6 ways to become famous

About a month ago, before I started problogging, I was walking in midtown Manhattan when I saw a strange sight: a young woman walking down the street singing at the top of her lungs. She was not particularly striking, but she looked about the same as most of the current pop stars if you took off the celebrity- makeup-artist applied makeup. Her voice was quite good; I’m not a fan of R&B music but she was belting it out well enough that I could appreciate the quality of her voice. I like music, and I listen to a lot of it in a lot of different genres. She wasn’t bad.

On the other hand, she looked crazy as hell. If you aren’t familiar with the modus operandi on New York city streets, here it is: if you see someone doing something crazy you just move on. You don’t stare, you don’t alter your walking path; you treat the guy screaming about the Queen of England’s control of the drug trade like you’d treat a lamppost – you just keep going. To notice is the cardinal sin. But I noticed. Maybe she was crazy, maybe she was just happy and didn’t care and maybe – just maybe – she was taking a chance on walking through Manhattan, a place lousy with movie stars and agents and whatnot (we were near the MTV studios, for example) and putting her voice out there where someone might here it.

I like this idea and choose to believe that’s why she was singing. Maybe that’s the key to being famous – being oblivious to the embarrassment. Was Britney embarrassed putting on that schoolgirl’s uniform for “One More Time?” That’s possibly a bad example… she doesn’t appear to have the embarrassement gene – but that’s one way to get famous: have no shame. Here are six more ways to get famous:

  1. Work hard. A lot of overnight success is the result of years of hard work. George Clooney spent 10 years acting in bad shows like “Facts of Life” and “Roseanne” before hitting the semi-big time as part of an ensemble cast in ER. His first movie role (The Peacemaker) was a bomb. He kept at it and today, of course, he can snore on camera for 90 minutes and have a hit.
  2. Get noticed. Look at Paul Potts. Take a shot by singing opera in a pop music contest. Get out there and do something different.
  3. Go off-road. Robert Kiyosaki said investing in index funds and worrying about debt were the marks of a poor person’s mentality. Whether you agree with him or not, it did get him noticed. Take a position different enough from the norm – and defend it well – and people will notice.
  4. Be successful. Warren Buffet is a clever guy, but let’s face it – the reason we listen to him is not his sparkling wit or his charming personality (both of which he has), but the fact that he is the richest man on the planet. If you succeed in your field, people will notice.
  5. Aim for a good hook up. Whether it’s landing the rock star hubby or the rock star agent, making sure you make the connections may make up for a lot. Johnny Depp got his start in acting while he was a struggling rock musician because his wife, a makeup artist, had a famous client who told Johnny he’d hook him up for acting gigs if the music wasn’t working out for him. That client? Nicholas Cage.
  6. Trust in yourself. If you want people to notice YOU, love yourself. If you project confidence, happiness, intensity and success people will love that. Take Kurt Cobain. He was obviously a guy in a lot of personal pain. Yet at the same time, when you heard him sing you heard a titan; he projected a massive, overwhelming personality through his music that made him a star. It never made up for the struggle in his personal life, true, but it was clear he knew what he was doing musically.

So if you want to be famous, be a little crazy. Sing out loud, introduce yourself to the friend of a friend of a friend who knows a producer, write a book. Not everyone wants (or needs) to be famous, but fame’s just like anything else in this life; if you want it badly enough and work hard enough to get it, you have a good chance at it. Just don’t forget your buddy Steve.

Creative Commons License photo credit: dtcchc

12 Replies to “6 ways to become famous”

  1. I have no itching desire to be famous but I love this post. Good stuff!

    Oh, and btw, maybe Johnny Depp had a hook up but he was bound to be famous. He’s just too HOT not to be! 🙂

  2. As usual, you beat me to a story: Paul Potts … I also posted his first audition for Britain’s Got Talent a few weeks ago.

    Just the look on Simon Cowell’s face, and (you can’t see it very well in the little YouTude video) the tears running down the female judges face, tells it all: ANYBODY can achieve ‘greatness’ (whatever that means).

    Just got back from NY … still an amazing place … lived there for a short while about 20 years ago.

  3. Would wearing a bright red shirt count as No: 7? This was what was advised in a sales book I read some time ago. I think it makes sense. Still what do you think?


  4. Facts of Life a bad show?!? I tend to enjoy your posts but this is ridiculous! How can you say that? What is wrong with you? Did you not grow up watching the show?

    I’m not sure reading this blog is a good idea anymore.

    Is that going off-road enough? It seems for most people who are famous there is usually a little something that’s different about them. (what would Cobain be doing today?)

  5. I really agree with what BB is mentioning in his article, especially #6. If you do not project confidence in your abilities, then noone else will.

    As far as being famous is concerned, it’s funny how most stars of our age turn out to be crazy in the eyes of the media.. But based off this article, these people became stars because they were a little bit insane in my opinion in the first place.. Even my favorite actor Tom Cruise 🙂

  6. @Hunter: True, although I was unable after a little brainstorming how to figure out a way to recommend picking different, more famous parents…

    @FFB: I watched hardcore, cutting edge shows like Blossom – her “very special episodes” were hardcore compared to the Facts of Life….

    I actually should add I have absolutely no desire to be famous, but I do admire the drive of people who do. It’s all linked up to the drive to be successful, which is one of the most admirable of human traits, I think. But do I want to be famous like Lindsay Lohan? Errr, not really. But I do admire someone like Paul Potts who takes a shot (and AJC, I beat you to the punch on that one but hey, you weren’t even blogging yet!)

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  8. When we first came to NYC, everything caught our attention, even riding subway was a TRIP, our heads were swinging left and right, it’s like being entertained live non-stop. Eventually we got used to it and stopped noticing and became like regular New Yorkers: keep moving!

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