About 5 years ago some local artists I met in Los Angeles advised me to lie about my age once I turned 25.
They said that no new artist should be older than 27. Um… Not the most empowering thing to be told, right?
The obsession with age is magnified in industries like sports and music. It’s pretty common that when I search to read the bios for my favorite artists, their ages are one of the very first things to be listed.
Perhaps it’s a carnal thing, where humans need to be able to judge someone based off how many years a person has been living on the planet. Perhaps it’s a financial thing, where record companies feel more excited investing in a young artist to gain more years of making profit.
Whatever the reasons are doesn’t quite matter as much as the importance to remember that fearing getting older will not get anyone anywhere. In fact, as I’m graduating through the levels of existence, I am more and more delighted at all the amazing things that come with being level 29. What is level 29, you ask? I’ve decided that calling ourselves x years old is a bit dry. Wouldn’t it be more fun to say we’re level 29? Level 30? Like each year is a victory of grabbing yet another year by the horns?
Each year, I gain more insight into who I am, what I want as an artist, and how my strengths and weaknesses can be utilized to guide me towards my dreams. I’ve had more time to deconstruct my childhood pains and hang-ups so I can move forward, and expand as a person.
In fact, I’ve been walking on cloud 9 as a woman in her late 20’s. I’m about to turn the big 3-0, and I feel totally alive. Since level 25 I’ve been asking myself deeper questions: Am I selfish? Am I giving? Am I being honest with my music? Why does it feel like a chore to talk to some of my colleagues? Am I surrounding myself with the right people? Why isn’t my last record hitting with the fans as much as I’d want it to? Is my ego getting in my way?
At level 29, I give WAY less of a hoot as to what other people think. I’m no longer trying to fit into literal and figurative outfits to please others, while making myself miserable. I wear whatever literal and figurative outfits I please, and allow for my truth to attract the right people into my life. What’s the use in trying to be something I’m not, to please people who won’t really have my best interests at heart anyways? “Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.”
Once I cared less about what other people’s standards were, I started attracting genuine professional relationships and collaborative opportunities that have nurtured me beyond my imagination.
In fact I just signed a production deal with a trail blazing female producer. Not only does she see me for who I am and what I can offer the musical conversation, we’ve also written some of my most honest and cathartic material. I find myself finally being able to write lyrics that come from the deepest caves of my soul, and writing music with people that are in the same zone as me.
As a songwriter that meets all different types of people, from 15 year old songwriters to 50+ year old producers, I am delighted to say that I’ve found a crack in a societal standard of age: Older is not worse. Older just means more time on this amazing planet, and more experiences to help guide us towards where we want to go. Younger is not dumber, either. I’ve met some old souls in this line of work. Regardless of age, though, I want to hear a good song. That’s what it comes down to.
So, if you doubt yourself as that dreamer inside of you is craving to pursue this crazy music industry, don’t worry about the age. In fact, don’t worry at all. Get excited about “leveling up”.
Just have the balls and unwavering confidence, and people will follow. Confidence is attractive and magnetic. It’s the end all be all for an entertainer. To inspire you, here are some notable people who break the “young is better” stereotype:
Lucille Ball was 38 when “I Love Lucy” premiered.
Rachel Platten, the woman who sings “Fight Song”, debuted her single at 34.
Marvel Comics scion Stan Lee wrote his first comic book at age 43.
Leonard Cohen released his debut album at 33, but it wasn’t until age 50 when he wrote “Hallelujah”.
Diana Nyad was 64 when she was the first to swim from Cuba to Florida without the help of a shark cage.
Bill Withers released his debut album at age 32. Before that he was in the US Navy and worked on a factory assembly line.
Matt Nathanson toured and released 7 albums before he got a top 40 hit, “Come on Get Higher” at 35.
Sheryl Crow released her debut album at 31. During her 20’s she was a backup vocalist for Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.
Peaches released her debut album as peaches at 32.
LCD Soundsystem, a hero for late bloomers, age 37.
Andrea Bocelli first record contract at 35.
Alan Rickman who played Snape in Harry Potter didn’t get his first film role till he was 46.
Col. Harland Sanders used his first social security check to launch the KFC franchise when he was 65.
Emmy award winning actress Kathryn Joosten moved to Hollywood at age 56 to become an actress.