As a very young man, Richard Marx was told by a mentoring producer that he shouldn’t sing. He told Marx that his voice was weak and nothing special and that he should stick to songwriting and maybe become a producer. It almost crushed him. Almost.

Remain humble, hard-working, and you.

Guard your art, and be prepared to resurrect it a thousand times. Dream-killers will stop you dead in your tracks, if you let them. Dare to become what God has dreamed you to be.

What is your art? It’s you. It’s your soul. It’s your insides..,the guts of who you are and the glory of your imagination on display.

Accordingly, your identity and your art are intertwined,

or —believe me— they long to be.

When Jimi Hendrix died, he had been busy working behind the scenes to correct his public image. He was bothered by the bad guy image that had been attributed to him and he wanted people to see and know the gentler, calmer, artsy-type personality that he felt was a more true reflection of himself. Ultimately, he died trying to be real; to purely own and convey his true identity.

The lesson here is, be you. Don’t feel like you always have to play a part. If you have to behave a certain way to fit in with a particular group of people, maybe you should stop trying so hard to fit in…with them or any other group. I, myself, am living this out right now. I’ve often felt like I didn’t really fit in. I’ve lived with the burden of trying to be normal and accepted. Today, I’m closer than I’ve ever been before at not caring too much about other’s opinions. I’m more comfortable these days with just being me, and I’m not pretending to be anything different than that. Jimi Hendrix reached this point, and I hope (if necessary) you do too.

I usually use the word artist in a generic way. When I say artist, I mean musician, singer, songwriter, painter, poet, or someone creative like that.

Being an artist means you aren’t normal. So… stop trying to be normal. Or, stop trying to be an artist. Trying to be both is

frustrating and exhausting.

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