Creating great music is extremely powerful giving musicians a lot of influence over other peoples’ lives.
“With great power comes great responsibility,” is a quote attributed to the character, Ben Parker, in the Spiderman series. Parker was Spiderman’s Uncle Ben. No doubt the super hero had amazing influence, yet Uncle Ben needed to teach the hero to be humble, responsible and remain grounded in reality.
For the most part we view great music not as an influence, but something that sets the artist apart from the rest. The attitude has cool and elite written all over it. Extensive privilege is handed over to those who create influential music because we treat successful musicians differently than their contemporaries. How uncool is that?
Being No. 1 on the radio charts is a defined form of leadership.
Being No. 1 on the Billboard sales charts for extended periods of time is brand leadership.
Winning a Grammy Award, or any other music award defines a leader.
While it is very cool to attain this level of leadership, the responsibility of the leaders is too often left parked outside the very door before they hear the news. How uncool is that?
With great power comes great responsibility. As you move through your life toward a rewarding career, hold doors open for people when you’re at the grocery store. Learn the name of every person who works in your building. Smile at strangers on the street. Allow those one or two cars entrance onto the freeway no matter how late you are. Buy an associate lunch or dinner when you can see they have too much on their mind.
Absolutely no one is at the top of their game every second of the day. Fill in the gaps when others might let things fall through the cracks. Great leaders make others feel really good about who they are rather than the other way around.
There isn’t enough room in the world for stingy, selfish, narcissistic people. The music community at large is filled with ego and entitlement — the very antithesis of what music represents.
If you can accept the rewards of being a leader at the top of your game in music, you should also accept the responsibility of being a leader before you arrive.