Talk Box(3)

DARE TO FAILThere’s a part in the movie Dumb and Dumber that to me, encapsulates one aspect of the music business. Lloyd (played by Jim Carrey) is finally face-to-face with Mary, the woman of his dreams. He asks “What do you think the chances are of a girl like you and a guy like me ending up together?” Mary is obviously thrown by the question, then replies, “Not good.” Lloyd says “You mean not good, like one out of a hundred?” and Mary answers “I’d say more like one out of a million.” Lloyd at first looks discouraged, then brightens: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”

The odds of making it in the music business aren’t quite as bad as one in a million, but they’re not good. Still, there’s always that chance, and that dream drives lots of people.

But what can you do to increase your odds of success, whether at the local level, or as a worldwide superstar? Here’s my advice: Dare to fail.

You don’t reach stardom by analyzing what others have done and calculating a path that will take you there. The big stars are those who have been true to themselves and true to their vision, and more than likely, failed so many times they have pretty thick skins. The odds are remote that the public will love the “real you” — but the odds are even more remote they’ll love a fake you.

Your only real option is to throw away the safety net, strike out in a direction where others haven’t gone, and stake your claim to an original statement. Make the music you want to make, and which resonates in your heart. If you’re really persistent, the stars are in alignment, and luck is on your side, it just might sync up with the public. If it does, great: Stardom awaits.

Realistically, though, maybe your music isn’t suitable for a mass audience. Maybe it’s best served by playing for a more select group of people; but there’s nothing wrong with that. Even if you don’t reach superstardom, you’ll have the satisfaction of making the kind of music that is not only honest, but expresses what you’re all about . . . and that’s its own reward.