Sometimes I wish I did more when I was a younger musician. And now I’m almost 30 and haven’t yet found the “success” I’m going after.
In hindsight, it’s so easy to see how I could have done more or done better.
I put out my first release when I was 19 years old, and I wonder what I’ve been doing all this time. But I’m learning that age doesn’t matter in the music industry.
There’s a lot of pressure to “make it” as a young artist (sidenote: you define what “making it” looks like for you). With the Justin Biebers and the Shawn Mendeses of the world, we musicians can feel that if we haven’t found our success by age 21, we’re through.
But let me point out some big-named musicians who found success later in life…
Leonard Cohen released his first album in 1967 when he was 33 years old. On that album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, was his hugely successful “Hallelujah.” In 2010, when he was 76 years old, he won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bill Withers released his debut album, Just As I Am, in 1971 when he was 33 years old. It included “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Better Off Dead,” and “Hope She’ll Be Happier.”
Sheryl Crow, after teaching for several years and playing in bands in her spare time, recorded her first album when she was 29 years old, but then shelved it because it sound too “slick.” Then she started playing with the band The Tuesday Music Club in the early 90’s. On their album Tuesday Night Music Club was the hit “All I Wanna Do.” And then she didn’t release her solo album until her mid-30’s.
There are so many other musicians who have found success later in life, including Andrea Bocelli, 2 Chainz, and Michael Fitzpatrick of Fitz and the Tantrums.
I’m saying this to myself too: don’t let your age scare you out of doing what you love, whether you’re still in high school, approaching retirement, or somewhere in between.
Just do what Sheryl does: