Struggling Musicians.

The problem with struggling musicians is that they complain about their toils and troubles, but when a gift horse stares them straight in the mouth, or they are actually fortunate enough to be offered a gig with all the trimmings, they suddenly become legends in their own lunchtime and think they no longer need to try to improve their craft as the ride on that gravy train will continue forever with everyone around them only having to be dazzled by bullshit.

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Around five years ago, a very average 28-year-old singer-songwriter from the UK who could barely play guitar “made it” as far as performing at a Hennessy Artistry show in Taiwan was concerned, gained airplay through the cover of a Mandarin hit in English, sang a duet onstage with Mando muppet Jolin Tsai and suddenly saw himself as “The new Robbie Williams”.

Yes, from a part-time gardener and struggling musician in London to mild success in Taiwan to being the “new Robbie Williams” when even the real Robbie William’s career was on a downward spiral made enormous sense.

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After nothing much happening for him in Taiwan as quickly as he thought his talent deserved, he left in a huff to find “real fame and fortune” back in the UK, which seems to have stalled with twitter updates on his upcoming gigs.

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On the subject of twitter, just the other day, a completely unknown 18-year-old bass guitarist who was offered a platform to perform in front of thousands, turned her back on the offer the night before the gig. Why? She didn’t like a tweet describing her as a “rock chick”. Oh, puhleeeze.

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Darling, wake up and smell the dim sums and realise that when a total unknown with no direction of home like a Rolling Stone, grasp- with both hands- what’s offered and thank the good Lord- or even Lorde- before thinking the music world is awaiting your arrival.

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The more obscure musicians are and who taste only the outer crust of a very small success pie, the more stuffed too many become with egos getting way outta whack way too quickly.

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All those initial promises of commitment disappear, lethargy sets in, the music quickly sounds tired as there’s nothing new to it, and familiarity breeds contempt before they are finally banished from whence they came- with where from they came now making them even more obscure as they’re three years older and against a younger generation of far more hungry musicians willing to work harder for the money and carrots dangled in front of them.

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What these artists who have sabotaged their careers fail to understand- and there are those who are extremely appreciative of being offered long-time opportunities without having to resort to the ghastly sounding Jennifer Lopez decide if a singer is good or bad- is that one’s audience cannot grow with you if there’s, well, no audience. And returning to the arms of Kickstarter one more time to have fans pay for- and purchase- another new record doesn’t work anymore. Fans money can be better spent on themselves with a real return on their investment. What was that old Pete Townshend track about not being fooled again?

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The more one comes across these musicians- struggling musicians- and offer them paying gigs, the chance to travel, the opportunities to meet those who can change their destiny, the more too many of them disappoint.

Perhaps it’s the state of a world in a hurry where social media has made those fifteen minutes of fame last only a nanu second?

Perhaps it’s just laziness and needing to be surrounded by enablers when insecurity sets in?

Perhaps it’s the Fat Elvis Syndrome without having tasted the Graceland cheeseburger success of Elvis?

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Gone are those days when all those iconic bands and artists toured for years honing their skills and paying their dues before being discovered, then spent time improving their music, taking this music further and creating even social change.

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Meet some of the legends of music and what you see are very real people who have experienced life- the ups, downs and sideways. It’s been a long and strange trip filled with adventures, misadventures, and inhaling and exhaling all of life’s lessons.

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To those musicians who have only themselves to blame for sabotaging their careers, this advice: The God Guy helps those who help themselves.

One can only lead a horse to water and if they still don’t know what to do once they get there, well, you cut your losses, put it down to experience and turn a deaf ear to sob stories, fake spurts of “new-found energy” and promises that no longer ring true- and never did.

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In poker, we call it, clutching at straws where the experienced player just hopes to hell they fold with at least some modicum of dignity intact. But this rarely happens.

That dignity probably never existed and what’s left are simpering, whimpering fools begging for one more chance.

Once bitten, twice shy and, like finding out a lover has been unfaithful, once the trust is gone, there’s nothing there other than looking out for Number One and finding new options.

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Hans Ebert
Chairman and CEO
We-Enhance Inc and Fast Track Global Ltd
www.fasttrack.hk