Are there no other stories in the world except yours; and are all men busy with your business? You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers. GK Chesterton
Making a career from music is hard enough without negotiating your ego as a potential anchor. There are many obstacles along the path to music as either a career, or as a lifestyle. However, it’s the musician himself that will ultimately learn to walk the tight rope ego control most carefully, lest he fall into a pit most familiar, and at this point, almost cliche.
The Ego has been universally known to almost every musician’s family & friends as a number one enemy, and sometimes dangerous lover. At the beginning of every musician’s career, especially in those cases where a young artist scores a major deal, early on, it can be hard to remember the people who put you there. Everyone gets excited when someone does something great in their community, but it’s always the people who loved that new success the most who played the biggest hand in helping them get there.
This can be the beginning of the end for a lot of young artists. Their families, and humble beginnings are their roots and encompass the people in their lives that ground them and remind them of their true identities outside of the hype. There’s nothing sadder than seeing an artist suddenly believe that they really are a spokesperson for the universe and everyone is waiting for their answer to the world’s problems.
Oftentimes, it is when you are cut off from what grounds you that you start to second guess yourself. This is so dangerous for any musician, as it is intuition and preference that ultimately mold the performance. This is where the ego really seems to turn on one and begins to slowly erode the newness of a burgeoning career.
It’s funny how one can find themselves right in jealousy land, where no one can trust anyone and where all artists go to die, and sometimes, depending on their type of music, may come back to get a little angst and hate for the sound. Jealousy is sad conclusion to losing trust in yourself. Because one has to be able to trust oneself, in order to trust others.
The friend sometimes liked the least. The friend that’s always there. The friend that sits with there with the artist like a jack in the box on a still coil. It doesn’t move, but reflects the moment with its lack of vibratory movement. Nothing is going on. The artist is alone, cut off from oneself, and from everyone else. Out of spite, out of heart, out of head. These are the moments where anyone who is an artist will tell you are the worst. Musicians are emotional beings. And the better you get as an artist, the more emotional one becomes.
Silence is important to regroup, and come back harder. Make no mistake. The musician’s ego and silence usually aren’t the best of friends. But, when the musician forces the relationship between the two, one gets commitment, diligence, patience, regimentation, workflows, knowledge and talent mastery. When silence is ignored, silence can become rock bottom, as it’s the friend that will always catch up with you, and eventually will always force a confrontation.
Probably the biggest threat to the musician’s ego is actually its release.
I have been on the road for over forty years with some of the most famous musicians in the entertainment world. I have had the good fortune of working with a number of artists that have somehow have left their egos at the door and have never forgotten their roots. My hat is off to Donny & Marie Osmond, Lionel Richie, Linda Ronstadt and Steve Taylor to mention just a few.
Credit goes to Musician and Author, G.W. Childs, for some excerpts in this post.