1. Be original. While many people have talent, the ones that I have found to stand out are the ones that present what they do in a unique way that puts their personal stamp on it. This ranges from musical acts that I admire to companies. Also, being original does not always mean being the rebel or nonconformist. If you are, that’s good; if not, accept your nature. Not everyone will light a guitar on fire or have an extravagant stage show. Sometimes you can sing a simple tune in that oh-so-special way that you do and be loved for it.
2. Steal like an artist. Obviously, don’t plagiarize or seriously take other people’s ideas. That’s just wrong and really annoying, and could lead to a lawsuit. However, it is okay to be inspired by others’ ideas to create derivative works of your own. If you see an idea that you could make better, do it. Don’t be afraid to take an idea and improve upon it. Many inventions, such as the light bulb, are improvements on previous ideas. And yes, in my book, inventors count as rock stars.
3. Stay the course. I think that sometimes at first you might come off as crazy for having grand ambitions especially if all you have at first is a vision (so maybe don’t tell anyone at first). Or sometimes it can be reversed, where you don’t have a grand vision, just a small goal in mind. I’ve read quite a few biographies on musicians, singers, and groups, and one thing that many of them seem to have in common is that they start off in less than glamorous conditions. Whether working at a donut shop in between gigs or initially playing or performing for small local audiences, those who have found success find it after many years of staying the course.
4. Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. Can you think of an artist that has somehow remained relevant after decades and decades, deftly evolving with the times? Maybe the artist will change his or her look or tweak their sound, but they will still have the same voice. They will still have what defines them, but are not afraid to reinvent themselves. Artists are in the business of staying relevant, and so are companies. And you shouldn’t be afraid to reinvent yourself or your company relative to the times you are in, while still staying true to what makes you unique.
5. Know the business side of things. Sadly enough, there are many horror stories about artists being taken advantage of by record companies and not being fairly compensated for their work and efforts. Even with music streaming services today, the battle still rages on. However, many artists become savvy after bad experiences, and I would imagine that many artists today know the importance of keeping their finances in check. It is something that can't be stressed enough--know the business side of things.
So that’s it. C’est ça. Rock stars are cool people, and I think that we can all learn a little somethin' from them. A little wisdom on The Way of the Rock Star, in my opinion, the only way “to be”.