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:
- 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.
- Get noticed. Look at Paul Potts. Take a shot by singing opera in a pop music contest. Get out there and do something different.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.