success / fame

In this category you find posts related to success and fame, how they are related or not, and how to deal with it. They also tell you how to deal with failure.


Breaking borders and feeling alienated to yourself

The most exciting part of being an artist, is to create. It starts to get really good, when you get in a flow once you start creating. The act of creating always results in something new, something that wasn’t there before. You might have an idea upfront where you want to go, though in the end you are often surprise yourself with the result. For everything new you create, you break the borders of what is known so far. This […]


7 Conceptions that put extra pressure on people in the live music business

It’s spring, so I’m writing about eggs 😉 Just kidding. The egg is a great symbol. The shell is strong and vulnerable at the same time, just as we are. Music is liberating, music helps you to face difficult situations. Though if you work with live music, if live music becomes your work, the situation turns around. Look at the egg. As long as there are no cracks in the egg shell, you can put a huge amount of pressure […]


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 […]


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 […]


Fame hurts – 5 reasons why 5

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. […]


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 […]


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, […]


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 […]


From reproduction through creativity and loneliness to leadership

When you look at animals, the success of a species is measured by its ability of reproduction. There are different strategies. Frogs produce thousands of offspring, but most of them got killed by predators (fishes) or by a harsh environment (drought). Elephants only have one calf and it takes almost 2 years before it’s born. Here the reproduction strategy is not quantity but care and longevity. The creative process of producing art is the reproduction that artists use. Different musicians […]


Why musicians don’t need mental support 3

Athletes use mental coaches to enhance their performances, entrepreneurs go to coaches to enhance their business, bankers visit shrinks, but musicians don’t need mental support. Here’s why. Many musicians had to face hard times during childhood. They used music as an escape. Listening to music and later playing music was their way to deal with life. Music itself can lift you up when you are down. Being able to create beauty at any time, makes you feel powerful. It allows […]


Music and addiction

Two weeks ago I went to the ILMC conference in London and visited a workshop about mental health of artists. The topis was addiction in the music business, with musicians and with everyone else working int he music industry. The session started with the introduction of Music Support (later more), followed by a speech of psychotherapist and addiction-specialist Christophe Sauerwein. According to Sauerwein, about 15% of the population is receptive for addiction. While ‘normal’ people use drugs to escape reality […]


A fresh start – how to make it work?

A new year feels like a new start. A clean slate of 12 months. Somehow we all think that in the new year, we will be able to avoid all mistakes and to seize all opportunities, unlike previous years. Every year again, we truly believe that the new year can become different, better. Even after the hang-over on new years day we still believe in it. But how can it become better, if we think and act the same? If […]


Limitations – block or inspiration?

How do you deal with limitations? They can become a real block! This week a friend saw a post on FB. One of his friends asked to share bad jokes with him, but the jokes had to be political correct, not racist, not sexist. My friend is a good joke teller and usually has a good pile of jokes in his mind. I think that all his jokes are political correct, not racist, not sexist. But he blanked and couldn’t […]


Enhance social skills of musicians to prevent drug addiction

The most common explanation of drug addiction is, that if you take too long a certain amount of a drug, you will become an addict. It’s the substance that makes you addicted. This theory is the basis that the US war on drugs is based on. But it doesn’t explain why so many famous musicians turn to drugs and have to go to rehab again and again. It doen’t explain why too many talented musicians die of an overdose, like […]