I have been listening to a podcast with Alex Baldwin talking to Patti Smith. You can do the same … just follow the link. It’s a great podcast, recorded after she represented Bob Dylan to accept the Nobel Prize and even if you have read ‘Just Kids‘ you will find lots of insights into her life – and self.
Unusually for Baldwin’s podcasts, this was in front of a live audience and at the end of the podcast, the audience got to ask some questions.
The penultimate question came from a lady who is an arts educator and asked Patti what advice she would have for an aspiring artist.
Around about minute 48 Patti answers. It is perfect. It is audio, and I am not going to transcribe it here … but listen to the podcast and if you are short of time – just spin through to minute 48. Meanwhile, a google search reveals that this is not the only time she has offered this advice.
And then just this morning, I read this. Those that follow know that I greatly admire Steven Wilson for anyone of a number of reasons – his sheer output, his variety, his skill, not just as a musician – but as a sound engineer, his leadership …. This article explains how Wilson comes to be who he is – and why he manages to do what he does.
In an industry which is transient at best and built on the current culture and trends, Wilson, now, has quite an enviable position. Creative freedom, a sophisticated and hardcore fan base and the licence to pursue whatever themes and musical vehicle he desires without hindrance or influence from anyone but himself.
“If you are an artist, and not an entertainer, you really only consider what you want to do (and not current trend). It’s a very selfish pursuit and I think it should be. That’s a kind of sacrifice I’ve had to make in order to be pure in my music.”
And that is exactly the sacrifice that Patti was talking about. If you are setting out to make money as an artist, you might (just) succeed – but a real artist sees that as secondary. And successful real artists might just get to make some money as well.