh I forgot to mention, that being strongly in my culture (I’m Asian, an Indonesian-Chinese), I am still helping my father too in his businesses (things are really, really rough now in our family,..his businesses are not that good,.and I somewhat feel a responsibility to try as best to help him also), and it varies from the contractor business, the chemical business, etc,
..although I’m really, really afraid that if I were to keep doing this, ie: helping him in the ‘business-realm’,..I would actually furthering myself away from my utmost music dreams/target/vision & passion!..
Some of my musician friends have in fact strongly advised me to really talk to my father, boldly, and asked him to give me another 1 or 2 more years, so I can really start focusing and concentrating on my music goals/dreams. And if after those 1–2 years, there’s still no good signs or paths (which I really hope not be the case!),..then I have to be fully 100% ready to totally commit in helping and continuing my father’s businesses, like he initially wanted/expected me to be..
This is such a HUGE, major dilemma for me.. many of my friends and people have also felt & expressed their ‘concerns’ on my dilemma as well.. but one thing for sure is that I should never give up in my music,..whatever will happen!

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, a dilemma can be involved. I think it’s more important to choose a profession for which there’s a demand on the job market.

Kittykeys's avatar

keep doing what you love!

Kittykeys's avatar

It is never too late as that as long as we live we must do the best to accomplish our dreams! look at Susan Boyle she made her dreams come true ! and William Joseph is a great pianist composer and no one knows his age !so keep going and doing what your heart tells you to do !

Pachy's avatar

“Don’t confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.”

—-Erma Bombeck—

28lorelei's avatar

As has been said before, if you’re trying to achieve fame and that is your goal, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re trying to share your craft with others and get as good along the way as you possibly can, that will get you further. You have to be pursuing your craft for the sake of pursuing it and for the love of it. It has to be something you are passionate about if that’s what you want to do as a living. Of course, you can have a good time with it as a hobby as well but if you want to have your full-time career be music, you had better be dedicated.

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