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How to Become a Pop Star

How to Become a Pop Star
Justin Popstar

    I was 16, good looking, and with a great voice: I could see myself walking on the red carpet, and success was just around the corner. Or so I thought…

    With my little band made up of two people and one very expensive laptop, I decided to find venues that would pay me to entertain their customers: “I’ll make lots of money, and a big shot music producer will surely notice me!”

    Five years later, I had earned next to nothing, and I had been noticed only by a tiny music label whose claim to glory was a half forgotten salsa hit.

    In the meantime, I had found myself a job to pay the bills, I was completing my degree, and I still spent lots of time working on my music projects. If only someone had told me what was about to happen…

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    In the winter of 1999, one of my songs suddenly became famous, and I found myself singing on Top Of The Pops, and playing gigs all over southern Europe.

    Then I discovered that the music business was not for me, but that’s another story…

    With hindsight, there were some strategies which helped me to succeed, and others which could have made my success faster: take a look at the list below and see if you can find useful tips to make your own dream come true.

    • Study right. There’s no escaping it: if you don’t study at all, it’s difficult to sing with an amazing voice, write unique songs, play an instrument like an angel, and dance like a devil. On the other hand, if you study too much, you run the risk of alienating yourself from the mainstream, becoming a virtuoso appreciated only by connoisseursof whatever style you are into.
    • Be optimistic. If you don’t believe in yourself nobody will.
    • Get yourself noticed. Big time producers don’t come to your local pub, but there are talent contests where you can meet them. Don’t think only of TV shows – those are way too competitive – focus on any contest in which there is someone in the jury who actually works in the music business.
    • Be realistic. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Well, in a way it does, but you still have to put a lot of hard work first, so you are ready when your lucky break happens.
    • Know your weaknesses. Let’s face it: the road to stardom isn’t an easy one, and we all have a weak spot. What’s yours?

      Age: If you are older than 30, you might have a hard time finding people willing to invest in your future as a pop star.

      Looks: We live in a beauty-obsessed society, if you don’t look good, music producers might think you won’t be able to attract a very large fan base.

      Voice : Let’s face it, there are thousands out there singing with a great voice, so how good is yours?

      Dance: You don’t have to be a ballerina, but an ability to move well on stage is important.

      Stage presence: Do you bring the house down when you are on stage, or do you simply stand there and sing?

      Songwriting: Ok, you have a great voice, but the reality is that if you are not writing your own songs – and great ones, too – you will be unprepared to face the competition of a thousand all-singing-all-dancing young talents.

      Style: Have you developed your own style in singing, song-writing, stage presence, and so forth, or are you merely copying your favorite singer?

    • Turn your weaknesses into strengths. Be prepared to”sell” your weak spots as part of what makes you unique. Half-serious examples below…

      Age: You are older than 30, and that’s just perfect because the songs you write talk about your many fascinating experiences, and are targeted toward an adult crowd.

      Looks: Pop stars all look the same. Your eccentric image will draw in millions.

      Voice: Traditionally-beautiful voices are a thing of the past, your voice has the power to express genuine emotions.

      Dance: If you don’t dance that well, staying almost still is an interesting option. In fact, moving too much isn’t cool.

      Stage presence: So you don’t attack the stage like a tiger… Well, you have a timid image which will appeal to man/woman wanting to protect you.

      Songwriting: You don’t write your own songs, so you can help a songwriter in making his work very popular.

      Style: [Let’s say your style is similar to Band X’s] If band X has made it, why shouldn’t you? Furthermore, you are taking Band X’s essence, making it yours, and taking it to a whole new place.

    • Networking, Networking, Networking. You can’t make it on your own. You’ll need help with your songwriting, you’ll need help turning a good song into an amazing demo, you’ll need help finding the right talent contest to participate in. You’ll need help finding venues to sing live, you’ll need help dealing with people trying to take advantage of you, and you’ll need help to improve your stage presence. So who’s gonna give you all of this help? Friends.

      Genuine friends are better, since they make life worth living and they can help a lot in time of trouble. But even superficial acquaintances can give you precious information. So don’t ever stop making new friends and stay in touch with your old ones.

      My biggest mistake as a teenager was thinking that networking is not important: “When I write an amazing song, and I sing it with a superb voice, then I will become famous and everyone will want to help me anyway.” The trouble is that to approach this ideal “near-perfection,” you’ll need lots of help from different people!

    • Don’t give up. It often takes a long time to get amazing results. Be prepared to wait for several years.
    • Be open to criticism, but don’t let anybody change you. Maybe you weren’t born a pop genius, but if you listen to the right advice you’ll soon become one. Protect yourself from mean criticism: it’s not worth your time. On the other hand, be prepared to listen when others give you constructive advice: it might hurt, but it is always worth it. Just remember: don’t ever let anybody change you.

    Disclaimer: Fame and Fortune will not radically increase the amount of happiness you experience in your daily life: look at Britney Spears! If you want to become lastingly happier, look somewhere else, too.

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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