My friend Lionel is a brilliant musician. He wrote and recorded several hits, including a smash number one record. A few decades ago, when he was active on the performing side of the music business, the pathway to success was: get the attention of a record label executive, secure a record- ing or publishing deal, let the label shape and refine you and make you marketable, spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars making a record, and follow their lead and hope that you “catch on.” But no matter what, that first step was to get the gatekeepers to let you in.
Since recording technology has been democratized and studio-level equipment is available to almost everyone, Lionel has been joking with me for years that it was only a matter of time before some kid wins a Grammy for something they recorded in their bedroom.
He was wrong. She won five with her debut album.
Billie Eilish has officially driven a stake through the heart of what we used to think was the sole path to creative success. It’s official—you can make music from anywhere.
Now, there’s a big difference betweenmakingsomething andgaining attentionfor it. Attention for your work is not a birthright. However, the old excuses of needing someone to give you permission to make your art are officially dead.
You don’t need a gatekeeper’s permission. You just need to do your work.
There are no creative gatekeepers, especially in this day and age. Do your work.
is there any place where you are waiting for the permission of a gatekeeper before you do your work?