The art of famousness

In a recent post, I wrote, “Thank God I’m not famous.”

“What kind of crazy thing is that for an artist to say?”

To answer that question, I’d have to go back to the year 2005 when I was talking to a musician friend and I heard a certain sentence coming out of my mouth that has stayed in my head these last 5 years.

The sentence went like this:

“I don’t want to spend the rest of my life trying to get people to pay attention to me.”

Unfortunately, perhaps for my career, my sentiments have not changed in the last 5 years.

This constant quest for attention, to me, seems to be a fairly horrible way to live.

Perhaps this is why I just quietly go about my projects, spend 0 cents on promoting this website and mostly sing when asked.

The issue of fame only came back up recently.

I was browsing some web portal last week and saw the following headline.

Celebrity X doesn’t brush her teeth.

This was all I needed to remind me why not being famous is so wonderful.

This is the kind of stuff you (or your publicist) has to do to maintain the fame these days.

(Hopefully this was neither party, and just someone trying to get clicks at Celebrity X’s expense. For that very reason I have left out the name of the celebrity.)

But it made me wonder about the occasional intentional scandalous headline.

I briefly toyed with putting some outlandish claims on this website just to see what would happen.

Here they are:

Carol believes that babies should not be fed.

Carol believes that people who listen to Techno music should be denied Health Care and also air.

Carol firmly believes that preschoolers should be given mortgages if they can understand the Real Estate paperwork.

I toyed with it but my heart just wasn’t in it.

There is another downside to the fame thing. There is that, “If someone gives you your fame, then someone can take it away” portion of the fame. This is the part where you go through the following fame cycle.

1) Audition like mad.

2) Do whatever is necessary to get yourself the record deal, movie deal, book deal/part on a hit show.

3) Now you’ve arrived.

4) Now you’re coasting.

5) Do the work that you are given to do. Do the work that will sell.

6) The work is starting to dry up a little bit as a new crop of “The hottest thing” springs up.

7) The work has indeed dried up.

8) Wait for a phone call from Dancing With The Stars.

9) Oh look! You got the world to pay attention to you again.

10) Happy again

The most disturbing part of the fame cycle is the waiting and the permission.

There you sit waiting for some other much more powerful person to give you permission to express the creativity, the talent or whatever it is you’ve got inside you.

The permission part is the part that I could never wrap my mind around and still can not wrap my mind around.

It seems I have to create a new artist paradigm that would work for Carol. If someone else already created it and I don’t know about it, Congratulations. Let me know how it is working out.

The new artist paradigm looks like this:

1) The artist is born with some little creative bubble or gift inside them.  The bubble can be music, theater, film, art or many of the different ways people express themselves artistically.

2) The artist is overcome with an overwhelming urge to share this gift/bubble welling up inside them with others.

3) Even though the gift/ talent or whatever appears to be one-sided, in fact it is not. It is three sided. It has three parts built into it that were there at its inception but are not always visible right away.

In some cases, this could be really simple and really local.

Example 1:

The gift – Singing

The gift’s purpose – Helping others to worship God

The gift’s target audience – My local church

Example 2:

The gift – Singing in a really comforting and healing way

The gift’s purpose – Bringing comfort

The gift’s target audience – Soldiers away from home and War Vets

The let me get a big record deal/movie deal/book deal/hit show and be satisfied with nothing but making the whole planet earth my target audience is just a little warped in my book.

Then, when the record/book/movie/book deal falls through, claw my way back to the top with every last breath using whatever reality show available to me at the time. Do this until the world is paying attention to me again. This just seems a little……….unpeaceful.

Oh dear, I don’t think unpeaceful is a word. I feel bad enough for using the word famousness even though famousness really is a word. Unpeaceful. That’s the only word I can think of to describe the usual model artists use for sharing their creativity with the world.

I just checked. Unpeaceful really is a word. 

But enough about unpeaceful.  What I am looking for here is peace.  What would give me peace as an artist, what would be a more peaceful way of working my way through the world?

The side of me that believes in a God of peace and a God of order prefers to believe that the same God that gave you the gift also thought way ahead to the recipients.  It would make more sense if your target audience is also part of the gift, not something that you have to struggle for or beg for.

You could perhaps save yourself a lot of time by asking God, “What do I have to offer and Who am I here to serve?”

My mind just wandered back to the most peaceful night of my singing career.

A family of 4 invited me over for New Years. Near Midnight, they said, “Carol, would you sing?” I said OK and I began to sing Love Changes Everything from the musical Aspects of Love. As I looked around the room, I noticed that some of them had closed their eyes while I was singing and seemed to be listening to the lyrics really intently.

I was singing to 4 adults, but it felt like I was singing a lullaby the way they received it.

After I finished, I could tell that they had found the singing really comforting.

4 people sitting in a living room. No tour. No promoter. No press release.

Famousness must be great; world domination even better, but just between you and me, I’ve never felt so satisfied in my life.

This article was originally published on March 15th, 2010.

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