Updated: Jan 6
What does this have to do with the medium of music? I'm spelling it out.
Child singers? Child Stars? How Young is Too Young?
As a kid, I loved acting out my favorite shows on TV. I wanted to be a singer, a songwriter, and a movie star. And I was told: "Once you grow up big and strong then you can become one" or "Maybe someday". That day seemed so far away to me. And yet I kept dreaming.
Nothing can be more discouraging as a kid than someone telling you that you cannot accomplish your goals or live your dreams because you are too young. And once you become of age, they start telling you that you need to grow up and make money. Yeah, that's what happened to me.
As children, we dream of going to the moon and reaching for the stars, but as we grow up, someone comes along and tells us that our dreams are unrealistic and that we need to grow up: "You need to wake up! You have to get a job, make money, and pay bills!"
They want us to dream, but only the dreams they think are "realistic".
And out of ignorance, I fell for it. And maybe you are one of those artists that fell for it, too. But as a kid, when I began to see other kids on TV films, star search, beauty pageants and dance performances, I thought about how great it would be to be a kid and do all of that, but how was that going to happen for me? I needed someone to come into my life that would believe in me, that would work with me.
The Story of Josiah
Later, someone began to tell me the story of Josiah, a young boy who became king at the age of 8-years-old. He made a huge impact on the nation of Israel and Judea. The people were astonished when he commanded the takedown of all the idols so the worship of the one true God (the creator) can be re-established. People stopped the common practice of child sacrifice. Peace began to return to the land as people began to put their trust in the creator again, rather than statues made of stone and wood.
When I realized I didn't have to wait until I was 25 years old to do great things, I can do it now, it was also kind of heart-wrenching that someone didn't reach out to me when I was a little kid and told me that before I grew up. Back then, I was told that I had to grow up first.
Josiah made a huge impact at only 8-years-old. As a kid, he made an impact. And I knew that as a kid, I can also make an impact. I just needed to believe in myself, and pursue my goals. But how to do that was the question.
The Old Music Industry vs Today's New Music Industry
When I discuss these things with today's young people, they often scoff at me because: "Why don't you work on your music instead of blaming your lack of success on conspiracy theories? Why don't you put yourself out there on social media? What's wrong with you? You don't have to have someone to hold your hand."
What these young people don't understand is: I was born at a time when social media wasn't a thing. We didn't have Youtube, Vimeo, Rumble, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or Facebook. As a matter of fact, I lived in a world without the internet, but only through the lens of my childhood.
We were very much into the old way of thinking. Back then, if you wanted to be a singer, you would have to be at the right place at the right time, you had to be financially successful, you had to know the right people, you had to get in touch with professional producers or agents, you had to go through record labels and spend 30+ hours in recording studios. Back then, it was the only option. So looking through only the lens of today, they would be right, but not during the days of my youth.
I was in my 20s by the time social media became a thing. I had already lived a very hard life trying to keep a roof over my head, waiting tables, throwing my money away on expenses. I didn't want to live that hard life, and yet I found myself doing it. I began to look back at the days of my youth and wondered "What could have been?" My hopes and dreams began to shatter before me, that is; until I got a hold of my very first music software on my iPhone called Xewton Music Studio.
I was astonished at what I could create with this and I began to compose my very first electronic style songs! Who would have thought this was possible 15 years ago when I was a teenager? Where was this when I was a kid???
Dealing with Past Regrets
By the time I reached adulthood, now the voice of doubt has shifted "You're too old. It's too late."
On the other hand, nothing can be more discouraging as a 20 or 30 something than hearing that you could have accomplished something, but you didn't because you bought into the lie.
In the midst of that, seeing kids much younger than me doing what I've always wanted to do, music. I wish I could just go back in time and talk some sense into my younger self!!! I could very well have seen this before if someone would have been kind enough to tell me!
I could have saw through the lies that were told to me. And I did. But how to go about it was the question that always hung over my head. And when you're above the age of 30, you know you can't get your youth back. And yet there's something still boiling inside of me saying, you got to do it now! But for so long I was down and out because all of my childhood and teen years were behind me, but was it really too late?
Though I have seen many young people doing what I've always dreamt I was also shown something else. I was introduced to a woman by the name of Susan Boyle.
She appeared on America's got talent at the age of 46-years-old. People laughed at first, but they weren't laughing after they heard her sing. She sang so beautifully! I could not believe how amazing she was! And she started her career at age 46!!
I want to encourage someone today. Though it may be true that you don't have to wait until you're 25-years-old to accomplish your goals, you don't have to be young either!! Keep faith in your dreams, and never give up!
The Game Artist Dream
I wanted to sing, but that was not the only thing I wanted to do. I wanted to create video games. And this is a medium that requires a lot of education. Yet I keep hearing:
"You don't need a degree to be successful" "Having a degree behind your name doesn't make you smart", "You're stupid for wanting to spend your money on education". At least that is what happened to me.
I was in that place in my life. I wanted to do great things with my art, characters, music, and stories. I wanted to become a game developer, designer, and artist. I wanted to create some of the most beautiful musical masterpieces the world has ever known! But along the way you will be told that your dreams are just childish and unrealistic.
I was told that games take up your precious time and that there are more important things to do with your life. I was told that my music style was too out of place and that my purpose for doing these things needed to be reevaluated. I was told that putting my animations and showcasing them on the television screen was problematic because of where it would be shown.
People thought I was immature because isn't that what we are conditioned to think when we become adults? That play and fun are childish? That believing in a higher purpose for your life is something that only unsuccessful people do? "It's time to get serious now. It's time to put the toys and play away and get to work!" After all, you need money to be happy, right?
And we need to work to get it. And we all need to be down-to-earth and stop believing that we can reach the stars with our dreams.
The choice is yours
So what are you going to do, listen to the cloud of doubt, or do what is in your heart?
Let me tell you something, the longer you wait to get yourself educated, the more difficult it is going to be down the road! And I am already crying from the wreckage of my own trail.
Waiting tables for the rest of my life is not the dream I envisioned for myself, nor would I recommend it to others. That is not the way I wanted to go. It's just a symbol of a shattered dream in my book, a dream that has never been fulfilled because I chose to buy into the lie! But I refuse to believe that lie! So I'm going back to school, and I'm getting an education that is worthwhile. It's taking some time out of my schedule, but it will be worth it! It will be for all of us! In this, I am actually learning how to make my art skills the very best they can be, and how I can use them to make other's lives better.
It’s not just about making good grades. It's not just about filling your head with knowledge from textbooks and passing an exam. It's about learning strategy, learning new skills, learning what you can do to fulfill a specific dream or goal.
Yet so many of us give up on our dreams, visions, and goals for fear of failure, or because we bought into the lie that we didn't need that knowledge, and with that attitude, we fail to make the change in the world we feel needs to take place. Therefore, we end up taking our ideas and visions with us to the grave!
It may be true that you don't need a degree to be successful. I'm not going to deny that. If your goal is to go to school just to get a degree so you can make more money, then you are doing it for all the wrong reasons.
I'm going to spell it out. Keep moving forward no matter what obstacles may come your way. Don't let anyone discourage you from doing it, because that's what I see a lot in the world! Follow your dreams. But in doing this you have to work for it. You can't just expect it to fall into your lap. You get out of something what you put into it.
If you want to learn something, get educated in it in any way you can. Immerse yourself into it every day. Apply yourself to learn it, read up on it. Study the subject. Get the tools you need for it. But do it because you want to learn it. Don't do it because you just need a degree. That means nothing without the passion of your dream and ambition behind it. It's what you have learned and how you applied it to yourself, and the world around you. That is what is going to truly make the difference.
This world isn't all sunshine and rainbows
I relate to an extremely busy work situation. Life happens when we least expect it. There will always be extra stuff that will try to get into the way of our goals in life. For years, that is how I felt about my goal to become a music artist, and my goal to get an education in the art field. But even if you just spend 5 minutes a day on your dream that will count for something! Keep pushing yourself!
One hard lesson I have learned, and I would like to share it with you.
This world isn't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place, and it will beat you down and keep you there if you let it. Life happens, and it will hit you like nothing else will. But it isn't how hard you get hit. It's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward, and how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done.
And if you know what you're worth, then get what you're worth. This isn't directed toward anyone in particular, but just a lesson I've learned in life: don't make excuses or point fingers at situations saying that you aren't what you want to be because of him, or her, or any given situation. Only a coward does that. That doesn't have to be you nor me. We can be better than that. That's why we should keep faith in our dreams and never give up!
You can't dwell on past disappointments! You've got to keep moving forward. The spirit of doubt will always try to belittle you and tell you: "You're too young, you're too old, you're too skinny, you're too fat. You can't sing. You don't have what it takes. You'll never make it. The bottom line is that you're not good enough...." Lies lies lies. Why did I not see this before? Then, I began to think about a man by the name of Moses. I was astonished when I found out how old he was when he lead the children of Israel out of the wilderness. He was at the ripe old age of 80 he appeared before Pharaoh. He was used in ways I could only dream of in my own life. The point being, he wasn't young when it happened!
A lot of people will criticize you for any life choices you make and you shouldn't be discouraged by them: the good out-way the bad and usually it's the hard-working ones that actually succeed in life. Keep positive and live your dream. I acknowledge there are other paths but they aren't always the most logical and that goes double for anyone who is working in media.