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Success and Numbers

What do you need to be “successful enough?” –asks Petra Tool

His unique facial expressions, boyish charisma and characteristic movements on stage have inspired me more than once (scroll down to see the full size images).

In Holland Wouter Hamel has had some modest hits.

In Japan and Korea he’s even doing better: he’s a star, performing his cheerful – and sometimes melancholic – jazzy pop songs in front of audiences of thousands of ecstatic fans.

I wanted to know where his heart was in all of this.

How important is Success?

Wouter’s answer to my question came a bit as a surprise: “My success is nothing more than proof to myself and to my parents that I made the right choice to commit myself to music.

“Perhaps I should enjoy my successes more, but success honestly doesn’t mean that much to me. I don’t live a glamorous lifestyle, and I don’t have grand goals like performing at Carnegie Hall.”

“I just want to be successful enough to be able to keep doing what I’m doing right now: creating and performing my own songs with my band, in spite of the fact that the music industry is being hit hard by the sloppy economy.”

His humble attitude is accentuated by the way he reacts when his band members are complaining about work:

“I gently remind them of the fact we are the one in a thousand bands that are lucky enough to be performing on a regular basis.”

Intimate Portrait

Wouter told me he doesn’t consider the Golden Records or Jazz Award he received to be the highlight of his career.

He is actually most proud of his DVD One More Time On The Merry-Go-Round, a live recording of an intimate show, with guest appearances of all the people that have been important to his career.

Included is an insightful video peek into his work and private struggles the month prior to the show.

What’s YOUR Definition of Success?

Everyone has a different view on what it means to be successful, depending on our goals in life and the priorities we have, on what and who is really important to us.

Society urges us to define our success by the numbers: how much money we make, how many fans on Facebook we have, how many albums reach Gold…or Platinum.

But we can be blinded by these numbers, striving for more and more at the expense of our health, our family life, our privacy and our happiness.

It’s no coincidence that some successful people are sometimes miserable.

So what’s your ambition? When do you consider your career to be successful enough?

Can you formulate your own definition of success without using numbers?

Petra Tool is a Dutch artist and artist’s coach. A gifted portrait artist, she explores the personalities of gifted performers, interviewing them about their talent, passions, the problems they face, their insecurities and secrets of their success. You can find more information on her website.

Useful Links
Wouter Hamel’s Website
Official Video
Trailer of the DVD One More Time On The Merry-Go-Round

More articles by Petra Tool:

Songwriting Habits that Work
The Road to Your Vocalist Dreams
Living With Critics
Moving Beyond Covers
Create Audience Magic
Laura Vane’s Shameless Self-Promotion

Cheerful – 65×90 cm – watercolour – Petra Tool
Blue – 70×95 cm – watercolour study – Petra Tool