Setting Goals

So- a lifetime goal of mine has been to be a “Rockstar”. Let’s talk about creating goals and figuring out how to accomplish them.
If you don’t know where you’re going how can you expect to get there? If you imagine achieving goals as a destination the wise course of action(s) would be to make as clear a description of your goal(s) as you can and then figure out what actions need to be taken to accomplish that goal.
I admit that the concept of a “Rockstar” has been romanticized in my mind as well as most other people that I have discussed the issue with in my life. I’ll do my best to define what that means for others and what I want it to mean for me. I’m picking my destination so-to-speak.
The word rock alludes to rock n roll music. The word star alludes to celebrity status achieved through performing excellence. (though it may have gone away from the “excellence” part in recent years) So if you put those elements together a Rockstar should be defined as a rock n roll performer who is widely known for their performing excellence. Realistically a Rockstar is defined by their celebrity status and the means of getting there may be (very) subjective in nature. The term Rockstar has also been applied to musical artists who achieve celebrity status in other musical genres as well as being applied to actors, sports figures and the like. Rockstars are often defined by their celebrity, flamboyant personality and/or appearance and material wealth and success.
Some of examples of Rockstars include groups such as The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, KISS, The Rolling Stones, etc. and individuals such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Alice Cooper, etc. Periods and genres have expanded to include everyone from Elvis to Prince to Jay Z to Rob Zombie to Beyonce to Mariah Carey to Eminem to Kid Rock to Sammy Hagar and on and on and on. What elements do these groups and individuals share that have given them the opportunity to be so successful? My first efforts are going to go into not only understanding what is I want to do but how others have achieved Rockstardom. Many have worked longer and harder but few have succeeded. What did they (I) miss?
In giving these matters some thought I have decided to break down real Rockstardom into 4 elements. (fell free to dispute me- I’m just making the best- educated evaluation that I can at the moment based on 30 years of playing music)
1. A Rockstar must create, release and distribute COMPELLING RECORDED MATERIAL. It should probably be well-produced and well-performed and easily available for consumption for as many people as possible. Style and genre may vary but Rock, Pop, Country and Hip Hop/R&B usually record the highest sales in the US.
2. A COMPELLING IMAGE. There has to be some thing(s) about the way you look and act that make people want to look and listen to you over and over again. Once again- styles and approaches will vary but if you look like the guy or girl next door or you just mowed your yard people may not be too interested in you. What’s your hook?
3. A COMPELLING LIVE PERFORMANCE. A performer’s live performance must be EMOTIONALLY COMPELLING TO THEIR AUDIENCE. A tight musical performance along with an exciting stage show from interesting-looking and acting performers is a must.
4. FANS. A Rockstar is nothing without fans. Fans make Rockstars. All the other elements are really just hooks to get people to listen to music, to go to shows, to buy albums, to purchase merchandise, etc. There is arguably a cart-and-horse element here but getting people people interested in what the performer is doing is the number one priority for anyone interested in being highly successful in the music business.
How long does it take to become a Rockstar? 5 years? 10 years? 15 minutes? 5 seconds?
As a performer you are judged by your performance. I usually decide whether I like a song within a few seconds of hearing it. I may decide to switch the station or skip the track by no later than the second chorus of the tune if given the time and opportunity if not sooner.  In being aware of how I judge and pick the music that I listen to I can guess that many other people do the same thing when picking what music they’re choosing to listen to. I would say that I tend to judge appearances and performances with just about the same metric. If I apply this to my own efforts I would say that I need to learn to tailor my efforts to making a great first impression and then doing my best to back it up with consistency. My thoughts are that I need to develop my product(s) to have elements that define quality and/or separate them from other performers immediately and consistently. The way I look, the way I perform and the way I sound should be memorable, indentifiable and hopefully high in quality- standing out as being “special”. It is noted that people often discover or listen to music in one of two settings- in an active way where they are actively seeking music that addresses their current listening want and passive listening in restaurants, in TV shows, movies, radio, etc. where they may listen to material that they are unfamiliar with in its entirety. Either way the artist needs to at the very least be able to stand with other performers in his/her genre to hold or gain a listener’s attention. We need to figure out what we want to do and who that may appeal to and work to tailor what we do to reach our desired audience.
In the next installment I will start applying some of these thoughts to what I do, who I am and what I’m trying to accomplish. Stay tuned and tell your friends!