Blog


Purpose as protection against an inflated ego

Last month there was a huge discussion in the Dutch media about a musician who used internet tolls in the past, to enhance his online profile. It might have been less shocking, if the same musician wouldn’t have recently advocated for more honesty and openness on the internet. What’s gotten into him, what inspired him to do so? That’s a question many people ask. According to his own explanation, he was too insecure and too eager to become successful. Somehow […]


Can you hear the silence?

My diary helps me to sort out stuff that’s going on in my mind. I not only write, I also add pictures that reflect the mood I am in. Cutting the the pictures from magazines, they usually show nature, flowers or interiors, no people. For this picture I made an exception. Years ago I found this picture, but it never fitted to my mood, until last week. The two ladies suddenly seemed to speak to me, how they are walking […]


Leave diva attitude at home!

What mental challenges to you have as a musician? And how do you deal with it? That’s the theme of a new series of interviews with musicians that I’m doing. The first one is with Madeleine Davis, singer of Boney M. for several years from end of the ’80s onwards. It’s mentally very challenging to be in the spotlights. What was for you the most challenging part? And why? “The most challenging was dealing with the personalities and mentalities of […]


Panel: mental health and music 1

In January, Sony organized a panel in London about mental health and music. They invited 3 speakers to look at mental health from different perspectives. While the event was planned to be for employees of Sony only, the great response lead them to invite friends in the music industry as well, with in the end more than 300 people attending the event. I invited Bec Adams, one of the initiators of the event, to tell me more about it. She […]


Fame hurts – 5 reasons why 4

In the last couple of years, I’ve asked myself frequently the question if it’s possible that fame hurts. Usually when I’ve heard of another musician who died on an overdose of painkillers, like Tom Petty, Prince and Michael Jackson. This week I read that Lady Gaga is cancelling at least 10 dates if her worldwide tour because of severe pain, just like she did last year September. Many famous musicians use heavy doses of painkillers on a regular basis, often […]


Artist’s passion and burnout

Last month I did a ‘Career Clinic’ about passion and burnout for students of the pop department of Conservatory of Amsterdam, earlier this month I did a masterclass about this subject for students at the Herman Brood Academy in Utrecht. Passion gives you a positive vibe that can protect you against burnout. And the same passion can make you go too far, so you are more likely to burn out. In Amsterdam I talked to a small group of students. […]


Aim high, not low!

In the Netherlands we’ve had a controversy this week about a Dutch rapper who was stuck with his car. Some young women picked him up, on their way to a party. He filmed himself, using offensive language against the women, and put it online. Would we have this commotion, if the rapper would have been white, or if the women would have been colored? The rapper is confirming the stereotype of misogynist colored rappers. But the whole issue is as […]


Training in mental-self-defense against sexual intimidation

Last week, Time Magazine has announced the voices behind #MeToo as Person of the Year 2017. Beware, it’s not over yet. Take for example the scandal we recently had in the Netherlands. Maan, 20 year old winner of Voice of Holland, got sexually intimidated at a live performance at Radio538. She closed her eyes during part of the performance. When opening her eyes again, a naked male stripper was in front of her in the studio. She was so shocked […]


Power and sexual harassment

Often I’ve thought that power does strange things to people. It seems to be true. Research shows, that power damages your brain: “Subjects under the influence of power acted as if they had suffered a traumatic brain injury – becoming more impulsive, less risk-aware, and, crucially, less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view.” Sexual harassment and abuse is just as much about sex as it is about power and the abuse of power. The power makes […]


Precarity and mental health

In a recent blog post I asked who is responsible for the mental health of musicians, and what the music business can do to support musicians in taking care of their mental health. The article was shared online at various platforms and I got many reactions. Thank you! You all agreed, that people are responsible for their own mental health, musicians too. Some of you shared personal experiences with depression or brain damage and being grateful for help from charities […]


10 keys to success

When it comes to the connection between art and cash, there are two very different opinions. On one hand there is the believe that as an artist, you just have to get to the top and then you will become rich, filthy rich, just like all the famous musicians and athletes. On the other hand though, when it comes to career planning, most people will tell you to get a ‘decent’ job, because with art you can’t make a living, […]


Musicians and personality

In recent months, I often wonder what kind of personality fits best for musicians. I don’t know of any research in that matter. The Dutch book “Een kwestie van persoonlijkheid” by Jolet Plomp was very inspiring in this matter. According to Plomp, there is a core in your personality that is pretty stable. Part of your personality comes from your genes, another part is formed by your experiences and by you reaction to them. The 5 major personality dimensions that […]


Talent and effort

Many people still think that real talent shows, if you book great results in your field without putting any effort into it. And that if you are not really talented if you have to put much energy into it. Carol S. Dweck shows in her book “Mindset: the new psychology of success : how we can learn to fulfill our potential : parenting, business, school, relationships.” that this assumption is not only wrong, but also very counterproductive. She calls it […]


What you can learn from keynote speeches 1

The season of the music conferences has started again. Right now it’s Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Germany, next month Womex, Amsterdam Dance Event and many more will follow. Most of them have several keynote speakers, highly successful and established people from within the music business to share their story and hopefully their secrets. Often you can hear really entertaining stories about the life of those successful people. Still, when talking about business, many of them try to convince you that […]


Music and emotion

Music is a shortcut to your emotions. That’s why I feel privileged to work with music and with musicians. You get a smile on your face when you hear a certain rhythm, melody, timbre, text. Three years ago, many people had this experience with the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Other songs make us sad and we cry. Billboard published in February a list of 50 songs that we can dance to while they make us cry. Songs can also […]