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It,s funny how musicians see the term 'success'

This concept means very different things to different people. What is meant as 'success to many (usually those who have never been in the music industry) equates to having a hit record and making a lot of money from it. But success can not be defined in just financial or commercial terms.

There have been many artists that have had big selling records who have been directed by record companies to replicate their sound more or less using the same formula in order to keep their careers afloat. For many artists, this has been a very dissatisfying process which has lead to some becoming very disillusioned creatively, and spiritually. What makes an artist great is the fact they reinvent themselves because that's how creativity works, its fluid and dynamic and it doesn't stand still.

A good example of this is seen in the life of Alex Chilton. Alex started his career by having a hit in 1967 with the Soul combo the Box tops called 'The letter'.which sold very well commercially. After being stifled creatively by the songwriting team who were reluctant to take on any of Alex's own material, the group disbanded the mid 70's He went to Memphis to form the very influential rock band 'Big star who made a number of albums that had little impact on the commercial market. This lead to his demise remaining only as a cult figure to his loyal following of fans. He moved to Greenwich village but went mainly unnoticed by the community there. By the early 1980's he moved to New Orleans where he worked washing dishes and trimming trees to make a living.

It was after this period of basically being down and out he eventually went back to making the kind of music that he wanted to, drawing from the New Orleans Rhythm and blues influences. He also traveled back to Memphis on occasions to make records that were inspired by Rock and roll and his childhood love of Jazz. He died in 2010 in New Orleans aged 59. Reissues of two CDs of his 'lost years in New Orleans released in 2019 titled 'from Memphis to New Orleans and 'Songs from Robin Hood-lane' is now available. He was a tortured artist who finally felt happy and comfortable with the music he was producing with no ties to the commercial market which puts a different spin on success.

Thankfully there have been some artists have created music they wanted to through thick and thin. Many debut albums by Artists such as the Stone Roses, Kate Bush, and even Elvis Presley were dismissed by the media initially, only to be proved wrong and welcomed wholeheartedly by the public. This shows that sticking to your guns can work out for you.

To quote a quote from Marshall Chess the son of Leonard who was one of the founders of the legendary Chess Records in Chicago said ''If you listen to what everyone else is doing, you'll never come out with anything original''

So if you produce a unique style of music that and you really believe in with your whole heart, then other people will love it too. What is good in this day and age is that creating your own Success has changed hands and it's no more dependent on the powers that be to promote it. And also you can build your own audience of followers without the need to go towards the commercial market.

If you like this article and camera phone are interested in the influence that Rhythm and Blues, African music and Jazz has on shaping popular music, Click the link below website to The Music of Your Heart'
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