Are You Too Old to Make It?

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Originally posted on Echoes

by Scott James of the Independent Rockstar Blog

Most musicians I know hold a dream to someday ‘make it’ in the music business. To play in front of huge crowds and live a lifestyle that they can only imagine. Many of us believe that we’ll someday get there. Unfortunately most of us find ourselves growing older with an ever increasing fear that we’re missing the boat.

We’re conditioned to believe that if we’re going to make it then we have to do it at a young age. I had already started to have this feeling when I was in my early 20′s. I felt like I was slacking because I hadn’t ‘made it’ yet.

So how old is too old? Well, I think what we need to look at is the fundamental equation the whole business boils down to. It’s a value exchange between the audience and the artist. The audience pays money for the value they get from the artist. So ask yourself: how old would a performer have to be before you stopped receiving value from them? Would you not pay for a great artist who was 65 years old? I would. One of the best performances I’ve ever seen was a rock and roll band of men who were all in their 80′s!

So if people are willing to pay for good music then what’s standing in your way?

I saw an artist last night who didn’t mention her name once. There were no visual cues to let me know who she was. She never mentioned anything about CDs or merch for sale. No website. No mailing list. Nothing. When the show was over, she walked off the stage and into the dressing room.

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It’s easy to look at her and see what she did wrong. What’s more difficult to see is that to one degree or another, most of us are making similar mistakes. A lot of musicians fall into the trap of thinking that either they’re going to be ‘discovered’ or nothing is going to happen at all, so there’s no real need or urgency to actually do the right things to grow an audience and a career.

So I urge you, instead of having your head in the imaginary future all the time, to take an honest look at where you are now. You have positive things going for you right now. It’s time you capitalize on those things and make the most of what you’ve got in front of you. Success is created in the present, not the future. You may never get to play Wembley Stadium or sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl, but you can absolutely have more and more fans coming to your shows. You can have a room full of people screaming your name. It may not be a 60,000 seat venue, but believe me, it will feel good.

What you need to do is let go of the belief that someday someone is going to make it easy for you and instead take 100% responsibility for your career. Have CDs and merch for sale and take responsibility for learning how to sell them. Have a mailing list and learn how to get people on it and how to use it. Take responsibility for letting people know who you are and how they can stay connected to you. Good things will happen in the real world when you step up to the plate, and believe me it will feel even better than when they happen in your imagination, no matter how old you are.

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  • I'm turning 30 on Friday, and I spent too large of a part of my 20's doing exactly what you just warned against. Last Friday, I released my very first EP. Thanks for posting this, you just reinforced all my efforts.

  • BT

    Thanks for writing this.

    I'm forty eight and started getting into writing and recording my own music about four years ago. I always thought it was a "young mans game" and there's no way in hell I was going to get anywhere.

    This sheds a whole new light on it all.

  • Wendi Jackson

    Thank you Scott…that was really well written….
    I have been performing for the past 20 plus years…(53 now)
    (I started pro when in my early 30's) I entered a Big Country Quest in Aussie and was told I was "Too Old" at 34….that was a real putdown….
    I still do shows…Solo…Duo and Spot gigs….not as many as I like…
    (Some Agents dont like hiring us "oldies") I gig Nursing Homes thu the week as well..
    I still love what I do…and it is my living….

  • Great article. Idealism can be a virtue, but almost never results in a successful music career. As much as we wish otherwise, it's a business, with consumers (fans) seeking the benefits (good feelings, etc.) of products (recordings, shows).

    So if you're striving for bigger audiences, you need to embrace this fact and make a concerted effort to market yourself.

  • Great article, left my 20s behind a couple of years ago but I'm trying now harder than ever.

  • This is a great article. I work with many artists over 30 who have learned that it is all about the music and the fans and not the glitz and glamour.

  • Gary Dupuis

    I am coming up on 38 here next month but you know what? I am just hitting my stride and my band is just starting to make waves. I have no intention of giving up on my dreams just because of age.

  • Thx for this great article! This is exactly what I am doing now for the last three years. I have just released my second CD completly DIY. It's possible, especially if you step back from comparing artist success with 'being part of the mainstream musinc business'.

    I have started a blog on to give insights into producing CDs DIY. Feel free to join.

    Katsy Redstar

  • Does the definition of "making it" involve standing in front of a crowd? My music is elaborate, and I recorded it all myself. I can play against a backing track, I guess, but if I were the audience I wouldn't like that.

    So is it possible to make it just on the virtues of recorded music?

  • charlie strater

    Its great to be optimistic, but its important to be realistic. Anyone who thinks a 40 year old has as much chance as a 20 year old to get a big break is sadly mistaken.

  • Amen to this!!

  • I saw Leonard Cohen last year. One of the best concerts I've seen in my life. He's 75 and playing 3 hour shows.

  • Thanks for a great article! I didn't put out my first CD til I was 30, playing gigs & recording while working a full time job in the computer industry. But I was able to quit my day job 5 years ago, and am getting ready to release my 3rd CD. It's been a great ride! And I'm just getting started. Thanks for the reminder that a few grey hairs never stopped anybody who was truly passionate about what they do. 🙂 🙂

  • So glad you wrote this. So many of us artist start to get disillusioned after a certain age but music is for all. No matter what ur age is. Peace.

  • Danny Dickerson

    Facing reality is the biggest challenge. Thinking that at 56 I will be the next big thing in country or American roots music probably isn't realistic. Knowing that my songs (which can be sampled by googling "Wood Clay and Spirit") can stand the test of trial by fire is another thing altogether. As a young man, I saw shows by Mississippi Fred McDowell and Muddy Waters when they were so old they could barely move. As a middle age touring musician, I played one of Bo Diddley's last shows when he was healthy, and probably played Tennessee Ernie Ford's last performance with him. So, now, I realize I'll never have the luxury of being an elder statesmen of rock and roll like Eric Clapton or Pete Townsend. But I would be comfortable singing my songs in a circle with any successful living person, and playing an audience of any size. (Just did the first show in many years on a big stage with a big system, a month or so ago). Rather like the movie "Papillon", I no longer have the drive of Steve McQueen, still trying to escape from the prison colony. I'm more like Dustin Hoffman, with my little house and little garden, perfectly content under the blue sky and sunshine, with no desire to get off the island. Content to work my day job and accept the critical acclaim that comes every once in awhile when I do get a chance to perform in public.

  • Great article! You're only too old if you think you are, it's Rock n Roll so keep acting young and have a good time. If you truly believe in what you are doing you'll work hard and only good things can happen.

  • OMG! I was just thinking about this being I am now the over 40 crowd. I am glad to that you posted this as words of encouragment. I may not draw the young whippershappers to my shows, but I do get the baby boomers. Thanks for the post!

  • Dennis Soper

    How old was Mississippi John Hurt when he "made it?"

  • AM

    I second BT. I also thought that it's a game of young people but no more.
    I don't care about it anymore, I just want to make and play music.

  • Vida

    Good take. As in anything in life, hard work, integrity, honesty, passion and love result in good things. You will be proud of all your accomplishments and have a body of work to be proud of at the end of the day. People will notice. Yeah, getting old sucks and as in any biz folks are drawn to the young….try getting a new job at 55(!). But try telling Doc Watson he's too old to pick anymore. I think the bigger point is run your music career as a business as well an artistic venture. They are both.

  • charlie strater

    I should clarify my last statement: anyone who thinks a 40 year old has as much chance as a 20 year old at getting signed to an Artist deal is sadly mistaken.

  • More relevant that the age question is the definition of someone "Making it."

    If your definition of "making it" is being seen lip-syncing to your own over-produced song on a tampon commercial, that's one thing. I have always celebrated "Making It" as doing what I want when I want while keeping the bills paid. 15 years in: so far, so good.

    Rob Michael
    Atmos Trio

  • Robert

    It's also important to define what "success" means to you or your group. To my group, it is about writing new material, recording it ourselves, and then reproducing it faithfully live. Always feel that there is more that we can (and will do). This is what keeps up going. Our audience ranges from teen to AARP. If you put your very best into what you do, success is easy.

  • A miracle of an article – thanks SO much Scott! Not just for the sentiment but very well-written! Best, always, Carrie

  • AS

    I am forty-eight and got back into the busness about six years ago. I am in Christian music and have discovered a surprising amount of age descrimination.

    I was prevented from auditioning for Gospel Dream (the equivalent to American Idol) due to a forty year age limit, and have been told by several high level A&R directors that I was too old to be considered as an viable investment. However, I continue to perform and write for an audience of one…

  • Leaf Ericcson

    I'm 49 and play guitar, write and record alt-rock/punk/new wave music! The thing about it is that people my age were THERE when all the cool new wave and punk was actually happening, and we're STILL rocking! Young people do not have a monopoly on it. In fact most music made by young people is a derivative of a derivative! Success? Who cares! Playing live? Don't give a rat's heinie! Just do your own thing, for yourself, not fame or "making it". Believe me, if you are making music, you are making it!!! The Blisscats

  • I'm a 35-yr-old singer-songwriter, and your article called me out! I get caught up worrying too much about the "too old" factor. I tend to forget that many of my favorite artists are in their 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's and up. Good music and lyric-writing benefit from a certain depth and wisdom, and we usually don't find that till we've lived a little anyway. Many thanks for such a great article.

  • bobbee

    Great article and oh so relevant in today's market. No one is going to make it happen for you, but you. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't market yourselves, no one will see you.

  • I feel very fortunate to be able to make a full time living playing music that I love live and making CDs exactly the way I want.
    Relying on someone in the "biz" to discover you and take care of you after you've been "signed" is kind of like playing the lottery once a year and expecting to make it big. Doing things this way makes the term "Music Business" an even bigger oxymoron than "Military Intelligence".
    I am 55 and have found that my age doesn't effect anything or anybody in my career. I do suppose that were I to want to be in a "boy band" that my not being a boy might be a problem…..but, then again, I'm truely not interested in having my picture on the cover of Tiger Beat…..

  • Vince Scott

    I played in bands from the time I was 15 until 27 and quit play because my responsibilities (wife and kids) became greater than my ability to pursue my dream. I also had given in to the fact I was "too old" anyway. I turned 51 this year and realized that music is and has always been a big part of my life's experience…so I joined a original rock band recently and will be playing my second club gig this month. I gave up because of age…why? Anyway…I still feel 25!

  • Thanks, Scott.

    For all those hesitant wannabees, here's the news: I started piano when I was 6, got married too early, had 6 kids, finished raising them by myself working as a real estate broker. So little practice or performing until 8 years ago. I am now studying with a Juilliard Masters graduate, playing little gigs in the Bay Area, played Carnegie Hall in 2009 and doing it in 2011. I'm 75. Keep goin', you guys!

  • OK. I got you all beat. I'm 63. Should be discovered any minute. That'll give me a good 20 years of Sex, Drugs and Rock And Roll. Ok, maybe not as much sex. And I'm off all drugs (better to stay alive longer). And my music is not really Rock, but hey…

    Never mind.

  • anechoic

    'Would you not pay for a great artist who was 65 years old? I would.'

    your grammar here makes it sound like you would NOT pay
    since you are using 'not pay' as a single action/verb
    you might want to correct this…

  • Sharon Newport

    This on of the greatest things that I heard since I started playing and singing. That was 45 years ago. I am a blues singer and guitarist. I have said those very words myself about being to old. But now at 58 years old I have CDs out, in 2009 i did a festival in Spain, in 2009 I found myself in Peterborough, England for 2 concerts, and in May of 2010, I did 13 shows on a mini-tour in the UK. I also held a No. 1 spot on Cashbox with "Crazy About A Mercury" for 2 weeks and I am still on their top 40 list. Been on the chart for 28 weeks. I still have to pinch myself to see if this is real. Seems like in the last 5-6 years things have been opening up for me. I still can't believe this at this age!!!!! So I guess it is true that It is what the people like.

    Sharon (SharBaby) Newport

  • Great positive article. You're never too old to enjoy performing, writing and producing music. But most importantly, you're never too old for others to enjoy your music as well. I will even have a band in the old folks home when they put me out to pasture. Maybe there are no stadiums in your future, but that's true for 99.9 % of the musicians out there!

  • I'm 41 and just released my first all original cd in June. My band, Camby Road, is playing at Cadillac Ranch in Nashville on Friday. You are never too old to follow your dreams. Thanks Scott for letting me know I am on the right track. I wasn't ready in my 20's, but I am now. Check out our Podcast at episoide #76.

  • Ten years ago, I started performing and also wrote my first song at age 50. I just released my third album. We have a good following of "grey-haired groupies", and we play often. There are a lot of places to play that aren't on the music scene radar.. The trick is knowing your audience and knowing what venues work for your music *and* fans.

    I didn't expect to be doing this at this part of my life. But it's been fun (and a lot of hard work!)

  • Great article. Absolutely true.
    I have been making a living since the age of 11 from music.
    There have been many great moments and many hard ones, but I enjoy what I do and would do it even if"The big time" never came along.
    These are trying times and to be able to feed and house my family through my music income is a great gift.
    All of the wishing and dreaming creates frustrations when they don't come to fruition. But I know that part will never go away either.I have been working for the dream my whole life.
    The key is to find a healthy balance of being in control of your destiny and finding the joy and strength in that alone and that comes from hands on work.

  • Bravo– thanks for posting. As a woman inching her way into the mid-40s, I'm having my most successful year professionally. My age and experience have given me more confidence and awareness about what it is I do, where I fit. I'm more focused than I was in my 30s. Similar to Wendi, I have three variations (solo, duo, and band), which provides flexibility and more opportunities. There is always an audience for good music!

  • Great Aritcle! and right on the money…

    I record and release my own stuff and I'm 44. I have a (semi) active live band and we get audiences of all ages and play with bands half our age. Over the years, I have become "smarter" about writing and performing than I was in my 20s and 30s, and I am a far better musician. If countless folk and classical musicians can play music all their lives, why not rock and roll? Age is in the mind!

  • Tomas

    Times change. I'm over 40 and I've been writing songs, performing and recording on and off for over twenty years, but only really been touring and releasing official records the last few years. Thing is, for an independent left-field artist without a record deal, reaching out wasn't easy before the spread of the internet. And recording quality material was expensive before software home studios and the growing industry of recording gear in Asia. Depending on whether you have family and other time-consuming commitments or not, you may find there are better career possibilities now if you're 40-45 than when you were 25.

  • As you age, the key is changing your expectation about the audience. If you want to play in front of 25,000 screaming teenagers and 20-somethings, then yeah, you need to be in your 20's. Venues may turn you down as you get older because their clientele is … 20-somethings.

    The day I gained peace with my music was the day I realized and accepted that teenagers and 20-somethings are NOT my audience. I embraced who I was (a middle-aged musician) and who I would appeal to (35 – 60 year olds). At that point I relaxed and started to have a lot more fun.

  • I used to get caught up in the age game, but no longer. At 46, I'm not trying to have the fleeting moment of a "hit" song, which in my opinion, most of what's on Top 40 radio is shallow and vacuuous at best. I want longevity, to write songs that will be relevant no matter what the decade. I am writing songs that I would have never been able to write in my 20's and 30's because I wasn't experiencing the things that are inspiring me to write the songs I write. I am finally beginning to make the transition from playing at primarily coffeehouses for tips, and small guarantees to performing at listening rooms. I have recently acquired management and am booked into places such as Caffe Lena, The Cellar Stage and Wellsville Creative Arts Center. My list of opening act slots is growing as I have recently opened for Eilen Jewell, and will be opening for Eric Andersen and The Kennedys this November. For 10 years I have been slowly expanding my fan base, as well as the geographic region to touring in 9 states. There's a market for what you do, no matter how small of a scale it's on, but most importantly, the need to create and share is ever present.

  • A lot fakers step to the game expecting miracles instead of an experience, So these usually are the people that say " Im too old to get it in with my talent – if it hasen't happend for me by now." LOOK people! Unless that day comes to where you can't spit it out on the MIC. Then thats it(at least). We are what makes this what it is, like a specturm from light we play our role to help produce light. And life into entertainment.

  • I'm almost 50. And I'm still going strong.

    One thing that happened to me is that my music changed over the years. I went through phases. When I was young and sexy, I did loud hard rock music. Now that I'm old and grey, I play sitar, and do jazz / world /electronica fusion.

    But I'm keeping on! And I'm much more aware of the business side of things than I ever was.

  • Lance McCollum

    There are even labels that only specialize in 'baby boomer' act artists. One is Austeo Records out of Austin, TX.

  • Thanks for this helping post. You go as far as you want to. In the end, it's all up to us. I'm pumped. God bless.

  • This is exactly what I needed now. Things are so depressed, I thought it was my "sign" that I am no longer marketable, I've been making these mistakes because I haven't wanted to "push" people, but I think everyone's so burdened with finances and stress that they simply forget, I don't think age has to be a factor. I have been asked my age by promoters and agents as a woman, it still seems to be a big discouragement. I just feel that I could not sing or play as I do now when I was "viable" as an artist 20 years ago. I am much better and age and experience has much to do with it, I am stable and know my strengths and accept my shortcomings as opportunities to improve. I have a realistic confidence and humility that I did not have as a fearless 19 year old! Age discrimination sucks.
    Thank you for the lift (non surgical, of course)!

  • Sure, it's far better to be positive about everything career-wise, but there is a still tremendous amount of prejudice against older people in Music today.

    An old rocker may be perceived as a ridiculous anachronism–a bad joke a la Spinal Tap. Plenty of ads for musicians are from young people who'd rather die than play with anyone over 25. Forming bands isn't even so much about Music now as just plain being young.

    That's all probably part of the Ageism in our Society, but a lot of it is from a narcissicistic youth who think they already know it all and can't benefit from others who have loads and loads more experience.

    I think there is more chaff now than ever before, more kids who want the immediate gratification of an audience's attention RIGHT NOW but aren't willing to patiently learn their craft. So, you get a general decline in the content and craft of their songs. And a lot more outright copying than ever before, which is an easy short-cut.

    If you're going to be good at anything, it will take a lot of time and effort, and face it–some people are simply dreamers and just don't have the basic aptitude.

  • Scott,

    I think you make a lot of good points about the business side of this, but I wold throw out a plug for a little soul searching when it comes to the person, the artist, inside the nascent rock star regardless of age. I too spent a lot of my twenties working toward rock stardom. I was pretty good at doing the things you're talking about in this article. And I had a little bit of success. Ultimately, not the kind of success that I was hoping for, but success not to be discounted. I'm proud of it. But then came the time when I did realize that the kind of stardom I sought wasn't going to happen–and I didn't really want it any more. But I did want to play music, make records and do it on a high level. It took a few years of soul searching, but eventually I came to a place where I was OK with making music, getting it out there and letting the chips fall, as long as I was doing it and doing it well, within the vision I had for myself as an artist.

    And I think that's where this conversation often falls short: you have to be the artist first, not the commodity. And you have to remain the artist through all those steps or it becomes hollow and pretty meaningless.

    Just thought I'd throw in my two cents to reinforce this side of the coin as well.

  • I think I've seen this article before, so it may be a repost, but it should be reposted over and over, maybe once a year.:-) I'm 54. Yup, big dreams dominated my late teens, I wanted fortune, bright lights, and to be famous for-freakin-EVER! Now, I don't have the energy I once used to, I certainly don't look like I used to, but I've learned how to happy, no matter what my station in life…..AND, I'm not giving up. I've just lowered my expectations a little….yes, I said "a little". Finding people in my area that are serious is ridiculous (Houston), especially my age, but then, I haven't tried in a few years. I'm pretty self-contained though, even my harmonies are my own voice harmonized with my lead track. Computers do make it so much easier to hold onto that dream, and whatever measure of success I achieve, I intend to enjoy every damn moment of it. I leave you with a quote from Warren Zevon (after he found he was dying from Cancer)…: "Enjoy every sandwich."

  • Whippersnapper

    I'd believe you, but you're too old to trust.

  • I like the tone of this article, but I do want to acknowledge that ageism is a real phenomenon. As a post-menopausal woman I sometimes feel invisible and not taken seriously, in a way that didn't happen to me 30 years ago. At 55 I'm still getting used to the challenges that poses, but I certainly don't feel defeated! I'm considering making a push to market myself to a middle-aged audience, though I don't want to limit myself.

  • Yes I though the same thing, said my time was out, but I tried, and pushed a little harder, now I have two Gospel Cd's out.. (thank God)and about to release a third.. Oct 30th 2010 in London UK ,I am now with an agency,, If I can say (Gospel Frontiers)..London England.. so no matter what age as long as you can wake up each day and know your alive, you can do this….you have to want to…

  • Thank you indeed. Well to the point. Truth is, we used to joke 25 years ago about doing the "Geezers Rule Tour" someday. Yea, and I'm just about to turn 58,..and I know that I've got more to offer now than I ever did before. Now, I'm off to play some dinner music for some folks who adore me, and I just sold 50+ CDs at a Fair this past weekend! Life is Good and thanks for the inspiring words. Think I'll go play my ass off! Michael O

  • Cliegg

    It seems as though there are 2 music businesses developing: one that *is* a young person's game, and one that is not. Living in Los Angeles, I can attest to the fact that ageism is very real, and that after a certain point, you really do miss the boat when sailing in *that* world.

    Fortunately, the other world awaits for those who make it past a certain age without becoming jaded or cynical. People don't owe you anything for being talented and working hard. Once you develop to the point where you see that success can be measured by the amount that you give of yourself, you can begin to succeed in this other world.

  • That was great and so true. Yourself is your most important vehicle. I'm still playing at 52 and have seen it go full circle. I'm seeing my ole friends kids at shows and the question , "your still playing", quite frankly , I never left. Play On,

  • Great thoughts, Scott,

    When I was younger I used to say, "Well, the Beatles didn't really make it until they were in their early 20s" and then it was, "Well, REM didn't really make it until they were in their mid-20s!" as if that provided some sort of relief NOT to have "made it" yet. (You can guess how old I am now, with those as my points of reference!)

    Yeah: Figure out how to make it work now, how to build an audience and broaden your (uh, "my") abilities to communicate who I am and what I do NOW. Not much point in waiting around for someone else to do the work, is there?

  • Guys, I'm 64 and my partner is 62. We're working on our second CD and have had over 700 stations playing our music worldwide. Got more dates coming up in September. And let me tell you. WE ROCK !!
    So, age has nothing to do with making great music. If your attitude is right, nothing can stop you.
    My wife is an actress and model. She's had agents tell her she's too old. Only thing is, she's working more now than when she was younger.
    Whatever is you preconception of age, fuggitaboutit……….
    John Townsend

    • Country Paul

      Just saw this – I played you on the radio when you guys were “new.” I too am now a professional musician again after a 39-year hiatus in broadcasting and voice-over work. Three of our band’s four members are over 59 (our fourth is the drummer, the 21-year-old son of our lead singer). While our lead singer/chief songwriter has made all or some of his living from music for more than 40 years, none has had a national breakthrough like “Smoke from a Distant Fire” or a stint with the Allmans to help propel us. We’re just hard-working creative guys who’d love to “make it” as an all-original material band at some level. I think our level would be playing folkie/other listening clubs and small-to-midsize concerts 3-6 times a month, having an audience who appreciates our originals and sometimes asks for our songs by name, and selling enough CDs at a gig to make us glad we put it out. We’re all “older kids” when we hit the bandstnd; we’d just like more bandstands to play!

  • I went out to Los Angeles when I was 17 years old and secured a publishing deal when I was 18 … at 22 I had a record deal with my dream label, Elektra Records (a subsidiary of Columbia; The Doors' label) and have had a good number of publishing deals and record deals ever since.

    I'm 59 years old now and … nothing … has changed. Nothing in my heart, anyway.

    Life is an adventure … be in it!

  • Great article!
    I am 52 and have performed more than 5000 times. I will perform at least 300xs this year. I sell several 1000 cds every year….find a place that will let u set up and play….even for free…like my last 100 gigs…and build a mailing list and sell cds!!!!! If the music and performance captivate….you will make a good living…..even if you are over 50!

  • I'm amazed that people worry about being old when they're in their thirties. I recorded my first CD 6 years ago, and I'm celebrating my 61st birthday on Friday!

  • I left the music behind at age 24 for various reasons (family) but picked it up again at age 57 and am now 60 still going and looking forward to continuing on with it using the muse: "imagination is the preview of coming attractions."

  • So the answer is "No, you're never too old."? Wouldn't it be cool if someone started their "pop star" career in their 40s? Is that impossible? What is it about being older that gives you less value? This is a whole can of worms I'd like to see you expand on.

  • Forget the home runs…just get on base! Some good solid gigs in front of a good (paying) audience of 200-500 on a regular basis will keep us in what we need. The younger guys in the band would probably like an arena spot and I'd be happy to ride along. There's more to the biz than filling a stadium. After a few good size royalty checks came in we realized this quick!

    I'm 54 and started playing with a band of younger folks ranging from 28-39. One warning though…having run my own business for 18 years they elected me management in addition to bass player. Stay fit and healthy. 50 is the new 30 I say.

  • larry t.

    i play in a rockin' band with members at ages ranging from 40 something to sixty something. the writing has never been better, and we are as hungry as teens to get this show out there. we are learning about the new music biz scene and will work it hard. our show is pretty smokin'. one more time…at a time!

  • Steven

    Yes, that is a very good article. Studies have shown that adults are the ones who are buying music. Not just for their children but for themselves. The industry has perpetuated this thing about music careers for only the very young. And of course, our whole culture has defaulted to youth worship in general. And I have heard from industry people that part the reason for signing the very young is because they feel that they will be able to make more money over a longer period of time from the career of someone who has more years ahead of them. Problem is the labels hardly stick with an artist long enough anymore to develop and make money from anyone at any age. So this reasoning has proven to be really bad.

    But here is some good news. I was signed to Atlantic records back when I was 29 years old. It got my career started. When I was dropped, the industry was simultaneously going into a tail spin and the visible new artists began getting noticeably younger all the time. But now I am 47 years old and after putting out a few more self produced and basically unknown CDs, I have been signed by again by a dream team including record label, management and producer. The head of the label, in a conversation with me, said that he has indication that the industry is finally coming around to the truth about who is really buying records. And is very optimistic about our upcoming release. I've never been very good about marketing myself, so for me having a label is a good thing. Its nice to know that there are still people in the music business who put the music first.

  • I'll be 65 in November. I've been making music since the mid-'60s, unencumbered by fame and fortune. Somehow I've managed to tour in 49 states and 45 countries. When people ask, "Are you making a living?", I smile and reply, "I'm making a life." Next spring we'll premiere my new musical, 'Hue Manatee's Quest,' up in New Hampshire (15 years in the making). Am developing another project to honor the life and legacy of folksong innovator Bob Gibson. For the past 8 years the quartet I founded, Work o' the Weavers, has celebrated America's pioneering folk quartet in 28 states, Canada & Israel, and we're still going strong. My wife Madhumita and I just gave 12 performances in 9 days throughout Israel in May. Dylan wrote whoever's "not busy being born is busy dying." Believe it. Have a happy birth day!

  • Taz

    Good article, I am definitely getting up there in years myself. As for the girl who performed and then left the stage though…maybe that's all she wanted to do. "Making it" is not the be all and end all for everyone. Some people just want to play.

  • Well said…

    I am 27 years old and feel like I'm ancient. I continuously fight that feeling Scott is describing, despite the fact that I've already released two albums, a live DVD, have a third album on the way and am soon to open my own record label. Much like the media create an image of what a "perfect woman" is supposed to be with non- realistic supermodels, the music industry creates pop stars out of children and pretend it's the norm.
    I wish I could stop wasting my life away worrying about the future instead of enjoying the present.

    I am doing a job I love, am my own boss, have no-one to answer to and I am writing GREAT music with no-one influencing my artistic decisions except me.

    God bless the independent songwriters of the world!

    Abi Moore

  • I use to think "Oh No" time is passing by and now I'm in my 40's throw in the towel. On the other hand us older musicians have been around the block a few times to know what good music is versus a lot of the empty cookie cutter pop sounds of today! so it's our duty to either perform or even write music / lyrics for other performing artists. It's never too late no matter your age, always do what you gotta do to make a dream come true and if you love what you do your journeys end Waite's for you. I SAY GO FOR IT!!!!!!! I STILL AM 🙂

  • I guess I'm about the oldest "would be performer" on this list, I'll be 71 in a few weeks. I'm very impressed with this open letter to us musicians.
    I always knew that it was in me, but I had to overcome several fears.

    My talent isn't bad, certainly better than some I see on TV.
    What is the difference? Really going for it!
    I'm a newby at cdbaby, I've given myself a better chance now.
    Ron Hoag

  • when you heard a song on the radio and loved it. You couldn't see the artist but you loved it anyway

  • Neal

    Thanks. Your article really resonated with me. I didn't start seriously writing until I was in my mid-forties. I recorded my first album and performed for the first time when i was fifty. I've since gone on to open for Steve Forbert and Graham Parker, who actually offered to produce my next record. I'll never perform for crowd of 60,000, but my wildest expectations have been exceeded.

    It's very difficult to promote myself and perform frequently because I have a day job and a family to support, but still… there's no end in sight, because it's what I love, and that's its own reward. All of us who do this, whether it's for ten or
    ten thousand people, are luckier than most.

  • Linda

    "You're never too old to rock N roll if you're too young to die"
    Jethro Tull

    But seriously. I am not even going to say how old I am, but most of our fans could be my grandkids.
    They go crazy when we play and sing along with us too.
    We even let them get on stage with us and do backup vocals.
    They don't seem to care how old we are.
    Here's an example.

    However, we had 4X as many hits on our song in Toyota's Rock The Space than some of the finalist. But we knew at our age they would not touch us in a million years.
    We just entered for the exposure.

  • Thank you for that great insight. THink I'm the ldest one here at 58! I'll be 18 till I die. I started playing in band at 13. but I was 53 when I was urged to make a CD of my first band. We just happended to use the name Iron Maiden first – Plucked up the courage – phoned IM and thier manager Rod – they were brilliant (I actually thought they woudl tell me to 'sod off' – just the opposite. I worked hard on the old studio and cassete tapes – spent my own dosh to have tehm mastered and create them – and are now selling CDs regularly – all over the world on CD baby. I even managed to organise a re-union concert – we have now raied over £7k and givenall the cas to cancer charities. I still play – I still want to 'make it' – I will – by keepng on keepng on!Paul.

  • Neal

    Thanks. Your article really resonated with me. I didn't start seriously writing until I was in my mid-forties. I recorded my first album and performed for the first time when i was fifty. I've since gone on to open for Steve Forbert and Graham Parker, who actually offered to produce my next record. I'll never perform for a crowd of 60,000, but my wildest expectations have been exceeded.

    It's very difficult to promote myself and perform frequently because I have a day job and a family to support, but still… there's no end in sight, because it's what I love, and that's its own reward.

    All of us who do this, whether it's for ten or ten thousand people, are luckier than most.

  • Sorry about the spelling – I am not drunk! Just excited to read the article and tell my story! Sober Paul

  • I went on the road in the US and UK with a National headliner after age after age 40 as a member of opening act – all who were over 40 AND women – and as a back up singer in the headline act. We have continued to tour on an off for years. We performed our own original tunes and had no problem selling CD's along side the headline act. We give thanks every day to former Monkee Peter Tork and his band Shoe Suede Blues AND to singer/songwriter James Lee Stanley. These guys are talented and they let us play music with them.

    "If you have ever been burdened by being told it is past time to pursue your heart's desire, then these songs are for you."
    Marilyn Ingram: Moth to the Flame
    AURA3: For Pete's Sake
    AURA3: Dirty Angels

  • Dave W

    Just turning 58 and ready to release my 6th CD in the last 10 years. I started playing when I was a teen and set it aside to raise a family. With the kids grown, I jumped back in.

    Now I'm in two bands (cover-band playing a couple times a month, and a punk-band as my son describes it) with my own project band on the side. Music keeps me young and I'm having a great time playing live. Yeah, I'm the old-man in the group, but nobody seems to care. We're too busy making music and getting people on the dance floor.

    Will I ever be famous … nope … but I'll never be too old to make good music.

  • Neal

    Thanks. Your article really resonated with me. I didn't start seriously writing until I was in my mid-forties. I recorded
    my first album and performed for the first time when I was fifty. I've since gone on to open for Steve Forbert and Graham Parker, who actually offered to produce my next record. I'll never perform for a crowd of 60,000, but my wildest expectations have been exceeded.

    It's very difficult to promote myself and perform frequently because I have a day job and a family to support, but still… there's no end in sight, because it's what I love, and it's incredibly meaningful, and that's its own reward.

    All of us who do this, whether it's for ten or ten thousand people, are luckier than most. It may be a tough way to make a living, but it's a great way to live.

  • I am eternal. There is no such thing as too old, nor do I have time to be too old. Goals and dreams are as alive as I am, and I intend to live on pursuing and one day obtaining those goals and dreams.

    "Now that I'm there I know for sure, I really ain't got there yet"
    Elvis Presley – "Guitar Man"

  • I just recorded my first CD at age 38 and I enjoyed every second of it. I am even getting a very positive response from alot of people. I love doing it and I kick myself all the time for not doing it sooner. BUT it doesn't matter because i am doing it now.

    In the end I think it all comes down to how you define "making it". For some its playing a sold out stadium (and who wouldn't want to do that), for me, I am just glad that I finally figured out what it is I REALLY love to do (and want to do the rest of my life) and connecting with people in the process.

    That said, I love the marketing aspect and I am alway trying to educate myself and put myself in the right position to get the biggest bang for my buck. at this point, having an audience big enough to allow me to continue create new music and play gigs to packed rooms (big or small) would be making it.

    Bottom line, if you are going to stop making music because you think you are to old, then you must not like doing it in the first place. Being able to write and play music is a gift and we are fortune. There are a lot of people who would love to be able to do what we do.

  • Joel

    This article says very little about the role age might play in a musician's chance of success in the music industry. All you've said is "no, you're not too old, now get out there and work harder." Sorry, but that's not very enlightening. The fact is that age does impact an individual's chances at major success, for a variety of reasons, and anyone who doesn't think so is just in denial. When I was in my early 30's, an entertainment lawyer was trying to shop my band to some labels in the UK and told me that he was going to lower the age of every band member by about 5 years. He did that for a reason. Because he knew that labels wanted young bands.

    Age in and of itself might not affect a person's ability to create good music, but it can have an impact on your target demographic (teenagers for the most part aren't interested in music made by 60-year-olds), on the media outlets that might give you press, and on your own availability to do what it takes to "make it". Obviously, no matter your age, you can play music and try to build a fanbase, but in my experience, the older you get, the harder it gets. Hence, your chances of success go down.

  • Really good suggestion! I'm finding that the relationship with the audience is the primary thing and if you don't tell them about yourself whether it's talking about your songs or mentioning the cd's, or other services you do, they don't get the benefit of the relationship. It's like a conversation. Also I like to keep in mind that when Alan Lomax went out to record the real music of america, he mostly recorded folks my age and older, like Texas Gladden!

  • ARH

    Age brings wisdom, and that's the best thing it can do to music…

    I've been writing music from a young age, and even in the music world, there can be "old" enough to do this or that.

    The only thing stopping you is yourself— just go for it!!


  • I agree. Many times when you hear new music, you have no idea who is making it and what their demographics are. Only people working in the "old style" music industry are concerned with age (overly obsessed actually).
    I , like probably most of you, go to a lot of shows. I have seen new acts and well established acts alike and one thing that has really stuck out to me over the past ten years is that audiences are really mixed. In the 90's, it was definitely a young crowd, mosh pits (even for softer bands) and image, but today crowds can literally range from 16 year olds to 60 year olds.

    Personally, I know that in my teens and twenties, I became a great guitarist but I never wrote a song worth a crap until I was in my mid thirties, and now, I really feel strongly about my material. I don't know why it took me so long but why should I not give it a shot?
    I think there are also unique advantages to having the extra life experience and still being a "new" artist.
    It can be very difficult to keep focused on the now but that truly is wide advice, now more than ever.

  • Scott, you bring up good points…but leave out the hard truths.

    1)You don't need to make a dollar or play in front of anyone to be a good artist.

    2) If "making it" means commercial success, yes, your points are well taken…but let's be real here. In today's music world there are only two basic types; the "oldies" like the Stones and all the classic rockers from days gone by and the "latest models"…which is ALL about the package. Under 30, CUTE (be you male or female)and ready to give up everything to tour. oh yeah..and maybe have some talent. But cute rules. Mama Cass today?..Janis Joplin? i think not…When is the last time ANYBODY over 40 (or even 30)burst upon the scene and "made it" commercially? i can't think of one…

  • I started my professional music career at age 15 with a recording, managerial and agent contract in Washington DC in 1968, and except for 10 years spent making a living as a visual artist I have been a professional musician ever since. That's right, that's 42 years! I am 57 and have loved every minute of it! But I am in a specialty field–I sing for children and families, who don't CARE how old I am. I intend to keep singing and playing my music until I can't any longer. As long as I and my audiences keep having fun and love it, there's no reason to stop. Age is just a number. Besides, making music keeps you young.

  • Hey Scott? Is that you in the photo. You youngsters in your 30s, 40s and 50s keep on truckin! Check out my song Back Together on my Myspace page. The Remains were on the edge of success in 1966 – opened for the Beatles American Tour. The band broke up amiably after the last tour show in LA. 2008 somebody does a documentary on America's Lost Band – it catches on at film festivals — and the Remains are back on tour in their mid 60s.

    Please go to my page and add me as a friend so I can achieve Scott's admonition to gain a bigger audience.

  • florian

    Thanks for the article! I'm 38 and will start a famous music school in LA in a month. It means leaving my country, my job, my false sense of security, … I got a huge scholarship for it. Not really sure how everything happened but I know that I've work towards it for the last 30 years … 🙂

  • Jim C

    I think the fear of being too old is rooted in a certain amount of realism. In terms of being "discovered"–managed, signed to a label, etc.–it is true that you are of less value to an industry who basically needs young, energetic 20 somethings who have not yet put down roots, who can tour constantly, and who look cute in skinny jeans and do what they're told. In this model, there's a certain amount of ageism at work. Pop culture is inevitably youth-oriented.

    However, there is no age limit to being an artist, nor to the value of your art. And the good news is, the old rules apply less and less every day. An artist's ability to her career is in her own hands. In fact, if you are already selling in decent numbers and pulling crowds at good venues, you probably would have attracted the interest of the industry–but then, why would you need label support if you were already doing that well?

  • Thanks for that article Scott. You read my mind, and i felt the same way and constant have that feeling like time is passing me by. What you wrote was so inspirational and right-on-the-money… and was just what I needed to read. 🙂

  • I started publishing and selling the music of composer Halim El-Dabh when I was 60 and he ws 88.

    If I can do it so can you young ones!

    Thank you CD Baby!


  • Thank you so much for writing this very insightful article. I agree with the whole sentiment…

  • You know, that's a fascinating article. I've been working at being a professional musician for most of my life, from my teens till now, and I'll tell you that's a long time. It wasn't until I learned to play music and write songs for myself instead of trying to be a rock star that I could enjoy it. I am writing songs, just released a CD, and I am playing gigs with my band. I have done all the things that you say Scott, and been doing them for many years myself (marketing, booking, websites, CDs, promotion, accounting, PR, R and D, networking, etc.) and you know what? It doesn't matter. I mean, keep doing it but in the end, just play your music. Do the work like Scott says, and whatever happens will happen. As long as you love what you're doing and doing what you love you are successful. Maybe one day someone or something of consequence will take notice, and that would be great and awesome, but my spirit says to keep singing and writing songs and performing and too bad what everybody else thinks! I mean, I'm not dead yet so I can still do it…and even then I probably will too!

  • Good statements. I am 62. Back in the 70's I had a contract with Paul Anka as my producer and co owner of publishing. I also was under contract with United Artists as a singer/songwriter/guitarist, a "big lable contract" in hand with a nice monetary advance and all recording payed for, etc.. (as they USED to do). That fell through for a variety of reasons that seemed beyond my control. I went back to school and attained a good career away from music so I would distance myself from the stereotype "Starving Musician".

    I have kept playing and writing throughout the years and in 2000 and 2008 I released two CDs of my own material, using many of the players I worked with when I was with Paul Anka (Lee Sklar and others). On my second CD, Legendary country music artist, Merle Haggard sings with me on the second song on the CD. I mean, hey, would not THAT make you think some folks would sit up and take notice?

    Well, not really.. Oh, yeah, my friends all love it and many others that have heard it, but I don't promote it. See, I am not too old to play and kick ass and get some of the best players on the planet to work with, but unless you promote it, it really goes nowhere. Well, I don't need the money from music, but I sure need it in my soul so I still play, record and work with my friends, Merle included. So, it has gone way beyond the dreams even though it goes nowhere.

    Which brings me to the point of writing this. No matter what, keep playing and writing. I may be too old to enjoy sleeping in hotel rooms and vans down by the river, but once I slow down a bit in the day job (coming soon), I will do what I can to promote it on-line and plan to do some music festivals (I have done High Sierra Music Fest. 8 times).

    Truth is, you are never too old. Go see the old folks play at Preservation Hall in New Orleans.. 90 years old and sweet as anything.

  • Don't defeat yourself before you even get into the fight. Let the audiences decide, but help yourself out by bringing them a SHOW to base their decision on!

  • Thanks for this article. I just recorded my first song from a home studio I made all types of excuses for not using for my own lyrics. The song is called "sometimes ya parents ain't always right" and it has hints of what this article is saying. If you want to hear it just go to my page and become a fan. By the way I am 32. Time to get back to writing music. Peace and love.

  • What a coincidence, this was the exact topic of the title track of my 2009 release "Young Man's Game". When I released the CD, which was my debut, I was 46 years old. Rather than trying to dodge the issue I decided to tackle it head on. In a nutshell, the message of the song is "I know I'm not what you're looking for, Mr. Dismissive Music Industry Executive, but guess what? I don't care!" You can hear the complete track for free at my website or on Myspace or on Reverb Nation. Just search "Pride of the Garage". No matter what your age, keep on rockin' to the best of your God given ability and when you encounter negativity, either ignore it or use it! Peace

  • Mitch Seidman

    I have been a musician for over forty years. When I was in my twenties I was hoping to "make it", but I have been at it so long and deeply that I guess I actually did. After all, I'm still at it. It's not a race…It's how you manage your life as an artist over the long haul. So hang in there, take the reins, and enjoy your participation in it all!

  • Mitch Seidman

    I have been a musician for over forty years. When I was in my twenties I was hoping to “make it”, but I have been at it so long and deeply that I guess I actually did. After all, I’m still at it. It’s not a race…It’s how you manage your life as an artist over the long haul. So hang in there, take the reins, and enjoy your participation in it all!

  • Jack

    "Most musicians I know hold a dream to someday ‘make it’ in the music business. To play in front of huge crowds and live a lifestyle that they can only imagine. "

    Then you need to meet more musicians. Most musicians don't want this. Most apsiring pop stars might, but most musicians do not.

  • Going for it at 48! Released my first CD this year, expecting to release a second by the end of the year, refining and strengthening my act and planning my first tour for next year. I certainly bump up against a lot of fears and doubts but, no matter how I'm feeling or thinking, I keep pressing on. Each time I play I see it as an opportunity to grow, become better, and acquire new fans.

  • Just at my gig last week did I finally get it that people my age and older (I'm 47) are consistently buying my cd's at shows. I am a female rock musician, but performing solo in singer/ songwriter settings. I am expanding my idea of what "the market" is and al of a sudden I feel the potential all over the place– EXCEPT maybe the elite indie rock scene that I used to gauge my success or popularity by. More people buy my cd's in OTHER environments than the hipster rooms in NYC — like restaurants, coffee bars, community events and so on. These are the people who will not go to whatever club I think I should be playing at anyway! And I repeat: they BUY cd's, they grew up placing great value on music and they will pay for it. I also want to add: pay attention to the changing demographics: the world IS getting much older. I now consider the Baby Boomers exactly who I want to cater to- and I repeat– I am not a folk or country singer, I play pop/rock music. If you love what you do– it stands to reason your craft will mature and you will be BETTER anyway with age. Thanks for writing that article! Bibi Farber

  • Darlene Tellis

    Great and timely article. My 13 year old son told me
    a few days ago that I was too old to make it. He said I have a great voice and people like me but I was too old tomake it. I began to ponder his concernn he loves me and thought he would save me the heartache of failure. I'm not going to give up and I'm goin to continue to follow my dream. Thank you so much. I'm going to let my son read this article too. By the way, did he call you LOL

  • Scott, this is truly a great article. To add to what you said, I think people also need to take a look at themselves in the mirror too. I don't mean if you look too old to quit. That's not what I'm saying at all. But, I do mean your appearance still may matter depending on what you're trying to do. For example, if your act involves certain types of clothing or costumes. Dress to fit your act at the age you are as much as possible, even taylor the music or dress a little bit if you need to. Part of taking responsibility for your own musical career is to do something that relates to who you see as your audience. The "music" isn't all there is in the music business.

  • Finally! Someone wrote about older musicians!! I, like everyone else, got tired of being told I was too old. So, 4 years ago I began to produce my own concerts. This gives me artistic control, the ability to showcase more than one genre, and perform in venues that are conducive to actually being heard. Is it easy? NO! Do I perform often? NO! but I have learned how to (finally) financially make it worth while to put these events together (not an easy task). I do sometimes get sad that I have to make my own opportunities, (it is tiring!) but I also sleep well knowing I didn't ride any coattails to get where I am. I am also learning how to produce recordings that don't have to sell 1,000 copies to recoup production costs. Selling at concerts is the best way to go – always will be. If you are a musician, you must make music. It's the air you breathe.

  • Been playing guitar since I was 12 (I'm 59 now) – I had my first radio airplay (in the Smooth Jazz format) when I was about 48. CD Baby and DiscMakers are of huge importance if you're serious.

  • I got my first record deal at 38 years old.

    At 48 I had sold 800,000 CD's of a Children's Worship project I own called "Worship Jamz." Now, I never would have guessed I'd be doing Children's worship music… not in a million years. But the success of that project has made it possible for me to keep doing fun "me" music too. I work out of my home, see my kids every day and I get to do fun music projects. Check out my new project co-produced with John Carter Cash here:

    You just have to keep moving forward. The road might not take you to where you think it's supposed to go – but if you just stay on the road you'll end up where you're supposed to be.

    I'm no expert, or anything. Just sharing my story and how it works for me. Age is a state of mind.

  • Bravo!

    It is about the experience you give the audience, and if we believe we are too old, too washed out, whatever, that's what the audience gets. Give, give and give and see what comes back!

    And for what it's worth, Cindy Lauper was 35 when "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" hit the charts.

    I just turned 40, and I feel like this is my time to shine. My goal is to be a role model for the hundreds of women out there who haven't stopped dreaming!!!

  • snake

    well too old is when we stop breathing, as long as we have a breath we can do what ever we want, i dont ever believe in too old, i just believe at a certain age i have to do certain things differently, thanks for the article

  • I've been in bands since my teens had a few records out and a couple CD's, had a few near misses at the record big deal etc. played some big places on descent bills but never really made it in the biz. Truth is for me it was all about music I had to play then and I can't stop now. I remember being in more then one band that it was agreed band policy to lie about our ages, the first time I remember we were all around 23-24 years of age and even then felt the pressure of being too old (lol). It was of course the Record Companies that put us in that position. The last time it happened was about 6 years ago, I had a meeting with an A&R guy at a Christian Record Label (I've been playing Rock n Gospel Music for the last 10 years) and had recorded a pretty good CD, surely the Christian labels are different I thought they're just interested in good songs that move people and bring them closer to God right? Wrong! The whole time I was there he kept trying to find out my age I just kept telling him I was over the 30 knowing full well that was too old in his world, I was about 45 then. I'm 52 now and seriously it wasn't until I turned 50 that I finally felt released from all that pressure. I've been out playing clubs and bars this year with my band Salt in a sense I've returned to where I started, I mostly play originals maybe a cover or two for fun and I'm having a blast, no apologies no compromises and I'm finding people are responding in a whole different way, I guess having fun is infectious.

  • Kari

    Thanks just what I needed to hear this week : )

  • Paulie

    Nice article, but unfortunately my own experience in the "music business" (I've been playing in rock bands for over 20 years) is that if you are over 40 and playing in a rock band you'd better look at it as a hobby 'cos most younger people don't care about "old man" rock bands and most people in your age group aren't going to going out to your shows. It may be different with other styles of music, like country, jazz, or blues… but as far as rock music goes it really is a young man's world. I recently "retired" from rock bands (at the age of 47) and now just do solo acoustic gigs.

  • This article couldn't have come at a better time. I'm 53, and spent 30 years of my life holed-up in recording studios writing music for ad agencies and getting zero credit. After burnout set in, I took a quick 5 year hiatus, but I'm back now…doing what I love…playing drums.

    Sure, some club owners may not want to hire us old guys, but who cares! We can still record. We can still do shows. And thanks to sites like CD Baby, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the world is our stage! Rock On!

  • Freedom Poodle

    Two words…Robert Pollard.

  • I'm 58. Just retired from my day job as a psychologist. Now doing only music. I'm not the slightest bit discouraged. In fact things have just started happening in the last year or so. A couple weeks ago, we opened for the Nitty Gritty Dirt band at the legendary Surf Ballroom and a packed house of over 2,000. The crowd loved us and called us back for an encore. I'm a late bloomer. What can I say? Age means nothing if you are good and people like what they hear.

  • Well i am 33, with no musical experience or education to boast about, i have theses songs that i think are brilliant and i am going to do everything i can to take where they can be heard,

    Don't Let Go (click on the link if you want to hear a song about not giving up, and holding on with your heart if your hands are tied)

  • love this piece; it came at a good time, too! thanks for believing in ALL of us, no matter what age!

  • Top notch article. Make music because you want to. Age is only in the head and not relevant to song creation. Stay creative and rock on, at least that's how I look at it. I sometimes snicker when I hear people talking about their age and rock and roll, like pick up your guitar or whatever and get on with it. Play away the blues and bad news.

  • Gypsy

    Fantastic article. Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts.

  • Well Done Scott, I agree in most respects, but everyone has a different belief set and there is nothing wrong with doing things your own way. I have been writing songs for 20 years and have about 16 albums recorded. I have played in public at festivals and auditoriums and open mics, but the one piece if advice I would offer is this: do it for yourself! Success is all relative. If you love what you do, then do it or record it or sell it. I finally invested the time and effort into putting some of my CDs on the internet to sell .. iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, MySpace, Folk Alley, OurStage etc. Whenever I play a gig, I bring my CDs and don't get disappointed if they don't sell. I check my stats on the above listed digital download sites and even if they don't sell, I don't get frustrated. Whenever I write a new song I load it on my MySpace player just to see how many "hits" I get. I give free copies to my loyal fans just to keep them up to date. I guess what I'm saying is this: if you love what your doing, with all your heart and soul, that's all that really matters, that's all you need to know. (a line from one of my songs).

    Write your songs, record your songs, play them in public and around a campfire at parties. Upload them on websites like MySpace or let the world hear what you have to offer, and don't expect to become famous. Face it, there are a LOT of talented musicians and songwriters out there. If you don't throw your hat in the ring, you will never be noticed.

    Keep on Pickin' Jon

  • At 60 this year I find some of my music friends are having problems with their hands and need to"warm' them up for a bit first but thy can still play. I'm releasing my 4th CD in october and still having way too much fun doing a single up and down the florida west coast in the wintertime. My wife and I live on our sailboat in the winter and I work in the UP of michigan in the summer. A perfect combination !!

  • There are lots of markets and age is not the determining factor for all of them. Age is definitely an asset for some kinds of music as it may not be taken seriously with only a few years under your belt. Following a powerful meditation vision, at age 58 I released a unique, sixty-minute CD called Wavepool, the Deep Relaxation Soundtrack. Wavepool is selling well in the US and internationally and has been on the CDBaby and Digstation bestseller lists. I have several more projects in the pipeline. If you have to think outside the box, make your box bigger! There's room enough for everyone.

  • Billy

    I'll bet this was a well written article, but I couldn't read it…I've forgotten where I put my coke-bottle glasses again and I can't get out of my chair! Pass the Geritol.

  • Pop music sucks because the industry embraces youth culture, advertising and branding. fuck that. I'll be broke but I will die playing what I feel is worthwhile and keeping the traditional roots of American music preserved. Fuck Disney!

  • Great little piece that speaks directly to me. I just turned 54. When I was 21 I had to decide between a career in music and something more stable so that I could have a family. I became a physician and have now gotten back to music, releasing my first CD this year (see ). My blog on WordPress discusses precisely my experiences as an "oldie".

    Bottom line, we're all responsible for our own successes and failures. I too sometimes lapse into magical thinking (someone's going to 'discover' me…). I have to keep reminding myself of this…if I don't do what it takes, nobody will and I will have only myself to blame.

  • What a great article! I have come to expect GREAT things from you and this site!
    You are in it for the artist and it shows! I read an article talking about a great artist, he said, "I started playing guitar late in life", "I was 13!"!HA
    WTF? I LIVED my teens and twenties and I don't know how ANYONE can record songs that matter without living first. Most "rock stars" get famous and at least think they are rich while in that youth stage. No wonder why they die young! WHEN I MAKE it, I will be in my 40's and hopefully I have learned enough through my life to avoid the pitfalls.


  • Funny, I just wrote this article 2 days ago.

    The 4 Ts of Success. Timing,Talent,Tenacity and one more…..

  • Merv O.

    Good Pick Me Up! Yes I go through these self doubting issues about if I still have what it takes. Currently working on a new CD right now and I have been going through these phases of if my stuff has appeal. anyways, been doing this stuff for 30 years now and still going so it's nice to get this boost! Aloha!

  • Great and inspiring article, Scott. As an author and motivational speaker, I'm on the fringe of the music business, although I got my first start as a bass player when I was 16. It's interesting to me that now,at 60, I'm still the guy on the stage with the mic:-)

    Your point is right on. There's the music, book, painting, whatever, then there's the business of it. Without the second part, you won't be doing the first part very long. Unfortunately, great musicians who've ignored the business side are singing in the shower on their way to their job at Starbucks.

    Your other point is also key. Never, never never, give up. Willie Nelson struggled in smokey bars for years before hitting it big, as have so many others.

    Best of success,

  • I have been snubbed by the music business a few times for my age. I will never forget being interviewed for a "Women Who Rock" type article for a large magazine, and I was thinking it was going great! I kept making the reporter laugh, which is always a good sign. Then, she was asking some nuts and bolts things, and she asked my age. I was thirty-two at the time, and when I told her, she said "Oh, I thought you were in college" and HUNG UP ON ME.

    I know for a fact that I am a better musician now, at age 38, than I was ten years ago. I certainly write better songs, and am a better performer because I care about my audience more than I used to.

    The "music business" is WRONG when they insist on cut-off ages and tell artists to lie about their age. I choose to just ignore them and keep on playing.

  • Kerry K.

    Well put! It's like my favorite writer Voltaire said back in 1759 "We must all tend our gardens". I am helping promote a Fantastic singer song writer with an absolute great CD and getting "The Word Out" is the whole key to sharing his labor of love (a.k.a his music). Market, Market and remember what got you to this point will not work tommorrow, keep pushing the rock.

  • I've been a professional musician since I was 16 (I'm 52). Never "made it" big, but I made a living by doing all sorts of gigs. I recorded my first CD under my own name in 2000, and have since done three tours of the UK and one of Europe. We now have 4 CDs out (last one was in the running for four Grammy nominations) and we are now working on the 5th.

    Still haven't "made it". Every booking is a fight. Every day is constant hustling. But one piece of advice I'd like to pass along is:


    Don't expect to make money. Plan to break even by merchandising (tee-shirts, CDs, etc.) If you can't get a reputable agent to set up the tour, do it yourself. But for heaven's sake, get away from your home area. See the country or the world, even if it's just for a couple of weeks at first.
    There's just no reason why, in this day and age, you can't have a CD for sale (or sell those MP3 download cards, but I don't think they're as good).

    And, don't worry about your age. Just look as good as you can on stage for the genre you're playing in. Nobody sees you up close most of the time anyway, so your audience won't notice those crow's feet!

  • That was just what I needed to hear today. Great advice! I'm getting a little long in the tooth myself partner (I just had to say "partner" like that rat in the Fantastic Mr. Fox movie) and I sometimes think it's too late. It's never too late to share your talent with others and let them hear your music. Now, for a guy who's not into touring because he's raising three crumb crunchers at home it might be the wrong time to go on the road for six months. But there are plenty of places of play close to home if I just look for them. One thing is for sure, I'll never go anywhere unless I get out there and play.

  • I am looking for the people who will enjoy what I have to offer as a guitar playing, singing songwriter who doubles on bass and loves to play the drums. I know that I have something unique and valuable to share and even though I'm in my late 40's and have been at it since I was 13, I'll never quit trying to reach out and give my music to the world.
    This is something that I just have to do.

  • Hey, I'm 57 (soon to be 58!) and I'm just about to release my 2nd Blues CD! I've got some great artists on it playing with me, too! Jack Pearson from The Allman Brothers, Richie Cole (Alto Madness), Linwood Taylor (Joe Louis Walker), James Montgomery (harmonica great) and some local friends. It should be release in about two months (Oct. – Nov. 2010).

    I'm havin' a ball giggin' and makin' music!

    It ain't over till the fat lady sings!

    Thanks for your words. It's true — life is what you make it!

  • Gwen Beyer

    Age has been a worry that seems to creep into my psyche as I'm about to make decisions about my career. I agree, I have to go for it. I don't want to regret not trying and for what? Because someone said I couldn't. I guess it depends on how I measure success. Thanks for the article

  • I've been performing for over 40 yrs…I started to feel the same way until a sucessful artist/friend gave me this hint of advice; "You may be getting older- but, so is your audience." He's right. There's a whole untapped market out there that "Mainstream" music ignors…go after it!

  • No one is too old to market their songs but it's wise to believe in an attainable market according to your age. I'm 40 and I'm not going to try to sound like a singer/songwriter that's only been breathing air for 24 years. My music should reflect my age and life experience.

    Besides, most of my listening audience range from 20 -35 years old and they have no idea I'm 40 because I'm not hung up on it. After so many years you just don't care anymore what people think and that's when something magical happens with the songs.

  • I never talk about or tell anyone my age. It's irrelevant to how people value me as an artist, other than the fact that the songs I write now I could not have had the depth or experience to write in my twenties. I continue to love the artists who were meaningful to me when I was younger and just get better and better. If people dig the music I hope they could care less what my age is.

  • Jan

    I just made my first CD at 55. I'm still attractive, look 40 and I sound like I'm still in my 20's. I still have my voice and I'm better now than when I was younger. I also wrote a dozen songs which will be on a separate EP. I thought, what the heck? You can't get any result without a risk! I just put my first two cover singles up on CDBaby and my CD is coming out late Fall. I love lyrical jazz and I know there's a big audience for it. At this point, it's the pride that I feel after pouring my heart and soul into this project. No matter what happens, I know I'll never have regrets for not trying!

  • Well, I'm 57 and my band, Red Paint, is starting to take off. I'm not too old!!

  • This is way more extensive than just how old musicians get. How many engineers, producers, A&R guys, booking folk, and managers have also "gotten too old" for the industry? Okay, so maybe those business-end folk wouldn't be optimal for new bands, but as more old musicians hang in there, perhaps the old business people can get back in a new (old) game with their "classic" smarts?
    Middleage musicians probably make music that middleagers love. Middleage producers no how to produce it accordingly. Maybe middleage biz guys still know how to market it?
    As the record industry continues to fragment, it's logical to have it also fragment along lines of age level. If so, all those old geezers should come back.
    As Pete Seeger said, "Rock n Roll never forgets."

  • Oops. Bob Seger said that. Whaddaya know? I forgot!!

  • Indeed! very well written. At 62 I 've just had my last 2 CD's taken into Music Australia through the National Library and the National Film & Sound Archive. I recorded the first of these in 2006 at age 58. I do not do many live gigs but when I do, The audiences remind me of how they do not care about my age at all. As a matter of fact – I think they see me as an old pro and appreciate the fact that I'm still out there trying.

  • When you stop worrying about whether you will have a career in music then you just might have one.

    • Rob

      Thanks for this pal… does my soul good.

  • Yes, i understand all too well what you are saying. For those of us who have passed the flower of our youth, it is not easy to get motivated; Especially in a youth worshiping world. These are good words and like fine wine, they vintage with age.

  • FC

    Wow, great timing on the article. For what it's worth here's the opinion of a 46 yr old musician with a slightly different perspective.

    I think alot depends on what "making it" means to you, who your audience is and what your professional image is. You still have to identify and cater to your market no matter what age…and you have to be realistic. If you look like Burl Ives (who? This is an article for us geezers, right??) and you are trying to portray a punk rebel image, well you just look silly and nobody will take you serious. You still have to fit the image associated with a genre (no matter what age). Even guys like Sting and Clapton had to reshape their image as they aged.

    Many older musicians (at least in my area) are less interested in "suffering" for their art. Often they feel like they are owed something because of life experience. As such, they are less likely to take advantage of less-than-profitable opportunities to market themselves as performers and go for the "sure thing". For those of us "mature" musicians who do have aspirations and opportunities to make a career, it is often difficult to find musicians of similar age willing or able to make sacrifices (i.e. travel, etc).

    Lastly, face it, the older your demographic, the less likely you are to make it "big". Older audiences stick with what they know and are less likely to support anything new. Think of all the 40-somethings (my age group) who don't realize that there have been other bands since Lynyrd Skynyrd, or The Beatles. 🙂

    I am lucky to have a regional niche in a genre aimed at a specific demographic that will support. I don't think older musicians can expect to make it in every genre or market.

    To those that made it this far in my post, thanks for letting me share my thoughts… 🙂

  • Thanks for writing this Scott! I'm about to turn 40 and since all my friends are now parents with young children, getting them out to a show is virtually impossible these days.

    I started getting really depressed about it lately. But you're right, if I see a performer who is giving me "value" as you say, I don't care if he/she's 73 or 12.

    So maybe it's about not being afraid to tap into other audiences besides my immediate peer group. After all, it's about putting the music out there, for whomever to enjoy.

  • Thank you Scott! I think all 78 MILLION baby boomers here in the USA would agree with you. Please send them our way!

    AVM – Modern Symphonic Rock
    (All band members over the age of 40)

    Join us!

  • Rob

    Some very good points. I am 61, started playing drums at 13 yr old, switched to piano/keys in mid 30s…. took extended breaks while I pursued a career in science, but went back to music professionally 16 years ago and love what I do. I have two bands (Maya Soleil and Global Heat) and play in a third. I'm looking forward to playing music at least into my 80's.

  • We're a band where the youngest (myself) is 54 and the oldest is 65 and we've all been "doing it" for 30 years each at least. We just released our first CD of originals last year to great critical reviews, but surprisingly, the gigs are still hard to get!! Why??? Our age!!!! Club owners don't think their clients will be willing to accept a classic rock act that is older in appearance and age than their club demographics but who can still rock the stage. They love the sound but the look is still not "young enough for their crowd" (or so they say!). So all the marketing in the world will not fight ignorance but we continue on….. being the oldest rock group in Florida!!! Come on and see us some time!! Sharee and The Relics!!!

  • Sue Velasquez

    Thank you for this article. I was told I was 'getting on a bit' in my late 20s by a charming producer. After a long break I've come back into music at the age of 42 and if my age is a problem for someone… it's their problem! Consumers who truly love their music will not care much about the age of those providing it. IME…

  • marcus davis

    Very good article its very easy to get caught up in that scenario of making it when you're young it also has alot to do with this current media just focusing on so called musicians under 30.I was starting to feel that way myself at some point i'v been playing a long time ,i'm 51 years old now ,i have to admit that the fire is'nt there like it use to be due to the fact that i'm not doing it for a living as i would like but its right that one has to make the effort to reach a wider audience regarding marketing oneself it takes a very huge effort in terms of promotion getting gigs and setting up tours etc.

  • rarcher

    I turned 40 this January. I've performed, written and recorded music since I was 4. I've toured North America, Europe, the Soviet Union.
    I had a great time for a while there.
    I never "made the mistake" of not promoting, not communicating with the audience, not telling them our name, not mentioning merch (or not having merch).
    And to be honest, I stopped caring about "making it" a loooong time again. Like Frank Zappa said, "You want to be a musician? Get a job."
    I think you can keep your feet on the ground and still shoot for the stars.
    Most of my favorite musicians are also old if not dead already.
    So the age thing doesn't matter to me one bit.
    But I do feel like maybe I spent a little too much time, maybe 10 to 20 years too much, identifying myself as a musician, throwing everything into this, missing out on the rest of life and the world because of this. The same thing religious cultists do. The same thing drug addicts do. The same thing gambling addicts do.
    Yeah, hold on to your dreams. But keep things in perspective. And let's not sell people false hopes and promises or try to tell them they're selling out or giving up if they finally decide to do something else.
    I had a great time.
    I'm moving on.

  • I turned sixty last December. I am still learning how to handle good PR and merchandising. I keep forgetting to have a fan e-mail sign in sheet.
    Never stop learning your craft AND the business side of things. There is always room for improvement. Learn from people who are more successful and ask questions you know you need to for your own future.

  • Personally?

    I plan on becoming an over-night success…even if it takes another sixty seven years!…

    Ari Dane

  • I think there is definitely something to being too old. It depends on your genre. No one wants to see 50 yr old punk rockers unless they were relevant back in the heyday. Conversely, a 50 Yr old guy playing country or blues is just fine. I gave up on "the dream" a long time ago. My music doesn't have mass appeal. I'm 37 and I'm a realist. I just do it for fun now and don't care if anyone likes it. I like it and that's all that matters.

  • WONDERUL article!

    I believe that most anyone is never too old to do most anything where the desire and vision are strong enough to do so. I started singing when I was a kid, love musical theatre and songwriting, and have been performing in a band for 6 years now—all kinds of music. I'm pushing 57, an old lady to some and a baby to others, and have learned over the years that the giving of the gift with joy is THE bottom line wherever and whenever I perform.

  • I'm no kid and I'm back "in the game" 3 years now. I have a CD released on CD baby now, my second since I started back at it in 2007. My band works about once a month here in LA (not often enuff for me but better than nothin). When folks come out to see us or actually listen to the record they're always impressed. I've put in place all that I can (CD, downloads, merch, website, blog, and as many shows as I can get). Getting a fanbase/audience together has been slow and frustrating but music has saved my life again by giving me a reason to keep going.

    And, yeah, I ask myself every day if I've lost my mind starting all over from scratch yet again (I've been in bands and soloed as a singer/songwriter for 40 years now)but playing rockNroll is the breath of life to me, so I forge ahead.
    WES DILDINE aka Mister Nervous

  • I'm 61 years old and I've been playing since I was 8. I had my first band at 13. Wanting to "make it" is fine, but I learned a long time ago that you have to play for yourself. That's got to be enough, and it's really the only motivation that'll get you through the dead nights. There will always be less than optimum gigs. Adulation and appreciation are sweet, it's true, but if you're not happy playing, if you're not amusing yourself, no matter what the situation, then it just won't work in the long run. Keep on rockin'!

  • Thank you … At 61 I have a continually growing fan base and I've never been more positive … some talents take longer to grow but are the more interesting for that.

  • Charley

    No matter how old you are……

    Taking stock in your own career and using the "harder I work, the luckier I get" work ethos is paramount.

    And above EVERYTHING else, it's all about engaging the audience with GREAT songs and/or a GREAT performance.

    That said, I NEVER said to myself as I was listening to K-Rock on the radio: "Wow, what a great song, I wonder how old the artist/band is?"


  • John Keaton

    Yeah, he got the right ideas for future business. I recently had a couple of offers on the table from majors and the age seemed to be a factor. They didn't seem to care that I had done more work in building my career and had appeared on more media networks than any of their new development acts. These people will never get on these shows unless they have a number one hit! I did it with meer drive.I will never feel too old to sell my music. I just need people like cdbaby to keep it pumping and the fans to continue to support the Independent Musicians. We can all be winners!

    Country Artist
    John Keaton

  • I am 52 years old and have performed professionally since I was 14. I feel I am very "hip". Check out my website, if I ain't hip I want to know about it!!! I have four cd's out, two national music awards, I spend 2-4 hours a day doing nothing but promotion. Yes and No, age matters. When you are at my age and level of experience you need to pick your materials, stage presence and venue's very wisely. I can tell you I've had looks of admiration from 20 something year olds (when they come up they usually are kids that were educated musically by their parents) and I've had 20 somethings treat me like I am some perverted old man. Sure you can be hip at 50 but look at the persona of ZZ Top, or Reverend Horton Heat. Those persona were well thought out especially for players that are in that age bracket.

    One day in the airport, a 20 plus year old sat next to me, he had a Rev. Horton Heat emblem sewn to his pack. I asked him about it, he said "Yeah I saw him a couple year ago. Man he's gettin' up there in age, he's got to have quit by now." Jim Heath is likely younger than my self!!!!! I wanted to pummel the little bast**d.

    You gotta really think this out as you get older. If you are 52, chubby and balding, that 80's speedo is probably not workin' for ya, like ya think…

  • Good to see an article on this issue- I'm 55 this year & have been a semi-pro musician, playing original material, since my mid 20's. I remember in the mid '80's leaving a well-known Sydney venue after a typically late night & the owner saying to me- "great band you've got there mate, do yourself a favour & lie about your age." I was 28- the youngest member of the band was 19- we went on to a major label deal & it ended in tears, as it does.
    Later this year i release my sixth album & I feel more in my prime than ever- we do our best with social networking & all the marketing bells & whistles but the band doesn't tour outside of festivals 'cos we've got kids, small businesses, mortgages & wives we'd like to remain married to- the tyranny of distance in Australia is prohibitive, but we love what we do, we're good at it & it brings many rewards (only occasionally financial it's true). Every time I think the music biz (what's left of it), is hopelessly ageist & get despondent (still not without some ambition!) I look at Willie Nelson- I reckon you just gotta do it in your own Willie way & you can keep on keeping on- besides it's cheaper than therapy.

  • Jon

    Youth = High Energy/Low Wisdom
    Age = Lower Energy/More Wisdom
    Maturity = Controlled Energy/Sufficient Wisdom

    … go figure!

    A jazz great once told me – "I can tell how 'young' an artist by listening to his/her playing. Maturity is knowing what to leave out" – genius.

  • Great article!

    I didn't start playing the harp when I was a child–I started playing the harp after I graduated college. I started my own business as a professional musician after I got married. I've heard countless people tell me I couldn't make it.

    I make a living at it and I proved them wrong. You can, too. Find your niche and make it real. Age is just a number.

    Anne 🙂
    Author of "The Musician's Guide to Brides: How to Make Money Playing Weddings", published by Hal Leonard Books

  • B Ross

    I'm in my early 60's — and I find this article so true. I've been a pro since ( was 14, and I'm still working as a professional musician, and in fact, I'm busier than ever — and I'm playing and writing better than ever. In fact, since turning 60 2 years ago, I've started a career in another aspect of music: composing for film and video. I simply love it. I've always been passionate about music and I still am. Oh – and my guitarist husband and I have just started a band. We really don't care that we're in our 60's — and plan to ramp up our duo into a full band — make videos, release CDs and do live performances.

    We have a good friend who's now in his late 80's — and he's still concertizing (he's a classical pianist) and he's still playing great. Life's what you make it — and I choose to live it fully and do every day. So can each of us.

    And what you say about being smart about marketing oneself is totally valid. Great article. Thanks!

  • Kelvin B

    Music has nothing to do with age…and age has nothing to do with music…!
    except the music and the vibes will out live the creator and performer for generations to come ,very biblical ,your works will out-live you forever.
    Age does not stop creativity but fear will ,in a world where imortality runs
    hand in hand with paranoia its buisness,buisness,buisness. so right Frank.

  • Mark

    I'll probably catch hell for this, on a site that primarily attracts aspiring recording artists, BUT:

    If your goal is big time monetary success, you're wasting your time and money creating a cd. Now that absolutely everyone knows how to download (steal) music for free, recorded music has little to no monetary value. The "making it Big" aspect of the music industry is over and gone. On the other hand, if you're recording your music to serve as support for your live performances, go ahead. Spending your time and money on a cd project is fine as long as you know that it's basically "a vanity project"; a promotional tool.

  • When I started to take piano lessons at eleven years old, I was already worried that I was starting too late. After all, Mozart had already written symphonies at my age, and I was just trying to learn basic scales.
    When I joined my first band as a singer at eighteen years old, I was sure I was starting too late to ever get anywhere, but still decided to start learning how to play the guitar.
    At twenty five years old I moved to New York to seek my fame and fortune. I ran my savings dry after four months and returned home to Minnesota, certain that my final window of opportunity had closed.
    I put a band together, and for years we practiced, wrote, and struggled to find gigs. I scraped money together little by little and went into seven different studios over five years to record my first CD.
    At thirty two years old, I was clearly over the hill. We released that CD, and it got a tiny bit of airplay locally, then disappeared. The band broke up, but I formed a new one, and at thirty five years old I mortgaged my future by using credit cards to finance the recording and release of a second CD. It made even less of a splash than the first one. I surrendered. For the first time in my life I took a job that would necessarilly take priority over my music "career".
    One night while working at that job, I had the radio tuned to a football game. The game cut to a commercial, and I was shocked to hear my song coming out of the speakers. The radio station began using my songs as bumper music for sporting events! I never saw a dime for it, but it helped me see that my music had some value after all, rather than representing a long, childish phase of my life. I was thirty eight.
    At thirty nine years old I lost my job. Within the same week, we found out that my wife was pregnant with our first child. Out of sheer desperation, I formed the dreaded "cover band" in hopes that I could, for the first time, use music to actually make money. As a big fan of Van Morrison, I had always thought that it would be an ecstatic feeling to sing and play his songs backed by a great band with a horn section. I was right.
    Last month, our band opened for CHICAGO in front of 15,000 people. We got a standing ovation. The following week, I turned forty eight.

    The moral of the story: You are not too old, my friend. Rock on.

  • wil

    Interesting thoughts… I would first say that if you want to play music in front of people, you should do so no matter what your age. (There's a guy playing around LA, Bill Tapia, who's over a hundred.) That said, there's no getting around the fact that as your age increases, your marketability usually decreases. This is partly because the majority people who like to go out on a Saturday night, watch music and stay up late are young people. They've got the disposable income, and they don't have kids or general fatigue keeping them home. And I think there's a factor that everyone's aware of, but is not often commented on. The relationship between a performer and audience is a bit like a courtship. The prettiest girl or handsomest guy is going to have the most suitors, and good looks are more common among the young.

    Of course, occasionally there's a resounding exception to this rule, Susan Boyle probably being the most recent one. (She's a fascinating topic; I've written about her in depth here:

    Anyway, I enjoyed your thoughts on the subject.

  • I'm 46 and proud of. I didn't know I could til I was 30! I went down to Nashville and was heard by some major record labels. They all thought I was great, had the whole package, but was too old….at 30!! They'll sign a young, wishwashy, inexperienced bellybuttoned pierced gal, who will 99% of the time is a one hit wonder, and they throw them out on the road, and because of their youth and inexperience can get away with getting them to sign recording contracts that aren't in the artists best interest, the kids can't handle all the fame and fortune, and most turn to alcohol or drugs because it wasn't all they thought it would be. For the more mature artist, most of us are married or in stable relationships, have been around the block, will not settle for record "deal" that isn't fair to both parties, and has the maturity level to handle the fame & fortune stuff better. Wouldn't it be in the record labels best interest to have someone with a better long term future factor, than a young one hit wonder who eventually leaves the industry burnt out, disillusioned, and shattered. IMO if you have the look, the personality, the vocals, and stage presence, who cares what age it says on your drivers liscence?! Willie Nelson is how old and still selling out shows…..age is a number folks…dont' let it stop you from pursuing your dreams. Sarah conceived a baby in her 90's in the bible, ….when God feels the timing is right, and you are doing right by God, he will make your dreams happen or take you where He wants you to be!

  • Robert Jacobs

    Thanks you SO much for printing this. It's a problem that plagues me daily. It nice to have a cheering section that isn't unrealistic.

  • I really needed to read this. As a professional musician for the past 25 years, it can be amazing and discouraging as well. These thoughts have run through my head weekly, if not daily. THis really puts it into perspective. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Jim W

    Well, I started my career when I was 17. That was 32 years, 1 amazing bride and 2 sons ago. Somewhere along the line I got off the bus. Nowa decade later, I'm contemplating chartering a new one! As mom used to say ( usually about girls) "if you can live without it, do so; if you cant, then you've found the place where you belong", or something similar.
    Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Bill Mabrey

    Thanks for encouraging us "old folks". It really depends on your definition of "making it". I've been playing professionally for over 40 years. Made my living at it. Played in bands, solo, orchestras, radio commercials, filled in for missing band members, and hired for other artists recordings. I still do. Modern technology has enabled me to produce my own recordings for sale (at minimal cost) AND get paid to record other people's bands. My goal at the outset of my career was to make a living playing music and not have to work a regular job. I think I made it!

  • Scott's right on one point. I just saw Herbie Hancock Saturday night in Chicago and he's still pushing boundaries and making amazing music at age 70. And Les Paul held down a weekly gig in NYC 'til he died last year at age 94! Besides, "making it" is such a relative term. Nobody asks people if they're "making it" in their pursuit of a career in, say, plumbing or architecture. Define what "making it" in music means to you and don't let anybody tell you different.

  • Thank you for your post! This is absolutely true and there is no time like the present. Without self promotion, no one will get to know how amazing and talented you actually are.

  • The question at the core of this article is not necessarily age, but rather the question of what does "making it" mean to you. If it means playing Wembley Stadium or singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl, you've got a lot of work to do. If it means filling 60,000 seat venues, again, a lot of work to do. If it means playing to a room full of people screaming your name, it still means a lot of work, however, the work load is probably a lot more realistic and managable. I'm fast approaching 50 and have been making my bread and butter from the music industry for over half my life. As Scott James said: "You have positive things going for you right now". I came to that realisation some time ago. It allowed me to comfortably adjust (which doesn't mean rationalize or justify) to the reality that I had made it in the music industry. I was, and still am, making a little bit of money in a lot of places; and I'm doing that every day with what I love: MUSIC.

  • Great Article!!
    I'm still plugging away at 57…lots of great gigs still come my way. I'm working on another CD and in addition I recently started doing workshops in schools….(& what a great audience they are!!!) This past week-end, the club I played was "up dancing" most of the nite to my covers & originals. When Taj Mahal or BB King or Mick Jagger "pack it in" I'll know what is a good age to stop "plucking on my axe" and doing what I love!!!

  • I'm 37 but music makes me feel like I'm about 22 and have just 'reinvented my career' and became a speech level singing teacher. Love it

  • This is a question I often ask myself. Parts of the 'too old,' adage are true: This is generally not a business that rewards experience over the energy of youth. It's disheartening to see the club circuit succumb to the same criteria of American Idol. I cannot tour (full-time job, mortgage, family) like I used to, but not sure if I would want to if it even presented itself. So, for you younger/non-tied-down folks, especially those in the 18-34 bracket (the years when my body felt consistently 'good', not achy), this is the time to hit the road!

    On the other hand, I feel at 46, I sing and play better than ever. And, thanks to CDBaby, I sell the occasional song/album to various parts of the planet, which tells me someone is listening and enjoying, and if that isn't reason to 'continue to persevere,' I don't know what is.

  • H.M

    In a way I'm glad that the BIG thing didn't happen to me in my early 20's.
    It was going well for me, I was in papers & tv but something was holding me back.
    I now know it was me holding myself back & for a good reason.
    I wasn't ready.
    I know it now cause I feel ready now, I'm 35 & this past year has been the greatest in terms of songwriting, musicianship & personal growth.
    I have a strong feeling now which I never quit felt that I can do it & I'm doing it!
    so just like you say, it's still doesn't mean I can seat on my bum & wait for someone to help. It is still my responsbility to promote & in fact , have a dialogue with my audience.
    So thank you for writing this article, it came just like everything else – at the right time…

  • It's never too late! I'm 45 and recorded and released my first cd last year (on CD baby – Adrian Heath). I bust my ass telling people about the launch gig and it was sold out (200 people) and I talked about and showed the cd on stage and sold 45 of them. Most importantly, I'm playing music a lot, writing a lot and loving it.
    Make it happen!

  • "Most musicians you know" sound like they need to grow up and live in reality instead of adolescent fantasy. I hate the stardom myth. We end up where we fit usually, if we work at it. Most musicians I know are just trying to make a living…. Many musicians, myself included, make a living by taking themselves off that pedestal and getting to work. Being a bit flexible and saying "yes" to any gig… And above all playing for 2 people or 2000 as if it was their last gig ever… Playing for themselves and the people, not some future goal of rock-stardom or whatever. It is amazing the unusual places people will pay me to make music. Sometimes you gotta play for the room a bit and sometimes the room is a farmer's market or a party or whatever… It also takes a long time for many people to actually get good at this music thing. Especially in terms of creativity…. At 41 as a 20 year veteran I finally feel like I write a decent song sometimes. So it depends whether you are interested in doing good work or in getting some kind of big-media attention.

    "Fame don't take away the pain, it just pays the bills." -Fred Eaglesmith

  • An intruiging article. I must admit I was hoping for more, as at the age of 47 I am firmly of the opinion that I am too old. Right up until a year or two ago I never used to think so, but after having so many doors slammed in my face when those very same doors are open to largely talentless 20 year olds, I have to concede. Self belief can only take you so far. I have a modest but loyal fan base who believe in my music but even they have learned to live with my disappointments. I have invested much of my life – and my money – in my music career, and there has to come a time when you have to wonder if you're flogging a dead horse… or at least a very old one.

  • God bless you Terry Walsh, never give up man, I felt that brotha 🙂

  • I read this article with interest and found myself disagreeing with much of it.

    "The audience pays money for the value they get from the artist." Maybe they did once, but in my experience, this no longer necessarily holds true now. Certainly younger audiences don't really care all that much. They're part of the iPod-wearing 'it should be free' generation.

    "Would you not pay for a great artist who was 65 years old?"
    I probably would, and you probably would, but the majority of audience my band ends up playing to every week wouldn't.

    "So if people are willing to pay for good music then what’s standing in your way?" Which people? Again our generation have an appreciation that is generally no longer present in the younger audience. They have more of a "take music for granted" attitude. For us older folk music was more of a collectable, but for the kids today it's more a consumable – and usually a free one at that. It seem if they're going to pay for good music it better LOOK good as well!

    My band plays regularly at bar – a venue who's average age of the patrons seems to be getting younger. These 20-somethings are not interested in us, for them it's probably like watching their Dad's get up and play. And it's nothing to do with how good or bad we are. We're good. But we're older, and not nearly as appealing to this audience as the hot young eye-candy that also plays those evenings. The change in general vibe is substantial. When we're up we're mostly background noise, and only the few patrons around our age seemingly take an interest and offer encouraging feedback and applause. But as soon as the young boys get up… or more particularly the hot young blonde the place comes alive, regardless of the dross they may be churning out.

    In my experience age absolutely does matter. Ideally you have to choose your audience, but unfortunately we don't get to select who patronizes the venues we play. We're wasting our time trying to appeal to the 20-somethings and they are not interested in "value exchange between the audience and the artist" when the artist reminds them of their parents.

    But as someone mentioned, we do have an aging population, and there's still plenty of baby-boomers around, so potentially there is an audience out there for our music, but I rather suspect most of them prefer to be at home these days – in front of the TV, with a cup of hot chocolate.

    I certainly agree that you have to take 100% responsibility fro your career. I have and I do make a dollar, but I make it from helping other folks peruse THEIR dreams, not from the pursuit of my own. I record and produce and encourage others. And in fact most music hosting/promoting/distribution websites like this one do just that too… make their dollar from supporting YOUR hopes and dreams. And at the end of the day, they're the only one's making any real money.

    For me, music is largely for my own enjoyment these days. I released my 10th CD last year – and I think I can now safely say that CD sales are not the way to go in this day and age if you hope to make a dollar from it… some get lucky of course but the odds aren't great.

    "Good things will happen in the real world when you step up to the plate" Feel-good statements like this can't really be substantiated. We like to read stuff like this because it fuels our hopes… and music websites want to continually fuel this hope that most musicians carry, because when you have hope they have cash flow.

    A cynical viewpoint you might say? I don't think so….

  • No, you're never too to make it in the music business: but, it is a long, timely and expensive process to get there. You need tons of energy, motivation, connections, and money to get there, so, the later that you start, the chances for success become minimized. If you are a truely gifted musician with unusual skills, there is always room for you! If you are an average-to-good musician, find some folks to jam with. I started writing my songs and studio producing them in 98-99 when you could copyright a song for $10 and no one had a home recording studio. I don't have to tell you what things are like today!

  • Sachel Paige once asked:
    "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?"

  • One of the best concerts I ever saw was Merle Haggard (my parents took me with them as a birthday present) 8 years ago. He was 65 at the time, and his lead guitarist sat down for the whole show because he seemed much older, but my eyes almost never left that old man with the ancient telecaster.

    Thanks for this reminder of what really matters!

    Best Regards,

    Laurier Tiernan

  • Sherz has nailed it. Unless you were famous in your youth and had an audience then it's nearly impossible to get an audience later on. Folks get married, start families, and stay home watching the big screen. The 20-somethings go out and party, and they don't want to see dad and mom on stage.

    I think there may be a future in old folks homes though. The next generation (my generation) will want rock & roll just as the last generation wanted the type of music they grew up with. So do it if you love it (as we do), but don't expect much of a monetary reward regardless of how much time you spend networking on myspace, twitter, and facebook; or otherwise actively promoting your woundrous artistic creations.

    If you are over 40, and doing it for any reason other than love of the music and the process of making music, you are kidding yourself! Like it or not, the mass media is a culture of youth, and in most towns folks loose interest in live music (except for stuff they are familiar with) by the time they reach their 30s.

  • Everyone's journey is unique. The Soul Calls ( came late in this life and I've wondered more than once why at this age was I given the assignment to share them with the world. But the answer is always the same: Divine Timing in all.

    Two quotes have been mainstays:

    Paramahansa Yogananda gave this affirmation about the peaceful balance between doing your best and leaving the rest to God:

    "I will reason, I will will, I will act, but guide Thou my reason will and activity to the right thing I should do in everything."

    Shakespeare said: "To thine own self be true and it shall follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false unto any man."

    My truth is that I am blessed by the gift of bestowal and production; the process and journey have been the gifts; the outcome of value is that I have learned to be true to the gift, centered in my "assignment" and surrendered to Divine Timing.

    Abiding peace to all,

  • I think that once you get to a certain age, you are no longer willing to kill yourself to have some kind of music career. I just turned 58 and have been playing in bands since I was 13. I have 2 cds out on CDbaby and just recently completed a band effort that I will probably release later this year.After a while, you weigh what you have to go through to play the gig to what the outcome might be and frankly, sometimes it ain't worth it. I'll still play for fun or if the situation looks interesting but I'm not willing to fly to New York in the hope that some recording exc will look past the age and see the talent. Thats for the younger people to experience, I remember when I used to go for broke on any opportunity but I'm not like that now.I agree with Sherz.

  • Ito

    Never too old, age is just a number to remind you of the thing's you do has
    we go through life.
    If you are comfortable enough, and have the abillity to do it, i will sit and
    enjoy, becide it always nice to hear good music ware ever you go.

  • Scott,

    Great article! It's definitely an issue I think about.

    I'm now 43, I played my first show when I was 30. It's taken time but I'm doing pretty well for an indie artist in that I tour and don't have to do anything but make records and tour to support myself and my family.
    But the days of me thinking that I was going to get signed to a major label are far behind me. I do believe that the majors (you know the ones who might actually give you a 4 million dollar advance) are looking for a long term investment and if you happen to be say, 20 or 30 years older than Britney Spears was when they signed her, I think that seems like a serious cap in their investment. I do also believe that there is a mindset in the majors that their demographic is kids and teens so I'm sure when they look at me they wonder, "hm, can I sell this middle aged man to a 12 year old?" lol!

    However, the upside of that is that when I accepted that major label success was probably not in the cars for me, I was able to focus on making it happen for myself without anyone's help and as you said took 100% responsibility for my career. Things have been pretty good ever since. And while I'd love to believe I write great songs and am a good performer, I do believe that the majority of my success has been due to the fact that I've kept in contact with the people who came to my shows from the very first one. I had a mailing list back when that meant you MAILED things to people… as in "in the mail!" I kept up with an e-list, a website, myspace, facebook, etc… and I encourage people to keep in touch with me at every single show. It has really paid off.

    Thanks for telling it like it is! ; )


  • Thanks.
    I'm dangerously close to the big 6, but am recording my best stuff ever. Hard to find places to play? yup. But one of the bands I play in ( not my favorite one ) had an enquiry from an agent. We talked about it and decided it's not what we want, or are able to do.
    Will I ever, or do I want to play huge audiences? Not really. Music is an important part of my life, but there's a lot more too.

    J.J. Cale just turned 70, and his new album rocks in his own inimicable way. Huge encouragement. Atta boy J.J.


  • Closer to the mid-century mark than most 'struggling musicians' out there, we also know it does nobody any good when the music industry is slanted to the youth market, promoting youth-ness. Together with this big bias, is the 'pull strings' network, i.e. those who are in pulls in whoever they like and ban whoever else from entering professional working life.

    When this goes on for all your adult life, you are bound to be angry, down, frustrated, depressed, and likely to give up, bitterly. Recently I heard that the CEO of CD Baby came into town and got together 'all' the artists signed on to their website. Well, not all – small timers, old farts, what have you – whoever they do not see as important to keep in real contact with – were not included. Is this typical? Alas, it looks more and more as I go along promoting my work that it is.

    So it is not only an age issue that is a problem in this industry. There is just too much working against anyone 'outside' and any factor – age, race, gender – oh, you name it – can prove to be the factor that does not get the artist any work, nor the artist's recordings any sales or attention they deserve.

    Is there anything we can do about any of this? I wonder too. Besides keep on keeping on? I wonder…

    It is deeply heartbreaking to have your dreams and vision shatter for the sake of ignorance, isn't it?

  • This was a really great post! I'm 19 and already I fear that I'm too old! isn't it crazy!!??

    I think it's hard when you have people like Justin Bieber making it at such a young age!


  • Scott!

    You always seem to say the right things at the right time. I can only believe that with age comes experience, wisdom and talent expressed as an artist has figured out it should be. It's funny that so much of the 'youthful' music actually comes out of the heads of 40 and 50 year olds. My favorite thing is to watch an older writer with just a guitar and great words who has arrived…

    You're so cool….

    I'll definitely mention my name at my gigs…


  • A really great read tonight. I am 53 and I have a cross over career of performing for children as well as an adult contemporary vocalist. 15 years of music business with a really great musical partner. (it would be extremely trying for me to work at this business alone). I don't worry to much about my age. I am more concerned about my health. I have a pretty good voice and can get better but I know now that I can have a long career only if I maintain and/or improve my health as I age. I stopped drinking 3 years ago, haven't smoked in a number of years, have to watch my diet very carefully as I am a Celiac and have low blood sugar problems and avoid coffee. I am actually getting healthier and feel younger all the time. Lots of stretching is paramount. Talk about working hard at something.
    I struggle constantly with the pain of having to do the "business" part of my career. The reality is, musicians need to play, sing, write and you need to constantly try to keep doing what you are supposed to do (perform) or want to do. Don't let the business or management of your operation slow you down. As soon as you can, get someone to help with that stuff and get out there and play.
    Making it for me would be to make enough money so that my wife does not need to work at a second job. I will have hit the jack pot when I can make a living and record 2 to 3 CDs a year. I'm shooting for at least 90 as a working musician and that means over 100 recorded albums. What a ride it will be.
    Get out there and play.

  • I'm in my 50's and have been writing songs since the age of 15 and performing and recording consistently for about 25 years, in both English and French. I currently have 5 CDs for sale at cdbaby, and am working on a 6th release. I seriously thought I might go to my grave without any kind of recognition, but have nevertheless always put out the highest quality recordings I could manage, on a very limited budget. Miraculously, the French album I released in 2008 was nominated for and subsequently won 2009 Album of the Year in Motif Magazine. That same year I produced an original vampire musical. Ever since all of this happened, the pressure to "make it" is off, and I've just been having fun. If no further acclaim every comes my way, I'm more than satisfied because I feel I've had my 15 minutes of fame.

    I share this story now, hoping to encourage and inspire other people, that if they never stop believing in themselves (and yes, promoting their music every chance they get!), something wonderful like this may happen to them.

  • Thanks for the article! At 39 I panicked that "someday" was going to pass me by and took responsibility and got back into recording after 10 years away having kids, building a day job career, etc. I take great inspiration that some of the artists that I like and I think appeal to the younger demographic (eg. Death Cab, New Pornographers) are in their mid-30's to early 40's. Granted, they have been at it since they were 20. But still, older nonetheless.
    I also think if you are making the music that you would like to listen to, then no matter what your age there will be like minded people who will listen. Perhaps your music will mature with you. You don't have to play punk rock when you're 60. If Kurt Cobain were alive, I highly doubt he'd still be screaming. The music world has changed in the last 10 years, but for better or for worse, it is way easier to do it all yourself…and why shouldn't you, no one will ever care as much about your music as you do.

  • All I can say all those youngsters had a lot of good comments. I play music because I love it. I have a lot of lifetime friends with my music and that is pay enough. I and my brother had a band back in the 40's and when the Korean wore broke out I was 21 and had to go serve my country. I played some while I was in the service but by the time I got out I was married and had a child. I didn't play for over 30 years but when I retired I got back into music. Yes you guessed it, I'm 81 years old and going strong. I play country but my passion is western music. I do a lot of yodeling even at my age. I have buried two wives and recently I have remarried and my wife who is 72 years old has learned to play the bass to back me up. So as soon as she gets real comfortable with the bass she will start singing and we're gonna do a lot of harmonizeing together. Life has just begun again. GOD bless you all. Del

  • TR Kelley

    Promote! Publish! Push! Pthbhthb! If i wanted to be in sales, I'd sell something big that people want, like real estate. If there is no demand for your product, all the hard work in the world won't sell it for money, period. Old people should not attempt youth markets or the club/pub mate & date scene, what it God's name would be the point? Daytime festivals, weddings, wineries and places that mature people go is a more logical choice to make money playing music. Sure you can't point out exceptions. But size does matter, and so does age. 🙂

  • Thanks for the article Scott. Judging from the replies you received there are those who have forged onward no matter what and others who have seen it as an eye opener. When I was a teenager we had a great 16 piece Big Band and we rehearsed in a barracks on the school grounds at 7:00 AM four days a week where Boogy Blues and Intermission Riff reigned supreme. In 1973 I migrated to Australia with my four children and became a Permanent Resident 'cause I couldn't give up my American Citizenship. Wait for it! In 1978 the music scene here wasn't doing so good so I began putting Jazz groups together on the Gold Coast. 1985 age 48 I became a professional actor and capped that off with my last film "Crocodile Dundee in LA" with Paul Hogan at the age of 67.
    Having sold my business I made a come back with Big Bands on the Gold Coast I was 70. I then made my first commercial CD "Duke is Back". Thanks to local CD sales and the exposure I enjoyed from CD Baby, sales came in from various parts of the planet. This coming September 26th I've been asked to perform at a prestigeous "Southport Arts Festival" with my Quintessential Jazz Group Trio. I write this not to show people how great I am but to help empower others with the belief that they can accomplish more. Some refer to me as "Good Ol' Duke" and a seven year old kid trapped inside a 75 year old body.
    This year I've been asked to record a Blues CD.Tony Bennett is in his 80's. Say no more.

  • Age in Music…What a topic…I play drums (combined 5 piece Kit + electronic Kit) The one thing I can say about age is that at 62…I can finally afford my passions and have the time to pursue them with passion…I've raised a family, built a home, started and run several successful business'…and I've discovered that success is a state of mind…not how may people love you or how much $ you have(although, as the man said "Richer is definitely better) I and my 9 Friends started a Reggae band almost 20 years ago and we are still building a dedicated following and finding more talent and skills within ourselves than we ever thought we had and so we keep growing..the youngest guy in the band is 48 and oldest 68 and most of us are past 60 and retired…

  • Impressive & inspirational! Thank you for this article! It's our hearts that matters! ^_^

  • Very good article and good comments from people who are really living this life in the underground…i hope everybody get their 5 minutes of fame but here is my 2 cents…I'm a 30 yr old hip hopper…rapper/ producer who went thru a bad situation with a small label when i was younger…i didn't know anything about the music business but the label agreed that my talent was the grace of God i got out of that situation..guess this is the point where most people say "i quit", because a lot of the people that were part of my team at the time couldn't handle the reality of the situation…they thought we had a time limit to get famous, but i tend to look at everything as a learning experience…to make the rest of this story short, i proceeded to use my time interning with labels and industry friends that i bumped into on the way…i sooned realized that it probably wasn't going to happen on a major label, so i started my own and vowed to do this til my casket drop…and thanks to all the pessimistic individuals who don't have self motivation, and the ones who said i should be sittin up in sum strait legged slacks and a tie on, workin for someone else, i'm doin it…No, I never expected to be a million seller because i know that real music is not for everybody..but Yes, i did get out and find my own lil market and released my cds…i now have 6 street albums that all sell well in the small area(6 cities) that i release them in..guess the point to this story is that it's your life and if we want something, we gotta go get it instead of waisting our careers waiting on a major label to pimp the hell out of us anyway…i havent sold a million on a big label, but while my partners were waiting, i was out selling over 10,000 cds myself and haven't missed a meal yet…KING HANIBULL…"MIS-UNDASTOOD"…COMIN SOON!!!

  • and if you don't have enough cd's at your show.. maybe have some 'rain checks' where the person can get a cd postage paid by you.. or pick 1 up for a discount on the small inconvenience, etc… lotsa ideas ; )

    Neal Visher

  • I agree with you 100 % I just turned 50 and living in Austin TX.
    (The Live Music Capital of the World.) As you can imagine there are a lot of great players here. Yet I manage to work as much as I want.

    1. I use an electric sign to advertise my Cds and email book.
    2. Also collect emails on my I-phone for group texting.
    3. Use facebook and email my schedule from my website weekly.
    4. Create brunch shows and early afternoon and evening shows.
    Better for the over 40 crowd and it works great.
    5. Deeper lyric content on newer originals for older fan base.

  • Amen to that: Look at Tommy Emmenuel from Australia. Considered the best acoustic guitar player in the world, and in his sixties.
    I released my first album on CDBaby at age 50, and I recorded my second at age 59. I'm sixty now and playing any place I can.

  • Great article although I feel that the argument is a bit oversimplified. The end point is very valid though.
    All this talk about touring, gigging is easy to talk about when you drive a car and can get around. Now, how much could you do if you didn't drive a car? 🙂

  • I returned to singing/songwriting at 44, after 18 years off. I was lucky for awhile. At 44 I was still getting carded for alcohol. I played over 60 paying gigs a year. I released my first CD at 48 to rave reviews, got some radio play, did the tour thing. By the time I turned 50 people weren't buying CD's anymore and everyone wanted to know where they could download my songs for free. I couldn't get a paying gig 'cause all the young, new performers played for free. The older I got, the fewer the gigs…even the free ones!
    Of course, the songs I've written in my 40's and 50's are better than ever. I'm still very proud of my CD and have hundreds more songs to record. Without performance $ or sales, I can't afford a professional production. I asked a (younger) friend how does one make a living as musician if you don't get paid for gigs and don't get paid for your songs? His answer….sell T-Shirts!

    • Then the obvious question- what do you do when everyone else is giving away the T-Shirts? (for the advertising)

  • Thank you all for sharing your thoughts! Some inspiring stories and great attitudes!

    I think there's two ways to look at it – as though the world owes you something or as though every connection you make is a gift. If you think the world owes you something then you're probably missing a lot of the little miracles that are going on all around you that are really what life is all about. If you're grateful for every smiling face and every person you're able to connect with then you're never too old to make it, because you're already making it.

    So the next time someone asks your age, tell them proudly. If they have a problem with it then that's their problem, not yours. You know what's important and you've got more important things to tend to – like giving your gifts to the world – one person at a time.

  • Thank you for this article!
    I'm 63, still doing a couple hundred appearances a year and have no intention of retiring until the day I can't deliver a quality show.

    As to "making it"…
    To hell with the bright lights, drugs, and groupies.

    It is an honor to simply make a decent living doing something as wonderful as making music and leaving your audiences smiling. All my cars have come with 100,000 miles on them, but they get me to the next gig. I sleep well at night and get up excited to another day of simply going to work as a musician.

    • Dusty Woods

      Sounds like me. I’m 64 and thought I’d retired a couple of years ago (after 50 years in the biz). Thought I was too old. Now I’m fighting to get back into it. Can’t let the kids have all the fun! I may have lost a step here and there but I can still outperform most of the younger set that I’ve seen (sorry to brag, but I’m just going by what audiences have told me).

  • Lucky Jean

    This makes me think of Mississippi John Hurt, who recorded a little bit back in the '20s of his amazing fingerpicking blues and then sank into obscurity. Many years later, in the '60s, someone went looking for him, and found him on the same farm he'd been on for decades, old as the hills but still able to play that guitar. He spent the last years of his life playing folk festivals for adoring fans.

  • I've refrained from commenting all day but after reading from the first post (when I received this D.I.Y. newsletter) until now I have to say that their are some people commenting who just don't get it. One person was knocking his audience for being "twenty somethings". If that crowd is enjoying your music either your doing something wrong or they just aren't into your type of music. So…..find a crowd that is. Don't keep playing that "establishment" and blame them for your misfortune. Most others who have commented seem to understand that music is reciprocal and "you get what you put in". I've made, played, toured music for 15 years and counting myself but I do it because I love the art. Simultaneously I understand that the industry is tough but it's certainly not impossible to be successful. That's all I have. No insult meant. I just thought I'd be a younger voice among the crowd to say follow your dreams and don't fall victim of the stumble. Get back up and work smarter not harder but most importantly make music. There's a lot of people in the world who can't but will certainly appreciate that you can.


  • One of my greatest inspirations did not wind up "making it" until he was 75 years old. His name is Clyde Forseman, he had passed on, but lived a life as an accordion player that played with different bands, toured a little bit, but was very connected to his wife and family. After he retired from his job as a carpenter he started playing with Those Darn Accordions. He travelled the world and ladies threw condoms at him and begged to have his baby. He taught me that you just never know what will happen, and who cares in the end as long as you are enjoying the process and making music.

  • Great artical, that's exactly the way I feel about it.I'm part of a duet called TwoChe and we just released our CD on CDbaby. I'm 57 and my partner is 66, but we're not letting that stop us from going forward with what we both love to do. The CD "Touch" is one of the best brand new old school r&b cd's one would want to hear. My motto is, "Don't give-up, don't ever give-up".

  • Fingers of Fury

    If something as trivial as age or lack of fame or monetary success can shake your faith in your own music, I would question if you ever had commitment to it in the first place. Music is bigger than you or your dreams and gives you direct access to GOD. So, shaddyup and play yer gueeetar!

  • It's alway's nice to hear things that motivate you at any age. If your a songwriter it's not alway's easy to like the music you make.we're all real judgemental when it comes to the music we write. A friend of mine alway's say's if you find a little something you like about what your doing there's people out here that are going to like it to. you just have to find a way to introduce them to you,and what you have.

  • I think all musicians,singers,songwriters have to understand that there is no music business as used to be,large financial record contracts etc….once this is accepted which I did about two years ago I was able to assess my situation as a singer songwriter.First I was 50 years old and I needed to create an image to suit my age.I took a look at the various markets and decided to target the blues genre and therefore I had to write music to suit.I created the character Mr H,with stuble growth,whiskey breath etc,set up a good foundation e.g. myspace,website,places where future fans could check me out..I recorded a few songs and released a cd to radio stations,magazines etc.24 months down the line I've had much radio play,great magazine reviews and reasonable financial accounts from streaming,downloads,royalties althought not near enough income to make a living.I'm now playing blues and jazz festivals,this weekend i'm at aber jazz in Wales uk,I'm supporting Jerry Donahue on a tour next year and have been lined up to support Slack Alice a successful 70's blues rock outfit in the uk and europe and this will be in the lyric theatre which will be sold out.I learnt late that the word Arts is short for artificial and this is now everything I portray in my image,but we're in the entertainment business and the audience does'nt care if your real or false,they just want to escape to somewhere away from the realities of real life.Two words I was quoted when I commenced this project were by an old agent who said just remember Harry PR stands for propaganda and the other word being exploitation.
    Age is not important its all about marketing.

  • vince durrell

    I am a 43 year old RnB/Soul singer, and having come up during the funk era and into the hip-hop era, I think my craft is more relavent now than ever! I grew up in and around LA, so i always felt like someone would just walk up to me on the street and hand me a record deal (never happened obviously). I did everything i thought i needed to do EXCEPT self promote. I have a brother who was living in the UK, and decided to finally give him a visit 3 years ago, while widening my musical ambitions as well. It was the best move i've ever made, because it made me have to get out of my comfort zone, and since then i've toured Europe with a tribute act, playing to thousands of fans at a time. I went on to do what i'm doing presently, which is, singing lead for the legendary DRIFTERS!! I also play a lot of function gigs i.e. weddings, and corporate gigs with a band called Absolute Funk Band, aswell as doing solo stuff to track through an agent. So I'm a busy YOUNG man, and it was all because i decided to take some initiative in my own success. One more thing I'm in the studio writing and producing my own music and writing for other artists as well. My name is Vince Durrell. One of the groups i write for is called Ghostt, check em out on youtube.

    thnx for such an inspiring article

    peace! Never say die

  • great article and toughts!!!
    we are artists and time and life make us better-not older?!?!

    thanx a lot for inspiration

  • Great article, love it, thank you!!!

  • Age is relevant… look at ol' Susan Boyle…she never dreamed of making it in music and look how well she did a her 'mature' age.

    If you're 50 years old you might have a better chance at gaining fans closer to your age than fan 20 or 30 years younger.

    Take a look at who is getting record deals these days and what is the average signed age and what is their fan base demographic?

    It all depends on one's goals as a musician and what one defines as "making it".

    Too old to rock and roll but too young to die 😉

    Ross Phazor says ROCK ON everybody!!

  • Thanks for this article!! When I was little, my dream was to grow up and be a famous singer, but I only knew what that was based on what was "out there". Now, I my dream is still intact, but the fame and fortune look much different to me at 47. I've been a wedding singer, bar and club singer, written originals, recorded my own CDs. I'll keep writing and recording because I love it. I sing because it is like breath to me. I don't care about "making it" anymore. I make a living through music which is amazing to me and now, there is a research project about to begin with the music program I created for the elderly. Who would've thunk it?!! What I do makes a difference; to me because a life without music isn't a happy one for me and the people who hear me sing feel good. All of those people who have been forgotten have a moment or two of connection through the music and it is truly amazing. We must do what we love… and music is one of my great loves.

    Having said that, I need to learn how to market better and remember to bring attention to my CDs and my name. I get so lost in the music and the people that I forget!

    Thanks again and I will be singing until there is not breath left in this body…

  • Born into a musical family was father was a professional guitarist who played with Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. I'm also a second cousin to Carrie Underwood. My dad always had a solid day job where he worked for 34 years. He always played music on the side because there weren't enough gigs then in Bakersfield and he had a wife & 3 children to support.

    I had my debut performing at the high school homecoming dance singing with a band at 14 years. I did what my parents wanted, graduated from college, got married (we are still married) and had two children. I never wanted to pursue my music because I was too shy and did not like performing. In 2006 I wrote my first song, in 2009 I put out my debut album called Out of the Blue which is my own 12 original songs which I perform. The album is dedicated to my father who passed away in 2003. I have been on a journey I never would have expected in a million years. It doesn't matter about the age, what really matters is that you are doing your music and loving it. If you are able to do that and tune out what everybody else thinks, you are actualizing a dream. Dreams are ageless!

  • Question? If you were the owner of lets say the Los Angeles Lakers who needed to sign more players for the future of your franchise , who would you sign if these were your choices….
    A# 35 year old baller from Venice Beach who dunks on everyone and is at the top of his game as a all around basket ball player..
    B# 23 year old baller fresh out of school who dunks on everyone and although is not a %100 at the top of his game yet , is a great all around basket ball player..
    Who would you rather invest the next 10 years of your money into? Now I want you to think very carefully about how this question relates to you musicians who are trying to "make it" in the music industry.

    Now ask your self what do you really want in life? Why do you love music to begin with and why did you start doing it?

    Remember this! Every business is different. In some businesses age does not matter but in others it will. If your trying to establish your career with a wide audience, the biggest target will be that audience that is easy to influence and can relate to you or sees them self through you.
    Who buys posters and stickers and even c.d.s anymore?
    Young people?
    Make music …. But don't go into business unless you have a chance at being successful in the field you choose to pursue business in.
    AJ Lopez
    Band "theAMBULANCE"
    Album "removals"

  • Mark

    I so needed to read this. I'm 45 and just started performing 3 yrs ago and am trying to keep the desire going. It's been tough of late but I'm getting a second wind these days and this blog just gave me a stronger gust in my back…

  • LeeAnn Anderson

    You made my day. Your observations have a far more reaching effect on not only aging musicians but for all of us that may feel we've "missed the boat" on whatever our imagination and passions have fueled our minds but somehow never were actually accomplished. Mostly the fear of rejection or insecurity guides our actual actions, the action of doing nothing. Not acting on one's dreams is a choice and articles like yours give people like us the inspiration that just might give us the strength and courage to begin each day doing something that guides us in the direction of taking hold and to nurture the opportunites that surely await us if only we open our eyes and move forward, in other words, making the choice to being the best person we can possibly be and feeling the exciliratin in accomplishing whatever it is that brings us joy.
    Great observations Scott, thank you!

  • Lthrboots

    Anyone who says "you are too old to be performing/playing music in a band" needs to be directed to the Rolling Stones website. They are practically ancient, yet still make millions.

    I am 45 and didn't start gaining music credibility until I was 40, but then it really took off and now I actually see a great career within my reach.

    I see young bands who laugh at the older bands, yet the older bands have more loyal fans….why, because they are passionate about their music, and simply don't want to get on stage to get girls or get drunk….well, not all of us LOL…..we are doing it for the love of performing, and that is what will take us farther than the carbon copy bands popping up everywhere.

    Take a look at the bands from the 80s and 90s. They are hitting the stage once again in full force, especially in the Industrial/New Wave genres……so you can't say you are too old to be doing this..

    …go for it, be confident in your music, be unique and just smile when people say you are too old to be doing this….because you know better than that…

  • hi there
    thank you so, so much for writin´this 🙂 now i HAVE to know, WHAT was this amazing rock band you saw whos members were all in their 80s? i wanna see it! I hear tell Dica Nulan gave a pretty astounding show in Boston in the late 90s(she was one of arnold schoenberg´s most dedicated students, wrote books abotu him and all, but from I hear showed up in Boston to do a crazy art rock show, hurray!). All ages and stages of life have musics to offer us. . . . .anyhow, thanks agaiN! 🙂

  • I've been making a living as a guitarist, singer and artist for years but it wasn't until I honestly came to terms with the things written in the above article, that I really started to enjoy being a musician. I was constantly living in a dream and fluctuating from crazy positive that I was going to get "discovered" to downright depressed and on the verge of giving up (I quit a few times actually.)

    It's hard to do, but forget about fame, forget about fortune and build a CAREER! You may get discovered and shot to fame, but it's almost certain you won't. That doesn't mean you can't live an extremely fruitful life as a
    musician and bring joy to many with your music. Start close to home and then spread out slowly.. there's a whole lot of potential fans in your town.. you don't have to live in New York, L.A., London or wherever.

    A fan wrote to me the other day saying her mother had cancer and she was having operations. This lady (the fan) said she listens to a song from my album called Spring Song everyday to cheer her up. I don't need millions of dollars or gigs in Wembley for that to make me feel on top of the world.


  • Calder McLaughlin

    FAntastic article..

    Its all up and downs in this biz…, and you are only as good as your last show… sometimes i feel there is no doubt i'm gonna hit the illusive "big time"… other times i wonder why i bother..

    I am coming up to 30 and have worried i'm getting past it in the next couple of years..

    bvut you are right… its all about offering your audinece something as an entertainer and offering the escapism and enjoyment people want from their music..

    I know i can do that wherever i go… i've just gotta keep hold of every single person who shows an interest and try to make it grow..

    thank you for this article..

    i will play forever coz its a ll i know … there is plenty of time to make it happen and to get some kind of fanbase..

    hopefully enough of one to see me through my life through my love of music..

    hopefully enough of one to headline the pyramid stage at glasto!!! but i aint expecting everything…

    jsut keep building on what you';ve got people… success happens in the present, i like that..

    i often say success is a journey not a destination… enjoy all the gifts along the road..

  • Hey Scott,

    I totally agree! I'm 45 and the old music career just gets better and better every year. With age comes experience. I'm playing better than ever before and more relaxed. Each gig becomes more exciting than the last as I continue to grow as an artist. I'm looking forward to each year to see were it takes me!

    Best, John Gilliat

    John Gilliat – <a href="” target=”_blank”>
    Ottmar with a Twist, Passionate and Fiery Rumba Flamenco Guitar

  • Wow, this is an issue very close to my heart! I'm 54 now, and after 30 years I find myself playing with the same guys I played with in my early 20's. In the late '70s / early '80s, we definitely felt rushed to "make it" before we were too old. Now we are driven by something entirely different: we absolutely love playing music together, and just want to do it more and more! Slowly but surely this is affecting the people who come to see us, and we are now growing audiences in NY, NJ, VA, NC and SC. In Fredericksburg VA, we regularly have 100-150 people show up specifically for us, and they cover all ages from early 20's through 50's. (And we actually get paid!) We're huge fans ourselves of '80s new wave rock, and are blown away to see young adults dancing and singing along to the "classic alternative" tunes we cover, and to get requests for our original songs which to many of them sound like '80s songs that they never heard before. We've never been happier doing what we love most.

    What I want to say about the age thing is, it's all about preconceptions and how people are programmed to think and behave. Defy these things, because they are just habits that need to be broken. We're proud of our age, but we don't tend to talk about it because a) it immediately makes people think differently about you, and b) the music, the energy and the connection with people are all that matter. Don't clutter your head with ideas about how the world "really is", because if you feed into these ideas then that's how the world really will be for you. Better to remind yourself that anything can happen if you're ready and open to it, because it can. Occasionally you may run into close-minded people who can't see past the fact that you're not in your 20's, but so what? They're not for you, so move on and focus on your real audience — it's out there!

  • wow, all very good comments on "making it" in the music business! after reading some of them, I have come to the conclusion that being a successful musician means different things to everyone. one size does not fit all…I do agree that knowing "who your market is", is a must, otherwise you are in for a lot of disappointment, but the age thing doesn't have to matter when your market is older also. you just have to find the right avenues to reach them. the internet has made the world flat and we are all on the playing field at once. seems like there is no "sure fire way" to "make it" in the music biz, but if you learn all you can about marketing, I think you have a better chance at selling more product.

  • it is a totally positive gesture to create music – hopefully original, possibly covers – because some things need to be said and felt. The joy of performing is either a big hug or a disconcerted shrug. After almost forty years of pluggin' away at the local music biz, I am both excited & content with my ability to discover a glimmer of inspiration for new songs. Though I still practice irregularly and occasionally do gigs @ coffeehouses or other social events which are geared to a wider age group, I am insistent about living in the moment. Aspirations are modest so success is limited but meaningful. When I speak with younger talents, I approach them with the idea of ability & desire and craft & development. It is a shame the current state of the music biz has changed so drastically from my youth, but it is the idea to adapt and accept the present that allows me to get beyond the aging issue. My wife & I still go out to hear newer acts in a roomful of "kids" and often the music is stimulating, challenging, or resourceful, and sometimes it just doesn't resonate at all. There's so many genres of music available and sometimes it just takes time to discover its voice. Our values for fine entertainment haven't changed, just like the many products that hold no personal interest. The dream goes on forever if you want it. As Mark Twain said: "Age is an issue of mind over matter – if you don't mind, it don't matter!" So true.

  • sadly this is not all together true.

    i am 56 and have a betetr than average resume. i have been the lead guitarist for some "big names" and some not so big that look good on a resume. i have for extended periods of my life made a very good living playing guitar.

    yet, i have been told in no uncertain terms that i am "too old" for good paying gigs that i am completely qualified for and would have gotten 10 years ago.

    am i giving up? not after playing professionally for over 45 years, but the truth is no amount of merchandizing is going to change the very real prejudice the industry has against older performers.

  • Hi Everyone,

    I feel better reading all these comments – I'm not the only one who gets discouraged! I have had a day job for 11 years at the folk musicians union Local 1000 and it has been hard at times being a helper on the sidelines for those who do their music full-time. But Now that I am 40, I see things with more perspective.

    I am glad that I sleep in my own bed every night, next to my partner. I am glad that I don't have to pressure my creativity with survival issues because my money comes from my day job. Because I am not living on the road and spending 60 hours per week booking myself, I can focus on attracting (well, that part's done) and keeping a wonderful mate, and being there for our relationship. We own our house and can make our mortgage payments. We have two little kids now, and I am home every night with them.

    So many of my union members are struggling in one way or another: money, health insurance, self-booking, competing against others for the few good gigs… It's such hard work, and those with the most energy and especially the workaholics are the ones who build stable careers. I have never been a workaholic, and my energy in my 20's had to be triaged to healing from childhood sexual abuse.

    I still feel sorry for myself sometimes: "If I hadn't had to spend my 20's in therapy, my career would be somehwere by now…" But if I hadn't done my healing work, I'd not only be a mess, but I wouldn't have written songs that help others heal. If I hadn't written those songs to get them off my chest, I might not have discovered being funny. Now, my entire career is built on those two types of songs. I realized that my niche was valuable. And the older I get, the more I have wisdom to put into songs. And it's so meaningful when a listener tells me how my songs help with overcoming trauma.

    Now, I plan to combine my music with training as a therapist, and offer workshops and sing and speak as a lecturer. I've done this combo already, but I think with a MSW degree, I'll get more gigs. They won't be sexy rock-star gigs, but I don't need those anymore. Although, I am actually sexier now at 40 than I was in my 20's, so I could totally rock the stage better than ever. Maybe I'll rock some stages one of these days. For now, I am playing my instruments (violin & guitar), deepening my craft, writing kids' songs (occasionally), jamming with my pre-schooler, and learning new genres of music on my violin. It makes me so happy to sing and play (on violin) jazz, blues and bossa nova! I never thought I'd enjoy cover tunes so much. It brings me great joy. So the music is alive and well in my life, even though it is a tiny percentage of my schedule.

    I think keeping my passions around me gives me balance. I believe that balance is the key to happiness. I have to keep my hobbies going or I feel rotten. Music is not a hobby; I call myself a semi-professional musician, but it only pays for itself, it doesn't pay the bills. But I find that the more I sew, swim, jog, sail, paddle, paint, look at art, draw, etc., the more sane and happy I feel.

  • Rory Nickell

    Given the extraordinary power of American Idol to stock the airwaves and award shows with their winners & finalists, precisely how many of them are over the age of 28 (and as far as AI is concerned anyone close to that old better be a fabulously flamboyant celebrity seeking hound)? In fact, in recognition of the need to capture the real talent pool in American the producers have actually lowered the age from 16 to 15.

    And when it comes to the music gods in conference rooms who have niched marketed and study grouped the death out of this business is there ever actually a concern for musical talent regardless of age? Name me one act, again over the age of 28, that these people actually pony up the money to produce and promote (Susan Boyle may come to mind but, that was a special wet dream for the makeover people)? Anyone you see on the charts or on the boards and does not fit the industry’s ideal that musical talent is the sole prerogative of youth then they are doing it entirely on their own dime. And in this golden age “pay-to-play” music business we’re talking endless streams of money because that is the only “talent” they're looking for from old people. They call it taking a stake in your career. Frankly the only “new” old rock stars I’ve seen come to town and backed by the business are movie stars doing 360 deals so they can promote their celebrity golf tournament and their latest movie.

    The truth is age does matter because of simple economics. Youth have limited avenues to spend their money and the mythical lure of highly niched marketed “music” is practically the only place they can exert their buying power. But once these youth reach the age of having to work in careers, buy homes and having children their money quite naturally flows in a entirely different financial steam. And I would suggest that the only time the music business can get these wandering old people to come back to the stadium is when some band(s) from their youth is pried out of retirement for a reunion tour.

    So I would agree with you: given relative doses of desire, technical and musical proficiency between someone who is 15 and someone who has been playing for 60 years there is no doubt the latter would be a better musical and entertainment value. But that doesn’t even vaguely mean they “can make it” and hang out with Justin and Miley. Quite honestly I believe the Beatles would have a helluva time of making it into this business if they just started out at even the ripe old age of 28.

    But, say your name and sell merch is not an answer, that comes under the heading of duh!.

  • The world needs older …. everything! (wisdom, discretion, patience, experience, etc). The older we are, (theoretically) the more we have acquired to share! This applies to our music. Older musicians are just older people who have MORE to share. Regarding "success" … only a few "musicians" make it BIG or become FAMOUS. But, that also applies to "athletes", "chefs", "writers", etc. Big isn't always better (sometimes:) Musicians change people in the moment. That is powerful stuff.

    So – just keep changing the world. I am a Children's Musician. With simple musical presentations, I affect both kids and their parents. Keep it simple; keep it honest; change the world. Trish Miller

  • Some smart agents and producers should get on with these casting calls: 'American Yodeling -Yet-Idols', 'Dancing with the Old-Stars', 'PROVE You Can Still Dance', America's Got Gallant Talent and how about the 'Feeble Follies'. I think I would audition for all of the above.

  • Thank you for posting – needed to hear this. Upon my 27th birthday last year, I took a break from my main passion, music. I felt that since I hadn't gotten to the point of living off of music income by then, then I needed to face reality and give up, or re-evaluate my goals.

    After a year's hiatus and finding peace in not feeling that constant, desperate frustration with my music career not being more substantial despite having a successful marketing career/chops, I feel like I can now take a stab at music differently. I'm only skimming the surface (haven't dove back in fully yet), but I feel a new confidence and artistic/strategic approach that I lacked when I was so afraid of failing.

    LCD Soundsystem was created when the lead singer was 30. And look at Lucinda William's or Zazie's careers.

    Pop artists definitely need to be young when they start. However, as you mentioned in your article… that's not the only road to take, and isn't necessarily the most fruitful.

  • whatsold?

    If you're goal is to play "pop" music or any of the varieties of "rock", specially live, then age is a factor. On the other hand, if you're goal is to make music without boundaries then age shouldn't matter at all.

    Case in point: Josef Zawinul.

    Created some of the most progressive and adventurous music of the past 50 years and did it right up until the day he died; well into his 70s.

    My advice if you want to have a long career in music: stay clear of POP and you'll be OK. 😉

  • Great advice, Thanks. I'm 53 years young,started performing Full Time 3 years ago after I retired from my Day Time Job. I'm not getting rich but I'm now having a blast doing what I Love.

  • Musicians are musicians at any age. Musicians will always value quality. I am very grateful to be part of an unusual musical community in the Blue Mountains NSW Australia. I have just turned 49 and I still feel 16, although I feel 18 when I go to the local pub. A friend of the band talked to a bunch of young blokes in their 20's after we had played our first set. They were openly honest and were not expecting the world when they saw us, however… after our set of original music, they were honestly blown away. I think Dave our drummer is in his mid 50's and they were completely turned around from their original ageist attitude. So, at the end of the day…. just do it !! At what age do you stop creating ? I really needed to read these articles tonight, thank you everyone. Yours truly (Not completely) Reluctant Steve and his friends 🙂

  • Kyle

    I'm 40. I played my first live gig – ever – in a heavy metal cover band at age 37. I played my first gig of my original metal songs with me original band three months ago. I guess I've played about forty gigs between the two bands over the past three years. They've been small shows but it's still a blast!! The audience is usually in the age range of 30-45. I could care less about the twenty-something crowd although there still are quite a few younger people in the crowd. I play solely for the love of the music. And women in their 30s and 40s are still hot! On the flip side, when I am in the audience I have a hard time taking bands under 30 seriously so IT GOES BOTH WAYS!!!!!

  • Too old to make "it" (wealth, celebrity, excess)? Sure. Too old to make music or find an audience? of course not!

    I am 40 years old and have been playing with a band of 20-somethings for 2 years now. It's my 12th or 13th band (I lost count) and the best I've ever played in. The bandleader can sing, play AND write his ass off. Nobody in the band cares that I'm 12 or 13 years older than the next-oldest member, though it is a bottomless well of good-natured jokes.

    I understand the emphasis on youth in popular music. Every generation is entitled to music they can call their own, that belongs to them (which is why I feel so sorry for this generation!). Ideas, styles, genres have to be re-explored and replenished, and only the young have a vested interest in that… why would older musicians innovate when the sounds of their own heady youths played such a huge role in defining their own identities? And true talent is more exciting even when it's awkward and raw than mediocre talent that's more developed and assured.

    But all great music has an audience. The quality of the connection with the audience, not the quantity of that audience, is still what counts.
    That's way I am rather disappointed to hear so many people here blathering on about "making it." I guess most people in our age group grew up in the golden age of popular music, when money and fame fell like rain. Now that the golden age has closed, I would think more people my age would have realized that those days were the exception, not the rule. I also hope they realize that the lure of all that money, fame and personal indulgence may have in fact overshadowed our real mission as artists: to write and play in a way that touches the soul.

    I'm glad the "golden age" is over. Sure, tons of great music was made, but now musicians (present and future) face a real gut check: is this really what I want to do with my life? Only those artists who need to make music to live, who would become the walking dead if they stopped performing or writing, will still make music. And that's just how it should be, I think. There will always be an audience for such artists, regardless of age.

  • Carl Virden

    Music is talent related, not age related. The best musical talent I have ever seen is also older, more seasoned talent. Just yesterday I was given a CD while on the film set of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. The music was written and recorded by my new friend Alan Gray. He is a superior talent in his "golden years".

  • If your goal is to get rich and famous, you're making music for the wrong reasons – in fact, music isn't even your focus. This is why so many young artists who get quick fame also disappear from the radar rapidly.

    Your music is not only your passion, it is also your craft and your life-work. Your 'job' is to create music that people want to hear. Yes, you have to 'find' your audience as well, but if you aren't delivering anything any good, then you better well like what you're doing because that's all your gonna get.

    Finally, even if you are amazing, talented, and have great songs, there's no guarantee of financial or public success…. but if you don't put it out there and let people know you exist…. then why do you make music again?

  • To be a performer perhaps there is more pressure to make it, but not as a composer. The best composers get better as they age. When we talk of value in music, lets not forget that some composers don't make music to have value to others only to themselves and the community that understands their art. I point you the Milton Babbit's youtube video "Who cares if you listen"

  • Don't forget the millions of baby-boomers who are about to enter their golden years! Who knows this group and their musical tastes better than those of us over 40? I've been playing jazz on my concert grand harp for years and have recently switched to playing all rock classics all the time for my boomer audiences. Everyone loves Led Zepellin, Neil Young, old Aerosmith, King Crimson, Todd Rundgren, Stones, James Taylor, etc. I sprinkle my originals in there, too, and find myself with alot of work. The biggest surprise has been the number of under 25s who know this music and go out of their way to come talk to me about it. Playing it on the harp is an added bonus for my listeners. I guess my thought is this: if you play music people love and it tugs at their heartstrings or memories or makes any connection at all with them, it really doesn't matter how old you are.

  • Patrick

    I like the article, yet I wonder if the underlying message is to be on purpose rather than outcome. I would have love to play music as a primary source of income, but the stark reality would be a life of economic uncertainty compared to the great day job I have now. Yet playing music with the perfect combination of musicians, venue and audience brings about an indescribable sense of serenity and personal fulfillment. The "in the moment" feeling is what musical expression is all about. I let go of "making it" long ago and in my late 40's, I'm a much better musician than I ever was in my 20's. It is my belief that those of us with musical aptitudes need to have a healthy outlet for them. For those who want to make it their primary source of income, it is possible, but it requires a great deal of hard work and perseverance. I personally believe that present day mainstream modern music is nowhere near the greatness of the mid 20th century, yet there are lots of great older musicians out there who do a great job preserving the mid 20th century greatness of American Music.

  • age baby is just a number..get out there no matter what age you are and do your thing..share who you are..experience in life comes out in the music..picasso was once long did it take you to paint that painting..he replied "75 years" and leonardo da vinci lasts words were;" Io sono un bambino dell'arte." meaning I am just a child of art…what we haven't done is so much larger than what we have no time to waste my friends..if you feel like going on stage at 88 years old go and do is a stage and don't you forget to all that risk no matter what there age is..Mark PInkus

  • Just turned sixty in January. Here in my neighborhood, Hell's kitchen, I am known as the Hell's Kitchen Rock n Roll Legend. That's because my performances contain the energy and abandon inherent in Rock. I can't help it. The music is in me.
    One other thing I really dig is that a bunch of my fans are twenty somethings; including my son who just turned twenty-eight.

  • The very day I graduated from UCSC in 1981 I flew to Amsterdam with 2 friends to play music in the streets. I was playing hammer dulcimer. We played to survive, had lots of fun, lots of fights, lots of adventures. The following year in Basel, Switzerland, a stranger in the street offered to record us in his farmhouse outside of town. He gave us a few cassettes when it was done and I thought, hey,…let's throw a few of these babies out on the street when we play and see if anybody buys them: Our incomes quintupled instantly! When cds first came out in 1985, we were the first street act to make them. Then we were REALLY making money,…driving nice vans, buying houseboats in Amsterdam, summers playing in Copenhagen, Oslo, Florence, then wintering in Spain and Thailand, la-di-da…really living the dream. Between '85 and '97, I figure I sold over 250,000 cds on the street…all self-manufactured with NO middle men. Eventually, I hung it up and now own/run a prehistory museum on the Dingle Peninsula on the west coast of Ireland. I still play for visitors, sell my cds here (I busk in my own house,… how cool is that?!)and do the occasional concert. I never ever for one minute placed any stock in the conventional "music business", but took it to the street and flapped my funky-ass flag in the breeze to see if anyone would salute. Many of my best friends still do it fulltime in Europe and make a decent living at it, though cd sales are a lot tougher than they used to be. Some of these dudes are in their 70's.
    In my own experience, the point is (points are):
    1) Look hard for a nice, less obvious, perhaps overlooked niche to exploit that suits your fantasy.
    2) Like the song from 'Gypsy' says, "You Gotta Have a Gimmick", not some cheesey one, but something truly different and worthy…some new angle….and for godsake…be feckin' great at it!
    3)Always struggle to keep learning/creating new material or you will get bored and/or spin out.
    4) Be self-sufficient…don't rely on those who don't rely on you.
    5) Learn from failure, it's the great teacher, and failures along the way are inevitable
    6) Sometimes playing music for a living can wear you down until you don't even enjoy it,…then it's time to give it a rest. Play again when you're ready, do it because you love it, and find some other source of income. Harris

  • Kyle

    I already commented but another thought popped into my mind. The age thing is actually more of a barrier in the commercial music industry than it is with the actual audience. To teens, over 21 is ancient, to the 20s ancient starts at 35, to those over 30 age is basically not a factor. That being said, young people do not really even reflect on what age really is. I took my 14-year-old niece to see Whitesnake last year and she developed a crush on David Coverdale – who was 58 years old! She had him as a screensaver on her computer.

    Age is a factor to the major labels but they are dying anyway and have to cross promote their 'stars' in movies, TV, and other areas. So the 'stars' are no longer just musicians they are multifaceted marketing products. If that's the life your after, it goes way beyond music, which would not be of interest to me even if I were still 22.

  • I've always figured it's best to embrace what you fear so that it no longer scares you. G Goran Liddy was scared of roaches when he was sent to prison after being convicted for his part in Water Gate, so instead of living in fear he overcame it by the eating the roaches in his cell.

    Not as dramatic, I was bummed that I was too old to get on "American Idol" so instead of pretending that I'm still a young kid, I put together an American Idol Audition Parody song and video called "Too Old For Idol" and released it on the same night as the begining of the 2010 sesson. The local Fox News Chanel picked up the story and ran with it, and I got more milage out of that than most of the contestant that were "young enough" to audition for the show.
    20,000 youtube hits later, I'm still getting airplay from it. see it at or search you tube or google Michael Riser.
    "It's never too late"

  • Michael Jones

    Musicians have long expected some magic dude from the major label to come and make their dreams come true with the big label contract. Now, the major labels don't really have much over the little guy (TuneCore is now the largest record company, with over 50% of artists selling music through the major music consumption channels represented through TuneCore) except marketing contacts and money. And if you sell, the majors will pick you up because of that. The new rule in the music game, YOU must bring the fans.

    What is Pop music anyway, it's what is popular … that's all. But popular with whom. Ages are now a demographic. An artist may sell 1M copies and reach the top of the Adult Rock chart, and sell 0 copies to folks in the 12-25 year old age bracket. They STEAL their music anyway! So who cares what is popular to a 14 year old. The record labels didn't sign Ke$ha for her deep thought provoking lyrics or musical abilities (Auto-tune … hello), it's because they could turn her into a spectacle and sell a few records but sell Billions in merchandise.

    So does age matter? The question is "To whom does age matter?" I guess if you want to sell T-shirts of you in a T-shirt and posters and Pepsi then yes, but if you want to sell music than age probably doesn't matter as much as one would think. There are a lot of people out there of ALL ages that will buy a good song because they like it and it's priced reasonably. Find out who listens to the music you play, and then sell it to them. Fans come in all ages, sizes, shapes and colors. If you a dictating who your fans will be without considering what music they like your career will be short lived.

    It's a brave new world … embrace it!

  • Hi my name is Texas Joe Valles…I read this article and I loved it ..! I am already in my mid 40's…never been married kids…but seems Ill have a new girlfriend soon ha ha ! I have a radio show..7 years running ! .in South Texas..Psych Rock 101 on KMBH 88.9 FM Harlingen Texas..(sorry not on the internet for now..).and 2 bands Valles Flying Machine..and Valles Spaceship…I hate the fact im looking older…but im not afraid of growing older because i am growing wiser.,.I have finished alot of goals…graduated from college with honours in 2007 from University of Texas…and the older I get the more haRDCORE i AM ABOUT MY LOVE OF MUSIC namely rock and roll..I love psych rock..jambands..prog rock ..classic rock..folk..Americana…jazz rock…Canturbury..Krautrock…and everyday I hear about a cool new band or a coll old band from yesteryear…its great…I am about to get over my ruff period..and have been doing shows and getting good responce to my music…and it is hard living in South Texas for many reasons…but here is where God Placed me …and this will be my starting point I have learned alot about the music industry thanks to Diskmakers AND OTHER COOL MUSIC SITES..and I do believe you have to promote yourself alot..and never stop…but do take a rest if music is what you love…Im about to put out 3 cd's by the end of the year..and Diskmakers makes it a wonderful and fun experience to work for..I wish the internet and all this info was available to me back in the mid 1980's when I decided to go "pro" but screw it ..ill make up for lost time now…even if your looking old…if you feel young and driven in your heart about music you gotta keep going…a big hello to all out there and wish you the best
    texas joe valles
    leader of the
    Valles Flying Machine

  • Leonard Cohen, Depeche Mode.

    Age ain't nothing but a number!

    The days of the major label savior are so over. You have to do it yourself.

  • I began singing at two and wrote my first song at eight. I'm now forty-four and still get the same thrill out of composing, recording, and performing music. Music has really kept me very young and strong. When I perform I think people worry I'm going to faint from exhaustion because I can go 4 hours straight solo doing high energy. It's just a passion that you are born with that is contagious to your audience no matter how old you are. I'm completing my debut album and going on tour. Keep on Rockin'!!!

  • Dave

    If Susan Boyle can suddenly get a career at 47, anything is possible. She's not 20, and doesn't have a very typical image, but she became an overnight success. There's a bit of the novelty factor, for sure, and the author of the article is right. Waiting to get "discovered is not the right way to approach it, but the media environment is changing every day. The backlash against empty, corporate pop, where image is elevated beyond its place, is growing. Not sure an 80 year old is going to get signed to a record deal, but if you're able to put on a good show, and have material people want to listen to, then I believe success is very possible. The youth obsessed culture we live in is a relatively new phenomenon also. Things can change very quickly.

  • Rock Until You DROP!
    Really if you love to do it…than do it!
    Watch It's A Love In, Baby! the NEW single from Miss Kristin

  • Greg McVeigh

    Sadly age does seem to matter in this day and (no pun intended) age. At least in terms of touring and performing live or more specifically finding venues and promoters who will work with an artist in his or her 50's. I don't think it is age per se as much as the desire for fast returns on whatever the investment may be. I manage a singer named Rick Elias and we go through all sorts of hassles trying to get gigs. Yet once we have him on stage the audience loves the show. To the extent that a young artist can exist on lower financial gains and often is unencumbered by life's "stuff" they often do have an advantage. But to my mind it is an artist and a song and a performance that counts. Some people like Justin Beiber and some people like Neil Young. Personally, I'll take the latter.

  • i say make music until you're dead; it's a language of communication that reflects the age that you are in the moment of making it so i look at it like, embrace your age and the music that comes with it, after all we can't do anything about the time passing, and what is success anyways, that's a personal thing for everyone. music is expression and as long as we're alive and have the means to create, it makes the world a better place to have music in it.

  • Rigelto

    I'm gonna be 50 next month. I paid my way through college singing and playing my guitar. Never became famous but always found a way to make a few bucks out music. Even when I began a career in advertisng I kept playing in bars, restaurants, and anywhere I got called (serious…cockfights (I am from Puerto Rico), funerals, wedding rehearsals, supermarket alleys, baby showers). I quit advertising and have been making a living with music for the last 20 years. Not rich, not famous….but many friends, countless stories, many loves, and many good tears… and one or two trips a year without debt, a comfy house, a car that runs well… and, above all, I can still go anywhere safely and have a few beers and play pool and be myself. For me…that is making it BIG Time.

  • I agree and disagree…we have to decide between musicians and popular "artists". Musicians can be of any age, as long as they can deliver….
    Popular "artists"??? well, if you are a pretty young girl, or a pretty young boy and some S.C thinks he can make a fortune selling your at best dubious "talents" on the X-Factory, great…
    The music world is FULL of these "artists" making loadza cash because they sell their bodies…most can't even really sing. But they sure look good. And it's all about the look. Has nothing to do with music in my opinion…

    Real, working musicians? I think age does not matter, if fact, it can even improve your music.
    These young things with nothing real to offer? They are all forgotten in a few years…
    Career? Stay true to the music and the sentiments of the first post here, and least we will stay real and be able to look at ourselves in the mirror….

    On the other hand, we all now compete for our live gigs with the guy or girl with a bunch of CDs or a laptop…the DJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (ok, some can actually USE ableton (amazingly great software btw…)…

    long life music!

  • Thank you for this post because I was having a hard time with the "5-0" thing. I just turned 50 and was beginning to wind down my career in my mind. I recently did an industry event gig and was approached by a world class producer to do a new record. There is new energy created when we work "in the present". When we can let go of our aging self image and eliminate any negative self talk, we can choose to replace it with an attitude of blessing others with our own unique talent. Our wisdom and experience can be the platform for creating the best music of our lives. You don't find success at the end of the road, the success is always found throughout the journey.

  • Ask Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings if they are too old. The may be too old for the majors who only want the Gagas and The Beibers, But they are making MILLIONS on tour after being turned down for ten years by ALL the majors. You're only restricted by what you allow yourself to be restricted by. Start your own label,make your own videos,and get yourself on Itunes. If you're good,the public will FIND you.

  • Kyle

    One thing I learned over the past couple years is if you are an older musician jazzed by the idea of creating your first CD, don't sink a lot of money into getting 500 or 1000 replicated physical CDs produced UNLESS you have documented PRIOR existing demand for them (i.e. LOTS of people explicitly begging you for a physical CD). It is hard for established local acts to sell 1000 CDs, let alone recording amateurs (let's be honest). If you're alright with giving them away as a promotional tool fine but don't expect to make your money back on them. Amateurs doing their first CD should do a MAXIMUM short run order of 100 physical CDs (duplication NOT replication). Probably even cap it at 50 and order more as you run out. I've made more off digital sales on CD Baby than I have through sales of physical CDs and wish I would have used the money I put into physical CDs elsewhere. Having a fancy replicated CD with six page full color booklet does NOT make much difference. A burned CD with a two sided piece of cover art (color or not) in a slim jewel case is really all you need. I've met people who got airplay with a plain burned CD-R with the name of the band written on it using a black Sharpie. Other merch (t-shirts, mugs, keychains) is a better investment than physical CDs in my limited experience.

  • Grandpa Bill

    You are never too old to "make it" as long as you believe you can. Sure, as you get older some of the age barriers start to show up. Most of these are from people who are insecure in their position, including other musicians and club owners.

    I am 53 and played my first paying gig at age 13. In between I have toured, quit, raised a family and now playing again. I was very concerned about being "too old to make it" when I got serious about playing professionally 5 years ago. It didn't help that on more than one occasion I was told I was too old for the band. Lately I have found a groove with a few bands where age is never a concern – it is your skill as a musician and your personality. Yes, we do draw a diverse crowd – precisely because we put on a great show!

    One of the bands I am with is a reunion of sorts. Guys that played around Chicago in the 70's getting together to make some fresh, original music. What a difference 30 years makes! The ability to speak musically has grown in each of us, as has our confidence in ourselves. No need to hide behind a massive ego. Add to that our life experiences of working "in the real world" that make us much more savvy in promoting and generally having our act together.

    Bottom line – being older is a lot more fun!!

  • As a blues player, the older I get, the more authentic and the more marketable I become. In my field, there really is such a thing as being too young and too pretty!

  • I am 53 in October and I have just released my second album on cdbaby – show me a younger band with a sound hotter than I got. The next album after this (I have almost finished my writing) is sure to be even hotter – so true, its value exchange. If people like how you sound and will pay for you to make records and do live shows – then you got what it takes in music or anything else you are into – thing is there is now this old school crap I hear like some kid invented music. Well my first album was made at about the age of 23 (I was signed on to a label then too) – but my sound now is like a zillion times better – cos I am so much wiser. Big Up for the author. Peace and love to everyone else.

  • Michael Ray

    Comical paraphrase of the old Tim Sweeney workshop which had far more valuable insight into how to market yourself in any genre at any age

  • Lamar Mason

    Like Jethro Tull sang – "Your never to old for rock and roll but your to young to die". I'm a singer songwriter who is working on promoting myself but it is hard to do. There are many talented musicians and most of them are copy cats and imitators, I do play some cover songs but feel it is much more of a challenge to write and create my own songs. I have been influenced by so many different styles of music from the Blues to Zydeco and can't stand to listen to the radio much anymore because the stations only play what is selling or was popular and I guess that is great for those bands and artists whose music is selling or popular. There are not many CD's being produced these days that you can say the whole CD is good and with the internet and single downloads who wants to purchase a CD these days that only has a couple of good songs. There is so much good music to discover and most of the people only know what they hear on the radio. I enjoy freeform jamming myself and have been fortunate that I have some friends that I jam and record with on a weekly basis. We don't practice what we are going to do but just do it and sometimes the results are fantastic. Like Ringo Starr sang – "Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues, And you know it don't come easy" – thats the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth ! If your not performing, creating or playing music because you enjoy it then why do it ? If you can make money performing, creating or playing your own music then thats the ultimate goal. I'm 50 years young and still believe in dreams and have many more songs that I've written that I would like to record. If anyones interested check Itunes, in the upper right hand corner is a search bar, type in Lamar A. Mason and check out my CD called WITHIN, 14 original songs created with a little help from some good friends. Keep playing that rock and roll or whatever music suits you, don't give up on your dreams and have a good time !

  • Lets all stop and think about Vincent Van Gogh, who sold one painting in his whole life, to his brother Theo, no less. Gee, if my sister buys a cd from me, then i guess I,m in the same sales bracket as Vincent.
    What ever happened to Art for Art's sake.
    Are we making art to make money, or to make art?
    When we write and record, or preform out, isnt it because we are hooked?.
    I would play for free, and sometimes I still can't get booked.
    I think most artists or muisicians forget about leaving a legacy of their art. I dont care about what i make when Im dead…but I do care about someone hearing my music once Im dead….
    I want my grandchildren to say,,,heres a mp3 of grandpa experimenting with feedback when he was 52 years old….or….heres 40 tunes that grandpa wrote and recorded after 40 yearsolde….I want to inspire my children and their children to create art for art sake first, and worry about the almighty dollar second….No one can listen to money when youre dead….only music….and the same goes for writing, art, and poetry,,,,,ART FOR ARTS SAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Us old guys can outplay the youing guys for a number of reasons,,,
    1…were baby boomers,,,we were raised to think young,,,not to get old
    2…the music from our generation is feeding the kids of this generation…why?
    because music today is at an all time low when it comes to originality
    rap and hip hop…is almost on the level of a retard in special ed….they cant even think of an original chorus….so they steal old hits and fill in a bunch of garbage lyrics about drinkin champagne and killing people…all in a monotone voice that would put Paul Robeson to sleep…..
    There isnt one band out there today that people can say…i know ill be seeing them in 30 years….
    The internet didnt kill music….todays youth is killing music with its dummy down lyrics…and totally crap rythym sections….can anyone see britney spears performing in 30 years…or the black eyed peas,,,,now theres some dummy down music for u….nothing original at all is coming out of music….
    its the old musicians,,,,both broke and rich that carry the torch of inspiration for the younger crowds…all of them who listen to zeppelinn. black sabbath, the ramones, stones, beatles, hendrix, etc
    Forget the money…LET YOUR FREAK FLAG FLY, all of u young puppies….cause us old guys are blowin u away…….

  • At 60 and after a wonderful career singing professionally for almost 40 years, I'm finally almost finished recording my first CD. I recently started a blog and posted this last week.…. "You gotta be bold" was the advice from a friend and why not? If you've got a healthy passion in music or anything, live it large! NOW is the best time!

  • I can really relate to this. Thanks. I will use what I have and be true to myself, the music and the listener.
    I love what often happens to older musicians…the experience and relationship comes through in a single note.

  • I just want to say that I am managing a new artist that had written songs for years and always wanted someone famous to sing her songs. About 1 1/2 years ago, through the collaboration of her producer and myself, we convinced her she needed to sing her own songs. She is in her late 40's and absolutely beautiful!! Fast forward to today and she has a cd out and we have worked our butts off to promote her. She is living the dream so many only dream of and it is fantastic!!! Look up Dee Dee Fisher cd: That Ain't Right.

  • Been performing professionally since I was 9 years old, 55 now….Never even thought about being "too old" until I read this article! Why worry? If you truly love what you do, and are still able to do it, (no matter what it is) what does age have to do with it? The older I get, the better I get, and the less competition I have!

  • I'm a few days away from my 53rd birthday. I started my solo career at 48, after 30 years of being in bands, and thought then to myself "What am I doing? No one cares about an old guy like me!".

    I couldn't be happier with my musical life. I continue to compose and record every year; I'm not making a living at it but my music sells through iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, etc. I hear from folks all over the world how they like my music and what it has meant to them – I would NEVER trade this for "fame & fortune"!

    Yes, I wholeheartedly believe in Art for Art's sake. I do music because I am compelled to do so…really, I can't help it. My motive is for the music to be what it is intended to be for the listener. Every note has an intended purpose and I strive to find those notes for the sake of the listeners. Composing new songs is not about what I'm going to get out of it.

    I think the "music industry" – that alone ought to be an oxymoron – has done all the polluting of thought in that a musician's worth is found in his/her ability to become famous. We're finding out in today's world that music worthy of hearing comes from many sources, musicians at all levels of monetary means. I for one am glad to see the somewhat demise of the "music industry", and hope it will fully collapse. Why? Because I think this is helping a lot of fellow musicians see that their gift remains more pure and relevant to listeners when not whore'd out to a record company.

    Music for music's, and the listeners, sake!


  • It seems we have concensus – while the "industry" may be looking for youth, the audiences just want to be entertained, and we all get better at that the longer we work at it. I'm sure there are many artists that "hit it big" (whatever that means) past retirement age simply because they hit the right combination of their art and hard work with some luck.

    I gave up trying to make it in music in 1975 (see for some real laughs) and got back into it, playing coffee houses, in my late 40's. Since then it has just gotten better and better, and while I haven't committed to playing a schedule of gigs (yet) I am having a blast writing new tunes, doing my solo act (,,, and playing with three mostly non-gigging bands (working towards recording with 1 of them that plays original material, though).

    Now I'm pushing 60 and I LIVE for my youtube hits as well as the parties, jam sessions, open mic nights, etc. where I play. I don't see anything ahead but getting better, writing better songs, and having more and more fun. I am playing and singing better than ever, but more importantly I'm enjoying the heck out of it. Anybody want to jam? I play everything from Bach to punk rock and free jazz. My motto is "Why mess around? (Even when I mess around … I don't mess around!)"

  • Inspired by this article and the posts, I just posted this:;… so thanks to everyone. Now that I'm continuing to reflect, when I moved to Florida 8 years ago after 30 great gigging years in California, I couldn't get a gig, and I know it was ageism. So I focused on other creative outlets and now I love where I am as an artist because of the "detour." Will I "make it?" I feel like I've made it because the journey's been so cool. Will I reach millions & not just thousands? At 60? Maybe.

  • I'm so happy that this info was posted about age.Its funny but it seems that every time I start to think that may be its time to give up or that I'm getting to OLD.Something like this will pop up and remind me that I should keep going.If you google my name you'll see I have music all over the place.My compilation Cd RITZ and my download only Cd ADDITIONAL PARKING is on cdbaby.And one of my LPs Looking Thru Bobby's Diary by Jimmi Reitzler just sold for $79.00 on ebay (I don't get that for them but people are paying that in the collector Area).I also have new songs ready to record.Its just great to see that I'm not the only one that has this worry thing about age…OK so I guess its time to get out and play.Thankz for boosting my Confidence.Jimmi

  • Fred & Toody Cole.

    And that's all I have to say about that.

  • I played my first gig at age 47. By chance it happened to be at a well established venue and there was a large crowd. They came to see a Zeppelin cover band and we were the openers. I write Rock songs and we only do original material so we didn't even have cover songs but one; Dear Prudence done in a heavier fashion than the original. To get to the point,…..When we finished our last song the crowd went nuts and demanded an encore! I thought I was dreaming because I had told the band that we needed to have a song for an encore as a joke. We all laughed and went back to practicing not knowing what was coming. I had never seen an opening band do an encore much less our own. This was a moment that I will take with me forever and never, I mean never did I think this would have happened at any time, much less at 47.

  • Miss Thang

    I am not a musician, but I work very closely with a good friend of mine who is a very talented singer/songwriter – booking gigs, babysitting the band, handling all the business stuff that artists generally are not good at. Most of my friends since childhood have been artists of some sort, actors, musicians, film makers, writers, etc – that's just my vibe I guess. I am in my almost mid 40s now. My singer friend is in his late 30s and has been singing and performing since he was a child. He still hasn't "made it" yet.

    I agree with many of the posters that "making it" is a matter of perception. Is it defined by being signed to a major label, by having a #1 song on Billboard, by winning a Grammy? Each person's success is defined differently. And depending on how you define your personal success, age can sometimes become a factor. I have watched my friend grow musically throughout the years – he is singing and writing better than ever, although he can't jump around on stage like he use to, and his body is changing. As that has happened, the focus has to change from being sexy to being substantial, and the audience has changed as well.

    The problem is, with labels, they want a long term relationship, an artist that potenially has room to make them money for years to come. The window of opportunity begins to close with each passing year. What makes money has nothing to do with quality music, it has to do with popularity, hype, and sex – period. The biggest consumers of music are the younger generation, and that is who they sell to. It is unfortunate that the other measures of success – the #1 song, the Grammy, etc, are all directly tied to what the labels are selling as well – it is all a popularity contest.

    The posters on here I am sure are all very talented musicians and artists, but they are content being "local" musicians, who play a gig, and create art and have fun but don't expect anything else from it. And that is great – if that is how you define your success. My friend wants to be signed, wants to win a Grammy, not because he wants the money, and fame but because making music is his life, he has nothing else to fall back on, and he wants to have something for the future, but also, in his eyes it would be his way of feeling like what he is doing really is heard and appreciated. But, honestly, it takes a lot of work and a lot of money and brings little rewards. And to someone who doesn't have anything else, money is as big of a factor as age. He has several independently made CD's, a website, facebook – all that stuff, and we are always pushing the music to radio stations, doing live shows and whatever else we can to be heard. He has had quite a bit of local success and a good local fan base.

    When he was younger, in his late teens/20's, he passed up several great opportunities to be signed by major labels, do songs for movies, etc because at that time he felt he wasn't ready, and hadn't developed as an artist enough to take it to that level. He didn't want to have to world hear crappy work. Now he is ready and it may be too late.

    The point being – several people have told him that he "isn't 22 anymore" and that they would rather work with people who are younger but less talented. But he keeps plugging away, every day, calling radio stations and producers. Yet the common theme is that he "is no spring chicken". He does not do Pop music, or rock and roll either for that matter.

    So, it's nice to believe that art knows no age, and truly it doesn't, and only experience can truly evolve art. But that is not what people buy. So, to those who are content with their beautiful art – I salute you and wish you many years of happiness. But to those who want to share that art with the world, get in quick or you will be overlooked.

  • I have allways enjoyed performing my music and I can not see a time when I will hang up my boots and stop. If I have people coming to gigs and enjoying what my band and I play then its an extreem pleasure for all concerned.
    Age does not matter if the music is good.
    Experience and quality does matter.
    I still get nervous and its a great adrenalin rush that keeps me feeling 21 all over again at every gig.

  • Success is where you are right now…live in the moment, be excited about your body of work, how much you've learned and grown
    tomorrow may never happen so be happy and keep doing what you love to do
    that alone is success in itself

  • It's all relative. When I was 19 and just turned drinking age my 4 piece rock band took a night off and went down to a local night club that had bands. I remember being really impressed by this guitar player.. but then someone said 'ya but he's 24'… He was like 'over the hill' back then. But as another blogger upstream already mentioned it's hard to take most musicians under 30 seriously. I'm now 48… and I'm one of those that never took a second to look up and ask 'is it right' to keep rockin' when I'm pushin' 50?. For the last 10 years I've been enjoying a renewed excitement of being in a band again… Hey man, the kids are now much older. And we don't just go 'play somewhere'… we're maniacs. We jump, scream, talk to the audience, get to bed at 4am and then feel crappy next morning. And it feels great. There's no business plan here.. we just love rockin out. We all know were pushing the envelope but we can't help it!… it's something we have to do. And now we've invested the last year in making a album… ya, we feel a bit apprehensive but it doesn't matter.. we feel we have to do it cause we love it. Infact we find it's easier now to do something like this because at this age.. were all in our 40's.. we all 'know who we are'… sort of… and that's a scarry thought too because maybe we 'are' getting too old then? Ha! But the saving grace is that none of us still know 'yet' what we want to do when we grow up! And somehow that just rocks. Great blog!

  • Linda

    I recently ran into CDbaby artist Ellie Leighton in a store in Scottsdale. She is 92 and going strong.

  • Successful entertainers' popularity has never really hinged upon age. If you're a Baby Boomer you're sure to agree that Frank Sinatra, George Burns, Jack Benny, Maurice Chavalier, Zsa Zsa Gabor or Willie Nelson, etc. were not deterred by their advancing age. Most perfected their schtick "thanks" to age.
    Our vocal group was formed in the early 60's but disbanded, primarily due the Vietnam War. Post 911 was a major contributor to our reforming, and we continue to grow, learn and strive toward "perfecting" our sound. Call it second childhood, call it denial, or even vanity if you wish. To us it's simply fun@work!

  • "Making it" is a personal perspective. As a band of three 55-year-olds, are we out gigging every night? No. (We do have day jobs that pay the bills.) But all artists can find their niche. Their niche might not be live performance; it might be music licensing. Those licensing guys don't care (or know) how old or young you are. Maybe their niche is French accordion lullabies – somebody might browse over to CD Baby and do a search for French accordion lullabies. "Making it" is in the eye of the beholder. At my age, I don't have any illusions of becoming a music idol. But I can still make music and somebody, somewhere, might like it. That, to me, is success.

  • "Age is a matter of mind, if you don't mind, it doesn't matter.."

    Colie Brice

  • If you're doing it for the love of the music, don't let anything stop you!
    I have a song about this whole feeling:

  • Mike

    When I read about the woman who did not mention her own name, merchandise, etc I thought "cool". Finally someone who lives the art and is not a traveling salesman. The question is how good was the show, tunes, etc. 90% or more will not make it, just swallow the truth and live your art if its what you believe!

  • I'm going to be 62 this year . I come from New Zealand and am currently playing in Poland . I have 13 gigs this month . I love what I do and , probably because I am not an American , I don't simply relate success to dollars and cents. It's not all about playing to the biggest crowd or having the biggest ring or the biggest fan base . IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT WHATS IN YOUR POCKET . IT'S ABOUT WHATS IN YOUR HEART. I'm not too old . Neither are you . I play to some great audiences in some wonderful places and meet people I would never meet in venues I would never get to if all I thought about was merchandising and mailing lists .
    Miles got it right … just swallow the truth and live your art if it's what you believe .
    Check out my website . You'll see what I mean . I'm not trying to sell you anything .
    I'm a devout musician and I believe in freedom . If music be the food of life , play on .

  • Eddy Tryselaar

    I am 62. I play bass. I am still gigging. Have I ever played in front of 100,000 people? Nope. Do I still want to? OH YES!!!

  • If you can pay your bills,send your kids to a good school,have a nice place to live and keep your family happy & together playing music..YOU HAVE MADE IT…

  • I fully agree with this. I love seeing people who are older still doing what they love and coming out with fresh, solid tracks. I have and will continue to support talented musicians playing in a variety of genres, whether they are 13 year olds or 93 year olds. I love my music and I love creating my music and I hope that 30 years from now, people won't think I'm "too old" to perform or create something magical for the masses. Nobody what your situation in life, you can rock on!!!!!

    Akua Hinds

  • i agree with mike there. i think it's amazing when people just live their art and put aside all the ridiculous constant salesmanship. i agree with the point of the article, in that you have to take control of it yourself and do with it what you will, but i don't like getting pitches all the time. yawn.

    don't sell me a used car. make something wonderful.

  • 46 and planning to release our first album, Episodes, in near future. I have a successful career in business, 5 kids, a wonderful wife. Success is what we want it to be.


  • I know musicians that are still in this profession in their 80s. It's what appeals to your audience and fans that matters.
    Aloha nui, Halemanu

  • Robin Auld

    There are any amount of letters on here telling folks to follow their dreams, so I'm just gonna play devils advocate here for the sake of debate. I have released 14 albums mostly on my own steam, and am a full time DIY professional. I also have a large family, who I battle to care for. We like there to be one truth about a matter, things are not that simple. Many successful musicians who achieved their aims were also selfish shits who caused endless damage to their nearest and dearest. Dreams can also do that, folks. I saw a fifty-something recently doing a London industry poser gig, playing for nothing to no-one, but boy did he believe in his universal right to make it…he'd had a taste twenty years ago. He had a wife and daughter back home in America. I just thought… dude, it's time you went home to your family and figured out what you're going to do to provide for them. And get yourself a nice couple of local gigs. That would be making it….or it should be if that concept wasn't defined by the X factor celebrity bullshit these days. Dreams are great..but in the immortal words of Depeche Mode, get the balance right.

  • It's always inspiring to hear from mature musicians and their spin on the music business. I've been performing for a couple of decades. A late bloomer having raised my children first. I got started gigging at forty and I haven't stopped. Paid my dues in the bars & lounges for a few years and found a niche recreating Patsy Cline in a concert style presentation. I've been performing as Patsy for over fifteen years and my audiences and theaters just keep getting bigger & bigger. I've let my singer/songwriter performances slide over the years to accommodate my busy schedule as Patsy. However, I'm showcasing at the Arts Midwest Conference this year as myself. I hadn't written a new song in ten years. I saw Neil Young perform recently and was so inspired I went home and wrote a new song in fifteen minutes that I just love. As soon as I get it copyrighted I'll put it up on CD Baby. It's called "Holding Together". Which is something that we all are trying to do these days. I'm excited to be a part of such a wonderful creative industry that allows us to express ourselves as individuals. Nothing can stand in our way if we just believe in ourselves and show up each day. Don't be afraid to wave your own banner! As Scott says, "Good things will happen in the real world when you step up to the plate, and believe me it will feel even better than when they happen in your imagination, no matter how old you are."

  • Rick Johnson

    Many music wisdom in old age.

  • I like the article and reading the comments. I think success is liking yourself. If you like yourself, and like your music, enjoy! I been in music all my life but just started to Wright songs in July of 07. So now I'm trying to "make it", I'm thinking the trick is to enjoy the journey. I'm 56 and plan to play and sing until they take away my guitar. I retired from my paying job last year and that's why I wrote a song called, "If I got the time, I ain't got the money, If I got the money, I ain't got the time". Aside from playing in a rock (wedding and bar) band when I was a kid, being on stage is all new for me and I dig it! Mark Boucher

  • “Good things will happen in the real world when you step up to the plate, and believe me it will feel even better than when they happen in your imagination, no matter how old you are.”

    I take this phrase as a truly positive inspiration, I don't expect to "make it" in the sense of becoming famous, but I do hope to be able to SHARE more of my music… I have kept it inside the refrigerator for too long… when is it too old? while I'm still alive, it's a good time!

    Now I shall continue to take some active steps, constantly, in order to share with the world that which lives within my heart.

  • If I may say so I think the whole idea of 'old', ageing is a myth,,,
    There is absolutely no relationship between the number of times a body
    goes around the sun and the decline of the body,,,,
    So what we really ask, when we talk about continuing to play music
    as the number of revolutions [around the sun] increases, is the Mind/Body
    strong enough to face the challenges, that are always new, and going on right now?
    The main thing is to be free of the limitations of the past:
    Of course chronic foolishness in the form of wrong food, wrong thought,
    wrong drink, and foolish belief, can and has become what most people call 'old age'. Why not say "I am forever young"?
    Lots of Love
    Stay Well

  • All these comments are great….love it. As a clinical psychologist for 30 years turn musician, I'm off to a late start.
    However, its never over until the fat lady chokes on her sandwich. In American culture there is an unspoken idea that when U reach a certain age, U should somehow go and sit down, shut up, and claim your space….well that may be ok for some, but for those who intend to stay in the game, and continue our life journey at full speed, then staying creative is what we need. I find my self being lazy about promoting my music, but I'm always busy creating it. Its what I do.
    And yes, dreams of fame can create pain….and yes, chasing dreams without the means, can have U splitting at the seams. But if that your calling you, either go along, or be dragged by the unseen forces….so enjoy your music, and if you gain some fans that's even better.

  • sav

    I used to be terribly hung up about my age and I was in the late 20s then! All the images in the media show young good looking people, bands whose average age is maybe 25. Do not let this stop you making music because you should be doing it for the right reasons: you love it and feel a need to do it. You do have to be realistic and realise that the McCartneys and Elton Johns of this world are in a tiny percentage of all active musicians. Follow the feeling, do your best to promote yourself, be true to yourself in your music and you will gradually build an audience. And they do not give a damn if you are 21 or 91 – it is the music that counts. I am 51 and my band Basczax have just released our first album. It is called 'This Machine Rocks' and can be found on amazon, itunes and cdbaby. Yes I am shamelessly promoting us – why not?! Give it a listen please!


  • Raja Ram has just turned 70…he is the most in demand musician in his genre on the planet…..

  • I am 46 and started marketing my music 5 years ago. It took me this long to have something worth while to say; just finished an angry music video, feels good to vent!…check it out if you'd like;

  • Seize the day all!

  • This is what older artists, 52yo create for the sake of music , not money folks.


  • gloria


  • Interesting. And it's a conversation I am always in. I did not start to take my music "seriously" until I was reaching 'boomer' status. Singing was what I always wanted to do, but I didn't do it. I worked in business for most all my life; dabbled a little bit in cabaret in New York while I was in my 30s and decided "I wasn't good enough, talented enough, enough enough" to make it; so I didn't do it at all. then, when I was in my 40s, I realized I had to have music in my life so I did small things- open mics, jam sessions, studying voice & jazz, etc. Again, not seriously – just to keep it alive in my body. When I turned 55, I made a different commitment – "what would happen if I just took it one step at a time; one foot in front of the other? what would happen if I just filled the next level?" And guess what, by the end of the next 7 year cycle, I had reviews of my work in the LA Times, the Jazz Times, won a Bistro/BMI Award for my last recording. Now, I am not famous; I don't make money on this journey (although I am finally not losing money at it right now), and I am still doing one step at a time. I will probably never play to a huge house as much as I would love that. I will probably never be famous either. But, I am 64 and proud of my accomplishments in this industry. Accomplishments and successes that I never really thought I could have. THE ANSWER THEN? Keep doing it. Will I get great? I don't know. I will get better at it though.

    • Wow. Linda, this is my 2nd comment here because you so inspired me! I gave up music like you, for about 30 years, tho it did try to resurrect a couple times..Finally, when my youngest daughter (of 4 kids) went to college and came home playing “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” from Nutcracker on her guitar, I got jealous!! So, in my late 40s went back and finished my music degree. Now, 57, sometimes I feel it’s too late. But our album just came out and there is hope arising! Marlene***

  • I'm 28 and already feeling kinda old but then I realised loads of good rock bands (and I don't mean the likes of fall out boy) didn't make it till their early 30's. So screw it, just keep believing and good things will come!

  • I truely believe it's all about how much you love your craft! I stopped wanting to "make it" years ago! But I can not for the life of me shake the love of the craft. I love to make beats and I like writing lyrics but I've been so blessed in my life trying to "make it" is totally null and void! 🙂 If you love it do it!! My question to my step son one day was "hey if a mechanic told you a good price and good warranty would you turn his service down because he was 65?? Or would you let him do his thing? We agreed that we would let him do his thing. Well that's the way I feel about the entertainment biz! I don't care how old you are 25 to 75, if you can still get your wobble on, HANDLE YA BUSINESS!!! 🙂

  • I think this depends on what you consider "making it".
    There are many jazz and instrumental musicians who are every age, doesn't matter.
    Unfortunately the BIG sellers are generally younger artist BUT there's always the exception.

  • I think Tommy Emmanuel answered this question in an interview where he said he couldn't worry about the timing of his success. There's no age where you go, Oh, I'm too old now to play guitar.

  • Great comments! If you are in it solely for the money and prestige, get out. Music is about passion and getting what’s in your soul out to and connecting with an audience. It’s about sense of accomplishment in doing your best and making people feel good and smile with your gift of talent. Take care of your loved ones and don't forsake it all for a golden ring that might not be what you expected. There is a difference between being known by everyone and being loved by the ones you know.

  • I just saw Jackson Browne at age 62 and David Lindley at age 66 and they had everybody up on their feet clapping for more. On the other hand, they had "made it" when they were much younger. Having worked with Michael Jackson a little bit, I can safely say that age is really a matter of heart and mind. I signed my first label deal at 24 and when I went back to my old label 15 years later (EMI/Virgin/Narada) the question was not whether I was too old (I wasn't) or if they still liked my music (they did) but whether or not I would tour (I wouldn't much anymore because of having kids, a family, and a settled life.) To that extent, I think age can certainly influence how much we are willing to do to get our music out there to a wider live audience. Now with the internet, I think if I (at 51) can keep up with the newer marketing arenas, like Facebook, Twitter, iTunes and YouTube, I at least have a CHANCE of selling close to what I sold when I was traveling and touring as a younger man. CD Baby is a GREAT resource in that regard. THANK YOU!

  • Hey guys,
    I'm 48 and living in Sydney, Australia.
    It's great reading all your inspirational words and listening to what you're creating.
    I heard a wise saying once that went like this 'You don't stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing'. This is true also for passion and dreams and feeling that you are doing something that you love that may bring enjoyment, meaning, and inspiration to others. Having passion, and dreams, and excitement about the future keeps you young.
    Keep doing what you're doing and remember how other peoples' songs have inspired and shaped you as a person through your life.
    You, as an older person have many stories, experiences, and adventures that you can share, and also wisdom that you have developed through facing adversity and surviving it.
    I have met many wonderful and creative people through my passion for songwriting and some of them have become dear friends.
    If your life is all that you truely want it to be then you are definitely successful in my eyes.

    If you would like to hear some of my songs go to:


  • Leonard Cohen released his first album at age 34. I saw him in concert last year; at the age of 74 he gave one of the most intense performances I've ever seen. He was energetic and even ran out to perform one of the encores. Age does not prevent one from making great art, and can even work to one's advantage.

  • I'm 55 years old .. been a pro muso for 30 years .. I'm a better guitar player and singer now than at any time in my life .. the song writing has slowed down but my ability to relate to and work with an audience has never been better.
    Sure I'm not a pin-up, well not any more 😉 people come to see and hear me for my material and my playing.

    Apart from my solo stuff, I work with a very well known singer here in the Czech Republic .. she gives me credit publicly at festivals for everything I contribute to her act .. almost half of the material in her current set is written or co-written by me and YES people do shout my name at festival and it STILL fires me up 🙂

    I cannot imagine or envision a time when I will not play and perform .. the trick at this stage is to stay fit, sane and healthy. Don't smoke, drink a little .. buy a bike and cycle.

    Possibly the biggest thrill for me still, is people young enough to be my kids coming up to me after a show telling me how much they love the songs and my performance .. as Hamish noted it helps to keep me young ..

    Who knows what tomorrow brings .. live life today .. there is no end destination .. only a fantastic journey !!

    please feel free to visit me :-

  • T Kinsley

    You know, there ARE a few ways to gain commercial mass success in music, even if you're past your 20's… For starters, become the next Blue Man Group, who knows how old they are under that make-up?? They release albums, have videos on TV, and tour–playing to HUGE audiences. Or what about the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (you know, that band that does the orchestral rock Christmas songs)?? They are not young, but they put out popular albums, have songs on the radio, have videos on TV, and tour–playing to huge crowds too. Same for an act like Roni Benise… Huge sold out shows, TV specials, big tours… and he got famous at around 40. Ever hear of Susan Boyle? Not young. How old are the guys in GWAR or Slipknot (or any mask-wearing band)?? Who knows?! Who cares?! I've personally moved over into writing music for video games, but if I wanted to go back to pursuing huge commercial music success (past my 20s), there ARE still some avenues available towards that end. You just need to think "outside the box" a bit.

  • wow, I really needed to read that speech…you are absolutely right! An artist should stop waiting to be discovered.we should take 100% responsibility of your our career…This has motivated me in so many different ways…I'm so blessed to be an independent artist…

  • Sajada W.

    This article is just what I needed to keep on following my dream. I was in my teens and twenties working on trying to become a singer. And yes I wanted to be famous. It didn't happen as we hoped though we recorded an album and got to hear ourselves on the radio–once. We gigged for a while. But eventually we broke up. Then I tried Off-Broadway for a while hoping to become a "star" that way, and I had an accident where I hurt my leg and my vocal chords. Even though I couldn't speak for a while (never mind sing) and walk with a slight limp, sometimes, I kept writing songs. But, I gave up pursuing my dream, got married (this was a great choice!) and tried to become a mom (it didn't happened) and got a full-time job. Last year, I was so inspired by some women who started living their dreams at an older age, Sharon Jones, Susan Boyle, Alice Tan Ridley and a lady who never stopped Teena Marie. At age 46, I'm taking online music classes, writing music, getting in shape for whatever happens, planning to record her first cd, planning to put up a website, I'm even thinking of making a music video as well as performing live. I'm taking it one step at a time. I'm going to spell success my way, not the music industy's way. I'm so proud to call myself an indie artist.

  • I loved these posts, and I agree with so many of you. I am a grandmother and proud of it, still writing songs and playing out. Too old ? No way, we are never too old to share the music within us. It is my passion. Sure it would be nice to have a hit song, but I am content and blessed to have this gift of music. I love singing and as long as the good Lord keeps my voice strong I will continue. I currently have a Christian music ministry. I do concerts and I am a music artist advocate for Compassion International and speak on their behalf.

  • I'm too busy making music . That's what "making it" is to me . Otherwise it gets to be too much about the right industy political moves and that tends to take away from the focus on the music .

    What I'm doing is all about the music . The music itself is the reward . Once you get into the popularity issue , I think the game is lost , because it becomes a game. It was initially an art , then it becomes a popularity contest . Maybe that sounds unpragmatic , but for me it became the basis of how I ignited my creativity after being in the business for many years . Classic artists are sometimes tired by this time , but I feel that I'm just getting started again , but with decades of experience . This is essentially my feeling abut the subject , and I encourage others to be ther own artists instead of "horses in a manager's stable" .

    Cheers !

  • There's never been a better time to be creating, recording, selling, and performing music. All of a sudden you can get enough gear cheaply enough to record, mix, and even master (if you have to) and even manufacture your stuff at home, sell it on Cd Baby, have a web site, Market, book a tour, just about anything you can think of by YOURSELF! If all of this alone isn't enough to inspire me to get off my but and get it out there, then nothing will. A few short years ago it would have been impossible to do much of anything without some large wad of cash behind you, or a pile of credit cards, or a pile of Major and Independent Labels. I'm EXCITED to be creating music at age 61; I've never sang, written, played guitar or simply performed better than I do now. I don't know if Tony Bennett is still out there but he was just a few short years ago and at the age of 80-plus was sounding so good it was criminal. The Earth spins, and then it spins around the Sun and the laws of thermodynamics and gravity are out there; what's inside, praise Jesus, just keeps getting better every day; until the day that I simply can't do it any more, you'll have to pry my D-18 from my stiff, dead fingers.

  • Finances was always the main reason holding me back from putting out my own music but that opportunity wasn't easy to accomplish back then as it finally is right now.

    I don't care if I may be in the middle age category. This is about a longtime dream I finally get to see happen…my songs being available for people around the world to hear and enjoy. I'm psyched up about that! That's why I post my own music videos on youtube. Go check me out under Fuzzy Soul Tiger & say "HI"!

  • Age is a state of mind, I agree if the music is good and the public will pay to hear and see the artist, it does not matter

  • Surely agree with Dave here so here are some views and experiences offered.
    A few years back the band then were high in the charts, no.1 etc..Apparently we had made it, whatever that "IT" was. Myself felt NO different to any other night where we had a good response from the crowd, even tho' larger crowds attended. The previous band showed up on some gigs and were glad that we had made "IT". Yet with this previous band we had as good a nights as with the "made it" band.
    So then and now for me "making it" is a state of mind rather than the hype created about the "making it". Oh yes, how could it be forgotten, MUSIC was what there was to be made.
    This "it" varies though from fame, money, attracting the other gender, puplicity/paparatsies[excuse spelling]etc..Is making "IT" for an singer/musician etc.. different to a business man, priest, footballer?. mmm

  • Writing my memoirs covering my military service in Vietnam, Desert Storm, all the significant veterans related events I have helped organize or perform in, the "stories behind the songs and,my musical career all started because of some of the responses from various websites and the people who strongly urged me to do it. I'm up to 183 single spaced 12 point font pages and about half way through that process.
    I have my own website, one audiophile quality CD available and when I gig there's a tasteful merch table with an e-mail sign up roster on it. Its been a passion of mine for four decades and keeps me young. Another 13 song compilation of my material is in the works for 2011. Significant events seem to unfold because of a previous one. Remain open to the possibilities. Use the internet, select WHERE and how you want to perform in public. Be aware of the power of a simple three paragraph press release when you're doing a fund raiser or benefit concert that answers the five W's.
    Having fun with an audience and sharing your passion is enough for me. "Success" is a subjective term. I have met and performed with some famous musicians over the years. The toll of making it has been so destructive for some of them that they are no longer around. THINK ABOUT THAT !

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  • as long as you can do it your never to old…

  • Our dad blind johnny is our rhythm guitarist and songwriter and he is 61 and wherever we play he has the most fans!!!

  • Patrick, age 64

    What's age got to do, got to with it?
    What's age but a random set of numbers?
    The music never dies. The ears may grow rusty, but the song remains constant. Leave the worrying to others; let's live our art.

  • auramac

    Am I too old to live? Don't think so…

    Doing what you love keeps you alive, and young.

    It does depend upon how you define success. Even the rich and famous define failure as "this isn't fun anymore."

    And the more you put into something, chances are, the more you'll get out of it. I can play guitar alone in my room and feel alive, relaxed, energized, healed… hell, it's just great fun. I always want to get better, keep doing it, and why can't my band do the same, as long as we're all willing to play together and play for people?…

  • My band The Stonesouls had their 20th anniversary show in 2009, re-released our two records from 1990-1991 to all of the major digital sites and have set our sights on recording a new record soon. We played a sports bar cover show last month just for fun and mostly to people we did not know. Nobody could believe that we were all almost 40 and had not even rehearsed for the gig. We have all gotten so much better as musicians over the years.

  • Too old? …. I was thinking time had passed me by… when encouraged to publish piano music had been writing over 40 decades and always thought "Someday it would be nice……….." I was 64!…. I released my first CD when 67 years old, my second when 68 years old…and am working on my 3rd!…My CDs have been bought by people from 7 countries in 4 decades … and yes, it is hard to believe, but so wonderful….Why did I wait?????? Just do it!!!!!

  • Daro Dimon

    As we age wisdom should permeate every aspect of our lives. So considering that my writing and listening of music has not only satisfied me it has educated me and made me richer and wiser. And not only myself but my children also. They think it's some of the best music they have ever heard. That alone is enough to let me know that good music can be written by any age group. The young are standing on the musical shoulders of oldtimers and if we neglect that foundation the House of Music will fall. Thank you Rollingstones, Temptations, Diana Ross, Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, James Taylor, Carol King and so many other legendary artists. For we can only learn from and remember music of past. For that is our present (time) and our present (gift). We can't remember future music it has not been written.

  • uh huh…

    Its nice reading all of the encouraging posts, mostly talking about how what really matters is that you still get that warm and fuzzy feeling when you play, and keep your music new and vital. That may be true, but for me it is not enough. No one is asking Jay-Z to keep his day job and only play to his laptop.

    I'm also really into some very current modern bands, and I go and see them when I can. Its always interesting, to use a neutral word for it, to see how the decades-younger audience relates to me. I've had a range of experiences by now… I like to think that the generality is that the posers dismiss you, but the other true-believer fans recognize you for what you have in common with them.

    I expect that the most likely audience for my own music is the audience that likes what I like. So I worry how they would relate to me, should I ever get it together enough to make a serious effort.

    I'm guessing there are other older-but-modern musicians reading this. Any thoughts or experiences on this?

  • The all-age audiences (small clubs and coffee houses around Vancouver, Canada) I continue to play to, are always very enthused about my music, and my performance. I guess that means that at 50 y.o. I can still 'make it'. I am getting good recent feedback from the music press too!

    However, the energy required to 'keep on keeping on' is sometimes in short supply. Columns and support groups such as this are vital to help keep the flame burning. It's funny that when I started, indie and alternative were just starting to get their legs. Now, with technology, maybe the traditional walls to gaining exposure for our music are crumbling down, hopefully to never be erected again.

  • amusicfan

    If you think you're too old then you probably are. That's not meant to be some hokey-cokey new age thing about "thinking young": if "making it" means getting signed to a large label as a rock/pop band and you're thinking "I'm 27 next month, who wants to sign us now we're over 24?" then you are too old and will most likely fail. If, on the other hand, you're 36 and "making it" means booking a tour with your band and you have a plan to do it, then you'll probably succeed. Age usually only comes into it if someone wants it to be an issue. Otherwise, it is all about the energy that Drew mentioned. Keep on keepin' on for as long as you get a kick out of it!

  • My wife and I had a manager from 1979-1984 who was thoroughly unmusical but gave us one good piece of advice: you've got to be in it for the long haul and plan to succeed. If you don't decide that music is going to be your life's calling, come hell or high water, you'll find some reasonable-sounding excuse to give it up.
    We've managed to survive because we've been open-minded about finding audiences and venue where our musical talents are appreciated. Music became our full-time source of income when we got the brilliant (in retrospect) insight that we're better off bringing our music to places where there is already an audience, rather than having to scare up an audience every time we play out.
    The sacrifices we've had to make and the lack of financial security are more than compensated by the fact that my guitar is my day job. And will be until I drop dead (literally) onstage.
    Anyone can visit our website to see the types of gigs we do (around 200 a year) in the NYC area. This is how we chose to define "making it."

  • I have played for old folks homes, middle-agers, high school audiences, and even grade school kids. I get a positive response from all of them. It's about the music.
    Music gives the soul a lift.

  • Age is number not a definition of who one is. I've been writing songs for 40 years and still continue to do so. I just finished a Cont. Christian song with a current Grammy winning music writer. I'm not an artist, so nobody really knows how old I am anyway when they've never seen me. Got no reason to retire.

  • Devon Trevors

    If you are young and feeling old… you are old, visa versa if you are old and feeling young. I am in my 50's, I ran a 100 meter race with some guys in their 20's and 30's, and won! We are what we think and feel. A person with a positive mind will always shine regardless of age… it's all about how we think…how we use our minds.
    All I need to live my dreams, is health and life. When I am dead, then I will be too old.

  • Leah Pauls

    I finally decided to do something serious with my music besides just playing for family. I'm 39, but I don't usually feel it, and I like to think I don't look it either. I think it's never too late 'til you're dead, so I'm just going for it.

  • Hey!
    What the hell has age got to do with anything? At seventy years old, do I want or need to get on a bus and travel all over hell and half Georgia so people can hear what I've got to say? Not in what's left of this lifetime. I'm retired for a reason, I've already made it!
    In this economy it's not really easy for any body. Due to the vagaries of life, really obtuse children and the fact that I only have one live brain cell left, I take a lot of joy from creating poetry and songs, of questionable taste and content. I chose the "create" terminology because I don't "read" music, consequently I don't "write" it either. Should someone listen to something of mine and is willing to pay $.99 to download it, I say great! Should someone hear something I've created and wants to do it themselves. I'll license it gladly. If not I won't starve. I just love doing it and it would be really great if someone else appreciated it.
    Have I paid my dues? I say yeah! 'Cause I write what I've lived and enjoyed and mostly felt about it all. "Three chords and the truth"! Ain't that what Willy said? Write, play. sing what you know and feel. Honestly! And if only one other person gets something from that, you've made it!

  • Usually the people that are saying you are "too old" are people that are way behind you as far as the success of music goes………You have to consider who is saying it! It's usually a very jealous person that is way younger than you that absolutely has a very poor attitude or some that has alot of talent and is just a poor sport about everything.

    You kinda gotta feel sorry for those type of folks because they usually have no friends or only one friend that really doesn't want to be there friend.

    That's also the same folks that are saying it because of insecurity also………Play until you die! 😉

  • I am an almost 50 year old white guy throat singer with a cheap harmonium, a few crystal and Tibetan singing bowls and a conch shell.

    Would you believe I am carving out steady work and getting invitations to play new venues in new territories? From Colorado to British Columbia, and my New Year's Eve gig is in Costa Rica!

    Never underestimate the healing power of sound and music when it comes from your heart.

    It is very gratifying to see that I am fulfilling a need – a lot of people are yearning to feel connected in a real way.

    And I even get paid for it – people pay on average $20 to come to my "show".

    I love my job!

  • You are only as old or young as you think. I am a 25 year old trapped in a 57 year old body. I still love the hard rock from the 60's and 70's and the stuff I hear today. I love blues, jazz and everything I loved when I was young.
    Good music will never die. I believe if the music was good then it will still be good today and on into tomorrow. If the music was crap then it remains crap today.
    I have been recording for years but never planned to make a CD. Well here is my first CD. I hope some people will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed working with my friends making it.
    Young? I believe music makes me young and keeps me at peace with myself.
    Play on.

  • I am 31 years young, and by the bitter youth obsessed standards of the entertainment industry, just about "over the hill". But I dont care about the music industry, I care about making music and on my own terms. So if you go by mainstream recording companies, yes the age limit is staggeringly low and frightening. But in your own market, age means nothing. If you have the skills, patience, and talent and drive, you can "make it". But you always have to keep redefining what "making it" is. I believe for me at least "making it" means getting paid for what I do, selling records, and having a small , but loyal fan base and making 99% of my income from my music. That is making it to me. Not being on the radio, having to get a "recording contract", or being on CMT.

  • Guess it is not so much age as, every year there is another crop of new kids
    wanting to play guitar and be in a band.
    Just like the old factory days, after 30 years, it is time to make room
    for our kids.

    I too felt old at 21 even after signing with Casablanca and doing a
    major motion picture with them.
    Now that I am old, so are my piers. Their tasted have evolved
    along with mine. So I still have an audience. I take from the old school,
    and the new, just as they do.


  • buddy hart

    my brother and i have been playing country music in clubs along the east coast since 1969. 2010 we laid it down to once a month. what a ride!in my home town(rochester N.Y.)when i walk into a country club my friends still treat me as a seleb what a thrill!!!!

  • Ito

    Age is just a number that remind you of the things you do as you go through
    life,if you are happy doing it then age is not a factor.

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  • I started following my musical heart at the ripe age of 40 when my youngest of three sons turned 5. Before I knew it I was a finalist in a major songwriter's competition (Rocky Mountain Folk's Festival). I went on to place again several more times and also at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. I guess my message to all of those "wondering…" is "follow your heart". It's about the music and the message. If your in it for money and fame…good luck. My partner and I play several gigs a month about 75% original and 25& covers. Our audiences love this blend and they buy our music and come back for more. When you get stuck in "I'm too old" that is where you will stay. I choose to dwell in the world of possibilities. Your eyes can grow dim…or they can sparkle, it's your choice. Shine on!

  • akn

    Age is relative, time is relative, everything is relative. When I was 20 I thought I was done. What a fool I was. People get sucked into the fictitious things they see on tv and compare their lives to it. Sad.

  • Mance Lipscomb was "discovered" and released his first album at the age of 65, at which time he began touring around the various blues and folk festivals of the late 1960s.
    The way I see it, we're artists and true artists express themselves through their art on many different levels. Picasso didn't retire when he was 30, why should we?

  • In my opinion as a musician for 29 years you are never really too old to "make it". However you stand a lot better chance if you start early.I have been signed & toured until my daughter was born, never got rich but I had fun & made some money. Now We (the motherhive syndicate) play progressive, groove rock & do regional show because we are now in our early 40s'. Still have a lot of fun. Some night we play to 3000 others 30. So the way to measure success is "are you happy & having fun"? love, das otter.

  • I really have never understood waht age has to do with music or any other artform,

    When I was a teenager, I grew up listening (along with my friends) to Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf amongst others…. they were all dead by the time I had discovered them.

    Papa John Creach with Jefferson Starship.. did anyone say he was too old? NO… he just added his sound, and what a sound it was.

    Age is a number… but music is a feeling

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  • It really depends on how you define "making it". Music is like everything else in life: you should do your best, enjoy what you do and just be yourself and you'll be surprised at the results. Even if you just create some change in the little world around you (even just five fans), then hey that's not so bad is it? 🙂 Who really cares if you do this at 20, 30, 50 or 80? It's more than a lot of other people achieve in their life.

  • Hi to comment on age I just did my first realease at 64 years old charlie Seabrooks Last Chance 4 Me been my lifelong dream so I say go for it at any age don"t wish you had tried at less put forth A effort wheather you make it or not.Thanks


  • If making it means getting signed up, lots of money and front covers of magazines, then yes you probably are too old by the time you're 25. If you are lucky enough to "make it" then enjoy while it lasts…

    On the other hand if you're able to support yourself doing work that you love and have the time and space to develop as an artist, you're never too old.

  • Richard Pitt

    Hey everybody, I am in a similar boat with many of you.. I am 45 this Summer and it seems my ear has gotten better, and my voice is finally cooperating. So
    I guess I should go for it even if I have to use lead sheets for remembering cover songs? The music is whats important right? It's not like I'm playing a big concert on a stage with a band yet and maybe by then I wont need the safety net and will have figured out my sets from the 60 cover songs that now have me spinning.. My album (it's about time…)is hopefully coming out soon and maybe it will be enough to finally just accomplish that! If it is well recieved maybe I can do a follow up.. I have plenty of material and maybe by then I can acquire other members to a real 'band'! Fear of failure, being embarassed for lack of memorizing lyrics, or missing a chord hear and there shouldn't deter me right?

  • All good comments. I am 45.
    I had a great band, playing gigs in Hollywood, made a record, but the wheels moved too slowly for us to keep it together. The guys got hit by the recession and all left town one at a time. I am now moving forward with solo stuff, strange improv rock and traditional bluegrass and alt. country stuff as well. i guess what I wanted to comment on was what Richard Pitt said. I do hope your album is well received, but if it isn't, make another anyway. I 'm not saying don't learn from your "mistakes", I'm just saying don't wait for others to "get your material". I'd be wary of hinging future recording projects on how older ones are received. We do what we do because we have to-or something. Thanks for the support all!

  • Making it is not everything. The most important thing is to enjoy making/writing/recording music. My attitude is keep going as long as you enjoy the passion. If other commits become priority then you can do them and come back later in life. Its better to try to make it and than not to have tried at all. Some people keep on trying and never make it and other do make it. All I can say is good luck.

  • Look we are living in an era where anything's possibly. With social media we're all living our own reality TV show 24/7. We're all "winning" as the great Charlie Sheen would say 🙂

    Age is a matter of mind, if you don't mind it doesn't matter. Do your thing!


  • I turned 68 today! Still playing steady, still traveling…5 years ago I decided to write some songs, glad I did cause that's a whole nother career. I started playing full-time when I was 21 (Old enough to get in the bars) No job in the world can keep your interest that long and it's never too late!

  • I started my present band when three years ago whn I was 47. The singer I write for is only 33 and helps me keep my energy up. We recorded a 12 song CD our first year, and had some success and did a record in Nashville last year. Because of that, we actually received an artist invitation to appear at the Country Music Association Fanfest last summer and got to eat in the green room and see famous acts like Kelly Pickler, the Judds, Rascal Flatts, and many others as fellow artists. It was the biggestthrill of my musical career. You're never too old to make great music…just let it happen. Bee Thomas- Wells Hollow

  • Karo

    Love these comments! I am 43 and have wanted to record a demo since I was 21 but something always stopped me. I have bad stage fright but would like to sell my songs to other artists to record. I think I will definitely finish my demo now and be happy I finally did it!!! I love music and will enjoy it till I'm 80 or whenever I croak-lol. I've always regretted not doing something with my music and after reading these comments it has motivated me to persevere and do it!! Good Luck to all!!

    • Dimitri

      Your story is so similar to mine, it is astonishing!!!

      All the best with your future musical journey.

    • Rhythmheat1

      Good for you….how about writing a song about “stage fright”….I’m 56 and a full time drummer….there is NOTHING that I would rather be doing with my life!!

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  • Best time in history to be an independent artist. Age is irrelevant!

  • how old do I feel? 19 with a LOT more wisdom and experience.. today is your day! my ond friends made this vid thats a favorite of 35 to 45 years olds..

  • Now that's something you don't see every day!

  • The Ceej

    Age gets in the way for bigots, but I know of a great way around that. Lie about your age.

  • Jtiom

    AGE IS A STATE OF MIND….I've been making music for over fortyfive years as a pro. I've been signed to three different majors, and i've owned and operated my own label for over twenty years.
    If you believe that your writing great songs, and giving your best show everytime you walk out on stage
    it will happen. Remember you got into this in the first place becuz of the music not the money.
    peace & love
    Mr. Jimmy
    Ariana Records

  • I’ve been singing since the 60’s in Detroit, been online since before CD Baby came about and I’ll be 50 this month. Music? It’s just what I am compelled to do!

  • Rafe

    I think to be honest it depends on the type of music you are making. It’s hard to be 40 and sing backstreet boys pop, but it’s not so hard if you’re maybe making cool indie music.


  • Right on David!

  • Joanne Wiklund20

    What insights for those of us who have been doing something all our lives because we "have to."
    Writing can satisfy for you alone and also for others. We have to decide when and how to share it.
    Thanks for those insights. J.

  • Anonymous

    The older you get, the better you know what you want, the more realistic you become and the less you care about the glamour and the gossip. You improve as a musician, know more about songwriting, learn to tell a story and don't see the need anymore to follow the latest trends.

    About 12 years ago I was completely blown away when I listened to an album of Johnny Dowd. It had a completely unique sound, blending folk, country, hard rock and experimental music. It was one of the most original albums I heard that year and though I didn't know this Dowd guy, it was evident that it could not have been made by a snotty young punk in his early 20s.

    And so it turned it out to be, because a little later I read that Dowd had made his debut album a year earlier at the ripe age of 53….

    I was 33 at the time and stopped worrying about age right away.

  • David Montalvo

    Interesting comments and discussions. I'm interested in talking with one of you "late starting" musicians in your 40s/50s/60s who really got into it in the empty-nest stage. I'm a reporter for a national personal finance publication, looking at passions that are pursued in the empty-nest stage.

    email: david.montalvo(at)

  • Great article, thanks! It’s important to believe in yourself enough to prove that just because you age, doesn’t mean you can’t use your years of expertise and experience to bring down the house! If you maintain your voice and instrumental chops, you should be able to make great music without any excuses. My monthly Viva La Voicegram @ talks about that very thing “Your Chops…Maintenance Required!” – Beth Lawrence

  • T Melodee

    This post was definately talking to me this morning!!! I was asked how old I was by a marketing/consultant firm and when I told them 26, they acted as if I said 88, and told me from now on to say I am 22. It bothered me a lot so this post is like music to my ears…. well… eyes, since I was reading it and not listening to it lol. THANKS!!!! (=

  • Is 26 the new 50?

  • This is by far the most timely and truthful iteration of what is required of the artist who wants to enjoy a fruitful career and leave behind a special legacy. It cuts straight thru the shit, and to the bone! Thank-you! Thank-you! Thank-you!
    The Jazz Duchess

  • Fionainkendal

    It took a near death experience being knocked over , sadly with still broken fingers as a consequence, the death of my identical twin sister and a wise chap in Nashville telling me to follow my bliss to make me realise that far having a sensible job which I have done for 30 years to follow the wishes of parents family and expectations, I should do what I always wanted to and play music! And guess what – I’ve never been happier!

  • Fiona, that is great that you are following your bliss! I hope it continues to bring you joy.

  • Warren

    Warren Burrell Jr( Mr Bee)

    I am 70 years old I still the do giggs, I sing ,and play a funky blues guitar. Music makes me feel great and, Now I am better then ever. Check out my new album this fall 2011 ” THE BEST AT WHAT I DO

  • With 18 months together 'Veronneau' have just completed a 10 date UK tour; played over 50 US shows in the last year; released a CD which played at over 80 US stations, as well as in Canada and England and reached #9 in the Jazzweek World Music chart. On the UK tour we unexpectedly got the chance to perform live and interview on the BBC.

    The band member are not so far away from the big 50. We've been delighted and surprised at the reaction we get from audiences of all kinds, from jazz rooms to dance festivals with up to 10,000 people. A couple of the members hadn't played live in more than 20 years, so it's been a particularly sweet comeback.

    I wish we were all 20…but I do think the maturity of the band has helped us relate well to everyone we work with in the business and with audience members and really appreciate the opportunity to be playing to responsive audiences.

  • With 18 months together ‘Veronneau’ have just completed a 10 date UK tour; played over 50 US shows in the last year; released a CD which played at over 80 US stations, as well as in Canada and England and reached #9 in the Jazzweek World Music chart. On the UK tour we unexpectedly got the chance to perform live and interview on the BBC.

    The band member are not so far away from the big 50. We’ve been delighted and surprised at the reaction we get from audiences of all kinds, from jazz rooms to dance festivals with up to 10,000 people. A couple of the members hadn’t played live in more than 20 years, so it’s been a particularly sweet comeback.

    I wish we were all 20…but I do think the maturity of the band has helped us relate well to everyone we work with in the business and with audience members and really appreciate the opportunity to be playing to responsive audiences.

    • Awesome! Glad to hear things are going well for y'all.

  • TRXone

    I say the stigma of age is only set by those who fear that the older artists would beat the younger ones in terms of quality & experience. Usually that IS the case but when you hear the industry egg this stigma on by saying stuff like “We’re only looking for young artists” or “the older artists can’t meet the demands of today’s market”,it can become frustrating. DO NOT let crap like that stop you! PERIOD!!!

  • Country Paul

    Just saw this – I played you on the radio when you guys were "new." I too am now a professional musician again after a 39-year hiatus in broadcasting and voice-over work. Three of our band's four members are over 59 (our fourth is the drummer, the 21-year-old son of our lead singer). While our lead singer/chief songwriter has made all or some of his living from music for more than 40 years, none has had a national breakthrough like "Smoke from a Distant Fire" or a stint with the Allmans to help propel us. We're just hard-working creative guys who'd love to "make it" as an all-original material band at some level. I think our level would be playing folkie/other listening clubs and small-to-midsize concerts 3-6 times a month, having an audience who appreciates our originals and sometimes asks for our songs by name, and selling enough CDs at a gig to make us glad we put it out. We're all "older kids" when we hit the bandstnd; we'd just like more bandstands to play!

  • GothicLolita

    No matter what, it’s important for a female artist to not only maintain whatever talent she has, but to keep herself attractive. There is no use kidding ourselves that a 300 pound woman with no glamour is going to do better than a slim, tastefully dressed pretty woman with an image of youth who moves onstage without a care. The business is full of shallow people who won’t even look at anyone over 25 if it’s that particular market. You have to know your market, who is most likely to listen to your music, and what is the “hook” that brings them in. Most people are comfortable with familiarity. A familiar face is a comforting face. So it’s good to be seen, heard and talked to. Silence is deafening. If no one is paying attention, it’s time to change something, probably more somethings.

  • I'm 60 years old and finally completed my first CD. Once upon a time, a musician could work without a professional recording (I've handed out a bunch of cheaply recorded cassettes in years past and still got gigs). That time is long past! With a good CD, you can afford to take gigs that in the past you might turn down because the pay was too low – CD sales can help make up the difference! It's also easier than ever to produce a professional promo package and website. If you are an older musician, keep up with technology and you can still enjoy playing for appreciative audiences.

  • I'm 60 years old and finally completed my first CD. Once upon a time, a musician could work without a professional recording (I've handed out a bunch of cheaply recorded cassettes in years past and still got gigs). That time is long past! With a good CD, you can afford to take gigs that in the past you might turn down because the pay was too low – CD sales can help make up the difference! It's also easier than ever to produce a professional promo package and website. If you are an older musician, keep up with technology and you can still enjoy playing for appreciative audiences.

  • Eddgreer

    I started performing in front of jukeboxes in louisiana and mississippi when I was 6 years old. I made it
    up to music row nashville on to hollywood and now international. You are never to old as I am now breaking into my 60’s and offers coming in from everywhere. The day you step on the stage you are a
    star–If you believe it in your heart you will get there.–The world would not be the same without music
    and performers. Stay true to your talents and over the years you will be become a success. Legends
    never stop. My best to all of you and keep that music out in front of your fans.
    Edd Greer
    Bmi/Ascap/International Recording Artist

  • Gregg

    Hey Karo – Finish that demo! There's nothing like finally hearing your music recorded the right way. I hope you can sell it and who knows, you may decide to go out and play but either way you will finally have something to show for your life's work and some sort of legacy that will live on forever. Good luck to you

    Gregg Rose

  • Tjmusic2

    Keep doing what you are passionate about!

    I had a band that I stuck it out with for twelve years believing in the music that we were creating. We had gotten considerable interest from various people in the industry, radio AirPlay on several NYC and Philly stations, writeups in various music papers only for the band to suddenly call it quits. I was devastated, but decided to do a solo cd since music has always been my passion. I was 36 then. I was getting some local recognition when I fell ill with Lyme disease, walking pneumonia, laryngitis, and a brutal Lyme detox. They also found a cyst growing inside one of my vocal cords and I had to undergo surgery a month ago. I am now 42. After all of this, I am more determined than ever to finish my second solo cd and the whole experience has given me new appreciation of what life Is all about. Do what you love! Life is too short ! I hope my experience serves as inspiration to others.
    Thank you,
    Troy rusnack

    • Sorry to hear about that string of illnesses. When it rains, it pours. But so glad you're still making music and I'm sure you can put those experiences into your music, too. Let us know how it goes.

  • wow, that was a great article. I really needed that!

  • Then I assume your answer is "Hell no! I'm not too old to make it."

  • Then I assume your answer is “Hell no! I’m not too old to make it.”

  • Just turned 36, been at for 20 years, and independently 12/27/11 I will introduce myself to the world with a historic 5 album album release.

    Then I will release my remaining 36 albums over the course of the next 7 years. Wutz the rush, I’m not getting any younger!

    Join Outsider Nation!!!

  • Hereniawino

    not only in music but everywhere else in life there is no age limit to making it and if you need to make it take responsibility otherwise you will be a dreamer who never woke up

  • Prolific!

  • You are so right, many people (young and old) are living in fantasy land. The days of being discovered, getting signed are pretty much over unless you are laying down the ground work first. as for being to old, Jay-Z is still one of the top artists in music and he is going on 44. DIY

  • Dkurttila

    How old is too old?

    I have had my biggest successes post 30. I got my “big break” with Steven Curtis Chapman when I was 30.

    I got my next big break with Sandi Patti when I was 36.

    I wrote my first number one song when I was 45. (He Will Carry Me- Mark Schultz)

    I was honored with being one of 12 chosen song writers to go to Jeffrey Steele’s Boot Camp when I was 46.

    I am 50 now and it just appears to be getting better and better. I can’t wait to release some of my latest songs, because I think they are my best work to date.

    Wisdom comes with age. Insight comes with age. Experience comes with age. I intend to continue to prove that the best years are yet to come until someone can prove me wrong.

    Who’s with me?


    • Rick Cox

      I’m 37 yrs old and I feel I wrote one of my songs I will ever write. After reading your post – Dkurt – I’m with you – thanks for the encouragement and wisdom!

    • Bassman Com Rs

      Thanks for the encouragment,Im 53 and play the bass at life center church in Tacoma,wash. I’m retired from Boeing now,in great health. But feel I’m to old to keep going in my love of music. Want to go back to school for my degree. Your comments blessed my so much,thanks.

      • Alice

        I graduated in 2008 at the ripe age of 58 after raising two children. I am learning to play the bass and sing the blues now at 62…not looking to be famous just want to be good at something I love doing. Society never hired me after I got my degree…too old…do vol. work to keep my skills up in profession. But the love of music keeps me going

    • Josephbeggs
    • Larry

      I floundered with some success in the late 70’s thru the early 80’s. I slowed down to raise a family and put it on hold for many years.In the last 10-12 i got serious and focused on my writing and recording and put out my first solo cd in 2006.Im about to release my 2nd solo cd.Because i am older i think success will come more from playing in a niche market that caters to people from say,40-65 and loves music.My biggest concern is not how to market a cd and merchandise and sell my self at shows.My biggest concern is reaching demographic target groups.Babby boomers and thos a few years after are a guying market.Im trying to figure out how to reach them on a larger scale.

      Check out my stuff and tell me what you think..

      • bigdrewlittle

        Just gave u a listen on RN – Sunrise in New Orleans is sweet as hell man – you sound a LOT like John Hiatt and that’s a good thing. I needs to find me a studio!

    • Scott James

      Awesome. Thanks for sharing! Very encouraging.

    • Wayne Marshall

      I just ran up on this post, Brilliant but is there anyone here that will help answer some questions regarding older artist / writers in the digital age Thanks in advance
      Wayne 🙂

    • kgomotso

      I am 40 and recorded an album way back when I was 25. it didn’t go very far because soon after completing it, I discovered I was expecting my (only) child. I gave up everything from that moment on and focused on this excitement…. These past few months I have really been burning to get my art back but have been having a lot of doubts. This post is encouraging me and I do know that not only is my voice richer and stronger now but my interpretation is more mature and deep. I guess all that comes with age. I believe I can still be able to revive my career.

    • Peter McGrath

      Wisdom comes with age? Don’t kid yourself. If that was remotely true, the world would be a much happier place.

    • Jenn B Hudson

      Me. So glad to be amongst Friends…thats my goal I guess being able to hang out with wonderful dedicated friends who love what we do.

    • Julio Bello

      Im 20 Just turn in November
      Well my story starts like this I started to play drums age 6 with my moms pots and my dad is a musician so he bought me one used I started to play it I love to play with it but when I turn 10-11 my love to play decrease and now that I’m little older I’m getting that love back but it has been years I haven’t play the drums even though my brother has one in his room but now I want to play learn more about the Beaty of playing instruments my dad was going to teach me how to play bass but since I lost my focus I never learn a thing well at least I know the names of each string 5 string bass but I want to hear from a musician can I learn how to play bass in no time or what do I have to learn in order to play any song like I do in a drum set

    • I’m with ya’ bro!

  • Nice!

  • Teed

    One of the best concerts I ever saw was Stephane Grapelli playing in his 80s. He didn’t become famous in America until he was over 60s. Some of you may not have heard of him even now. But he was a great violinist with many fans.

  • Didn't The Band have a song about Stage Fright?

  • G NEal

    I find I have modified my dream to include things more song related and less live music/sex appeal related. Not because I'm less sexy. I'm not. Am I?

  • Steve

    as a 55 years old late bloomer . this article has hit a chord with me. Makes a lot of sense and is worthy of reading!

  • Richknoxx Rk

    Thank Yall for the advice. I'm not going to stop reaching for my dream. I wuz feeling discouraged cuz I'm 37, but I got what it takes. Now I know I'm not alone. Thank u. Can't stop -,won't stop………….peace and luv!

  • Jboogie950

    "Success is created in the present, not the future." Thank you for lifting my spirit. Keep pushing for what you love

  • Butterfly

    I love music created by all ages and enjoy good music from someone at 18 as well as someone at 88. This culture we have in nowadays for valuing only the young is becoming outdated. We younger people want to have older generations to look up to an to be inspired, we want to have something to look foward to. Fame is not going to happen for all of us, but if you can creat good music and have a talent and love for it then communicating that to an audience in a church hall or a theatre is just perhaps more rewarding than the pressures of fame. I just want to make money and a living in music so that bit by bit I can reduce my 9 to 5 hours and eventually let music take over. And if you have to sing for free in order to sing then there is no shame (as long as people are not taking advatange of your good nature) as long as you are out there doing what you love and that you are fortunate enough to have an audience then in my opinion you are a successful musician. Many of us have to have a day job – but work at it and eventually you may not need that day job anymore.

  • ben

    Any trailblazing band must be made of top musicians. Top rock musicians have gotten there because of decades of experience, simmering influences that are only from the 60's-80's

    I am doing something about it:

  • Simon_rst

    hi:) people, nice post, and nice stories, move your arses and do this dream, before you hands start shakin

  • Jason

    My band has musicians as old as 45! We have a great time playing our alternative rock style to the masses here in Toronto! You're never too old!

  • Don’t listen to the “common wisdom”. Or, let me rephrase it this way: Why start listening to it, if you haven’t for the majority of your life? Also, if you don’t think you can “make it” (and I am sure we each have our own definition of “making it”) when you are “older” (and just how old is that, 25? 30? 35? 45? 50?), then just consider the case of the great guitarist Johnny A, who did not “make it” until his mid/late 50s. If you don’t know his music, YOU SHOULD. But that’s okay, other people do, and that is all that counts. Go online sometime and track down an interview with Johnny A talking about how it happened for him, and when (when he least expected it, of course). Check it out, and check out his music. And then tell me that you are too old to make it. Maybe if “making it” requires being young and beautiful, then you need to change your focus to a different kind of “making it” or maybe a little different approach to your music. Maybe “stardom” is impossible, But ARTISTS can still make it when they are older, if they love what they do.

  • Montgomery Guns Productions

    I agree you are never to old to start selling your music and follow your dream.

    Songwriter Troy Montgomery “Montgomery Guns Productions”

  • Amaryllis Santiago

    Hi Dennis….CONGRATS on your successes…I agree with you as well…we are "NEVER" TOO OLD….I am up For Consideration……in the 54th GRAMMY's!!!!!! Sabor Latino CD Released…through CDBaby……made it through the Entry Process and the Screening Process…now its up to NARAS Voting Members to vote/consider and we will find out if we "made it"…..for the next process……We are never….ever to old!!!

  • Saxop

    Were I good with algebra I would offer the readers an equation for abilities x appeal=chance for success. The more the age, the less the appeal and the more abilitiy you would need to overcome the appeal hurdle.

    Am I sounding negative? I am 58 and the dream is still alive in me. These days, though, my best case scenario is more like seeing my name above the headliner, thus: Saxop Presents – Big Hair Ego and the Flunkies!

    I write, produce, engineer, master and spin my little webs (which, incidentally, I am learning how to build) and I’m perfectly willing to push some talented, pretty SuperEgo into the spotlight.

    A long time ago in a country far, far away (New York circa early 80s) the Musician’s Union asked their members one survey question: Do you make your living playing music? Answer (drum roll): Yes – 2% – everybody else was a hobbyist. btw, the New York directory contained around 90,000 names.

    Still, ya gotta believe, ya gotta believe . .

  • I think there is some merit to that theoretical equation, for sure. Speaking of age, I saw Richard Thompson last night and, man, has that guy just improved over the years. His voice is stronger, clearer, more agile, and with a wider range than ever before. Of course, he did get his start young! So I'm not making that point about his age and "making it." But wow. That concert made me think, "hmmm. Maybe getting older ain't that bad."

  • Barryl31

    I am about to turn 32 and moving to Nashville next week to play music for a living. I wouldn't do it if I thought I was too old (although I did find this page while searching for average musician age). I don't think age matters anymore unless you are wanting to be the next justin beiber and have a bunch of screaming 12 year old fans. who would want that anyway? Life is too short to not pursue your passions. Always go for it…

  • william peavy

    a great one…. I think Rick Danko wrote that one.

    • That guy was amazing. He moved like a muppet on stage.

  • Brahms was 47 when he wrote his first symphony. Then again, Mozart died at 35. Neither guy knew when the end would come, though. So focus on now. I’m 47, and that’s old enough to remember that it was much harder to make your own success twenty-five years ago than it is now.

    Funny, but true: My daughter started singing solo on stage for hundreds of people when she was six. Yesterday she told me she thinks she’s too old to do it any more. She’s 8 now!

  • Never ever ever ever ever too old – my song Sexy Sixty would not have made sense until a couple of years ago and I know I’ll have a great song when my ninety fifth comes around.

  • Oh, so glad to hear it. Keep rockin!

  • Wow! It's all downhill from 8! haha. Good thoughts. Thanks for sharing. In poetry, you're generally considered a "young poet" until you reach about 40.

  • Scott James

    “Don’t put limitation on yourself, other people will do it for you” – James Cameron!

  • Doug Welborn

    Say Hey Karo; Whose life is it? Yours!!! Don't let your perception of what other people may think control your actions. I'm 67 and retired from over 40 baseball after last summer (I was a pitcher and got older than my fastball) I started writing songs and recorded an album and to date have 20 releases. Did the first 14 songs in three months. Hadn't played an instrument or sang since high school (Was too busy playing sports) When I couldn't find any players who would practice and try to be good I saw music as a venue where one person could be a team with help of course…but you control your ideas and ultimately the product or end result. As long as you like it that's all that matters. Music is like making a banana pudding and sharing it with others. Don't fear rejection. I'm a salesman and you learn to deal with it. Remember the onlly being that loves you more than you love yourself is your dog and dog is God spelled backwards! Make your music and if you like it others will also. God bless! Doug Welborn; Songwriter and Croaker.

  • CelebrityShowcase

    There is no such thing as too old. Some of us have the opportunity to make music and videos that appeal to all ages, then there are those that are time warped or stuck on one genre. A real musician knows his niche. I for one did not have the confidence as a songwriter when I was younger. After writing six novels, I have decided to go back to my first love. Which is music.

  • Thomas

    Now THIS says something to me. I’m now sixty and assembling a group…my songs…my guitars…with my own (nothing spared) studio all to myself. It’s pretty daunting…but less so thanks to this essay.

    • Scott James

      Awesome! I’m excited for you.

  • Wow. The article and your (Dennis) comment was just what I needed! I keep thinking I’ll be rejected…feel rejected. But now my daughter and I have a duo and our album just came out..and we just got a regular gig..The funny thing is..the people there cheer us..and talk to us after..and it doesn’t seem to matter to them. I am still hoping to get licensed, as you are, with Mark Shultz or Sandy Patty..have to keep discouragement down. btw, if you get a chance, you can hear some of our songs at Love, Marlene*** of Nightbloom

  • Pingback: Are You Too Old to Make It? | DIY Musician « nightbloommusic()

  • John Milstead

    Found out I could play piano by ear at 20. I started singing at age 25. . Wrote and produced my first record at age 30. Featured in many vocalist and artist publications and magazines. Sold 4,000 copies in a short period. At age 33 I toured with Sister Hazel and BB King.
    Age 34 now I sang on the Today Show in New York back in May after winning a contest. I currently am pitching a song to Rascal Flats, in Nashville writing and producing full time. At 34 I feel I'm just now tapping into my full creative ability,

    John Milstead

    • Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

    • Ricci Perkins

      That’s very encouraging. Thank you for sharing. I’m close to your age, have played piano for 20 years, danced and modeled my whole life but only recently found out I could sing and write music. Now I feel like I’m just now getting it together and want to combine my talents. Also in Nashville going for it. I often tell myself, Tina Turner was in her 50s before she had song hit the charts all on her own. If you can see it….you can be it! Never give up on what makes you happy. If God gave you a gift, use it. That’s my philosophy. And age is relative anyway.

    • Frydaddie

      Thanks for that post. I am now 36 at 23 I learned I was able to sing I’n front of people and they thought I was awsome. Before I could breath I was living in nashville trying to get someone to hear me. I went home tail between my legs it took ten years to finally get to where I felt I had learned the craft. Now older and wiser I am going to give it a shot again. Your post gave me that hope back!

  • This whole age issue is something that the record companies put into motion some years back. It’s all been about demographics: the 12 to 20 year old girls were the ones buying the records for a long time. This was a big reason why the record execs kept such an eye on the young up-and-comers. But fortunately the game has taken a change.
    The internet has given the individual artist a chance to take full charge of his/her career, and there’s no stopping. The days of tyrannical rule of the record companies are swiftly coming to an end — so they can no longer dictate policy concerning age.
    The time is coming when record companies will mainly be used as distribution outlets. They will no longer have the power to dictate what artist they deem as sale-able based on age.

  • Despair
    (Neurotic disorder)

    I grow old, the years pass by
    And I still struggle, trying to find
    A balance point between my body and my mind

    The desperate attempt to live
    A kind of life, which I believed
    Will not allow any of them to have the lead

    No, I don’t want to be the man I am
    I want to change myself, and when
    The demons within me will be restrained

    I’m sick with all these contradictions in me!
    I need peace and calm, I need integrity

    No, I ´m not giving up
    But sometimes I just want to stop
    And give myself away
    Stand up! Get up!

    I’m afraid that when I die
    Only then I will be satisfied,
    But now I’m wasting my energy and time

    My power and my passion are
    Exhausted in this war – it’s hard
    To give, when you care only not to break in parts

    I dream of two warm arms wrapped around me tonight,
    For our kids that will have our life justified

    No, I’m not giving up
    But sometime, how I want to stop
    And give myself away

    Stand up! Get up! Stand up!

    Leave at the end free your body and mind
    It is calm and peace that I’m willing to find

    No, I’m not giving up
    But sometimes I just want to stop
    And give myself away – get up, stand up, stand up!

    by DENJO

  • Despair
    (Neurotic disorder)

    I grow old, the years pass by
    And I still struggle, trying to find
    A balance point between my body and my mind

    The desperate attempt to live
    A kind of life, which I believed
    Will not allow any of them to have the lead

    No, I don’t want to be the man I am
    I want to change myself, and when
    The demons within me will be restrained

    I’m sick with all these contradictions in me!
    I need peace and calm, I need integrity

    No, I ´m not giving up
    But sometimes I just want to stop
    And give myself away
    Stand up! Get up!

    I’m afraid that when I die
    Only then I will be satisfied,
    But now I’m wasting my energy and time

    My power and my passion are
    Exhausted in this war – it’s hard
    To give, when you care only not to break in parts

    I dream of two warm arms wrapped around me tonight,
    For our kids that will have our life justified

    No, I’m not giving up
    But sometime, how I want to stop
    And give myself away

    Stand up! Get up! Stand up!

    Leave at the end free your body and mind
    It is calm and peace that I’m willing to find

    No, I’m not giving up
    But sometimes I just want to stop
    And give myself away – get up, stand up, stand up!


  • Wow, I like this too.

  • Iantimothy

    The Answer? You already know it ! I would not appeal to a 17 year old with my work but I know how he/she feels ~ I am 53 and there are millions of people five years each side of my age who may well resonate with my understanding of life ~ relationships are clearer ~ I understand quality is better than quantity ~ friendship is better than possession ~ happiness is better than wealth ~ our wisdom and understanding is better than it ever was ~ Ultimately do the things you love and bring you happiness ~ lets be clear WE have never been in a better place ~ the possibility of someone listening to the fruits of our labours is thousands of times better than it was even ten years ago ~ If a song or a meditation resonates with just one other person you have made a difference ~ Ian

    • Q43man

      Don’t sell yourself short on not appealing to 17 year olds. After years of saying I was going to put something on iTunes and Jango, 2 weeks ago I finally did it. After 1 week, the reports came in from Jango and low and behold, more than 127 of my 309 new fans were between 17 to 25 years old. What made this even funnier to me is that I play jazz and covered Oh What a Night (December 1963) by Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons. So I’m playing jazz, which is essentially dead, and playing a song that only 45yrs. and up remember. You never know what people like. The media tells us we’re to old, but ultimately it’s the public that decides.

  • La Quitta

    What do you do when you can’t sing well? You would do instrumentals, I guess! I just need some courage to get started…

  • Roger

    Although they were not in the field of Music remember Rodney Dangerfield dd inot become famous until in his 60's and Col. H Saunders was living off of his retirement pension in his 60's when he hit it with the KFC recipe. So as an oldish musician who just turned 50 success is what you make it remember "Dont think you can know you can".

  • Jeff Blanks

    I’m not sure you’re asking the right question here. In rock’n’roll, to be blunt, people aren’t paying for great art; they’re paying for tribal identification, a good time, and the embodiment of a personal ideal. And part of the ideal (at least in rock’n’roll) is youth. This is why I don’t give my age out in public (or at least try not to). Other musical traditions don’t seem to have the hang-up about “old rookies” (at least “rookies” in the public eye) that rock does. I doubt rock will ever have an equivalent of classical composers Leos Janacek, Micheal Tippett, and Frank Martin, who wrote most of their definitive works in the second half of their lives. (Martin apparently didn’t arrive at his full personal style until he was 50, and all three wrote major works after reaching 70.) But we do what we can, and, yes, there’s the Internet now. Now the question is, “Can we get older *fans* to re-engage, now that they’re so involved with adult life and they might themselves feel funny about getting back in the game?”

  • ChaplainJerryVance

    Howdy Ya’ll, NEVER GIVE UP YOUR DREAM. I’m 63 and have been playing and singing almost all of my life. Made my first CD in 1987 and put iton CD Baby in 2005. I just released my first single
    ” SALVATION DAY ” with HMG Nashville and getting AIR PLAY Worldwide. Give GOD Praise & Glory.
    GOD Bless,

  • Todd Hooper

    Amen to this article and the many comments below. I'm 44 and just now hitting my peak. I'm the best and most skilled I've ever been. I'm playin the folk/blues, writing, singing, harmonica, guitar bass, slide guitar, percussion and I've learned so much. I started late at 19 and caught up. 2012 is gonna be my year to shine. I'm pumped!!!

  • Thanks for sharing your story. Keep rockin'.

  • “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans. I grew up in Philadelphia and I managed to become locally known and then I got drafted. it took 5 years after I returned home to reach that low plateau again but the industry changed so much ( Disco Fever in large Urban Areas ) that I set my sights on the Gulf Coast. In Pensacola Florida it took a while but I eventually was invited to play at large festival events and peformed for a couple thousand+ people and you are correct when you said “it will feel good”. Until my heart attacks and divorce caused me to wander about looking for a new beginning. I now live in N.E. Ohio about 40 miles south of Cleveland. I am experiencing my third or fourth incarnation and building a following of a sort, focusing on mentoring younger paople who have the same dreams I once had. It is hard to encourage someone on the way up the grease pole when you have so many tales of sliding back down. Almost as hard as trying to stay fresh and current when you have redeveloped your style so many times. Stardom is for the young to achieve. So few do so and carry it into thier senior yesr or even through a decade. I encourage older performers to focus on those around you (in coffee house and local talent shows) and encourage them to play and perform for the joy that it brings.. success will come to those it chooses to touch. If you aim for fame and fortune and get neither your life will be a disappointment. If you seek to enjoy your craft and share your knowledge you will be happier and that joy will extend through any achievement of your own and those you have mentored along the way.
    %9 year old singer / songwriter David Gerrard

    • Brian Lisik

      And David Gerrard kicks serious arse while he’s at it…rock on David. From another slightly aging musician 40 or so miles south of C-town.

  • RoyalMan

    I learned classical singing when I was in my teen age. Then I left that and now at the age of 38, I am learning classical singing from the zero. Though I have a melodious voice, but because of lack of practice I have forgotten each and everything. But my passion towards the music has inspired me to start from the initial stage. Please guide me will I be able to make it to the level of playback singing? I am now practicing and want to practice the classical singing for another five to six years before actually start singing. Please advice me whether my vocal chord can be trend to make it good.

  • RoyalMan

    Not getting any problem doing rehearsal. Practicing daily day and night. I just want to make my voice better before actually start singing. At this age when I do practice people become very curious and think me crazy. I close my doors and windows and continue with my rehearsal. Age should not be a hindrance to my dream.

  • enjoinRoger Lindhjem

    I need this. Thanx a lot. Great article….

  • Christy

    Y'all ought to learn how to spell the name of the band you're pitching to. It's Rascal Flatts.

  • Sajada W.

    I didn't realize that I had posted a message a year ago about this article and I'm still inspired. Still writing, still singing, still taking classes, still doing it my way and all the happier for it than I would have been at 20, 30 or even 40. Next year I plan to do everything (cd, Youtube video, perform more, step through whatever doors open and not be upset at what doors close).

  • Outback Larrikin

    Been playing most of my life. In the 60’s We played support for the legendary Easybeats in NSW. I guess that’s where it started for me, tho I don’t think what we did was much like music! Been in many bands since then. Families and the need to earn a living got in the way, although I must admit I enjoyed that too. I’ve played with some big names but never made it to their level. I have enjoyed myself so I suppose the rest doesn’t matter. I’m now 63 and I think I have found a niche market which seems to appeal to a lot of people and I intend to lug into and out of a few more venues yet.

  • Cityneversleepsct

    Thanks for the advice!! Ive been playing in a local band for years, I am now 20 and always worry if im gonna make it, but this was a good eye opener! Thanks again!!

  • Canary Burton

    I started to play piano at age 30. 30 years later my work is performed in Russia, New York City, Belgium, Italy, Ohio, Massachusetts, At 69 I would say my career has just taken off. Never think your too old. I chose jazz and classical simply BECAUSE I started so late. I decided I wouldn’t look foolish play either of those when I “got old”.

  • Gummydata

    Just my 2 cents: I worked for Tony Bennett nearly 25 years ago, and he always joked about the people who told him that he was too old to have any broad appeal. A few days ago, I saw him on Piers Morgan and he did the SAME JOKE! He also had the number one album in the world. I know that he is the exception rather than the rule, but if you can please a young crowd at 85, then we ALL have a chance to sleep well at night and do what we wanted when we were young and dreaming of success in the future. The future never comes, so do what you enjoy today!

  • Thanks for sharing your story. And Easybeats! They're rad.

  • Jlonrecords

    I am 42. I am a singer/songwriter. I got my start as a back-up dancer for Prince in ’94 and now I have well over 400 songs. Am I too old? Well some say “YES”… but I say…as long as you are good, have breath in your body and can deliver a great message in a song…You might have a chance. That’s me… I have always had my head in the clouds..but my feet never left the ground!

    Johnny Walker

  • Wayne Bingham

    This is a very good place to make your feelings herd……

    Im 45 and was on the stage for about 20 years or so (During the 80s and 90s) has an organist, keyboardist and vocal entertainer performing around the UK Societies, Clubs, Pubs, Summer Seasons etc Solo and also in a Duo…But one of the usual things happened and I got married had a child, then divorced and brought up my child on my own has a single Dad, so was not performing, well did some Discos and the Odd Informal Organ society show.

    Now the thing is I'm 46 this year and would really like to start again, but the usual question, Am I to old? Hopefully not…..This is something that I really feel so confident about doing again and would really like some positive feedback on this.

  • Wayne Bingham

    I like your comment makes me feel all the more better for what I want to do…

  • Wayne Bingham

    Well Iv been looking for a comment that can really Inspire me to do what I want to do again and yours has….I'm 45 Organ and Keyboard Vocalist Entertainer spent most of the 80s and 90s around the UK on stage and really want to start again, but was unsure age wise, now I'm not.

    Going to push myself again and aim for the moon, If I miss at least Il be among the stars, thanks again for writing your comment.

  • Larrygowell

    I got divorced a few years ago and than started collecting SS. I always wanted to be an entertainer as a baritone vocalist and play the piano some. I jumped right in with both feet and started having concerts in nursing homes and independent living facilities using background orchestrations, with a good sound system . The response has been overwelming. I just put out my third album and am having the time of my life. Last year I had 53 concerts and this year I think I might get to 100, as word of mouth of my powerful
    baritone voice has spread. Now, other doors are opening in other venues and getting paid a lot more money. I am 63 years old and with all the practicing I have been doing, am in better voice than in anytime in my life! I entered some of my recordings for a contest in Atlanta and was one of the top four winners from a master vocal coach. The other three singers were all young and beautiful and than there was me. The singing coach picked me for my voice and did not consider my age at all, which was refreshing. Now, I have my own recording studio and having a blast. I want to enter some much bigger contests in the future.

    My brother is a songwriter and he just put out a video that has over 55,000 hits on youtube in 2 months. The songs has hit the top 30 in europe. He is 66 and having a ball.

    Do not give up on your dreams no matter what your age!! I plan on performing for a long as I can sing. I love the love I get from people. I have had many people just break done and sob in front of me because they were so touched by the music.

    Anyone can hear some of my recordings by going to and putting in Larry Gowell.

  • Jesus Sosa

    Excellent comment Ricci!! Thanks a lot and God bless you!

  • Reality 101

    What an idiot. What a load of rubbish.

    “Would you not pay for a great artist who was 65 years old? I would. One of the best performances I’ve ever seen was a rock and roll band of men who were all in their 80′s!”.

    What a load of crap… Rock n’ roll is equated with sex, youth, lust, desire. That’s the whole point of it all.

    You’re not going to be relevant breaking it in your mid 40’s in some shitty band nobody gives a toss about unless you play the Violin folk style and call yourself ‘The Pedos’ or something.


    And the cold water of reality….

    • Imagi Nation

      Oh I don’t think so Reality 101… not ALL rock n roll is about sex, lust and youth… Tenacious D is neither of those things but it doesn’t mean those guys don’t rock… if a guy like Jimmy Page can still command an audience at age 68 then why can’t somebody just as good come along who is undiscovered and break big as well… Metallica is in their 50’s now… do they still rock… Soooooo many great rockers in their 60’s and 70’s right now…. Santana, Joe walsh, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, Brian May, Tony Iommi, Chrissey hynde… the list goes on and on…. and personally… I’ve been rocking for over 25 years now…. I will NEVER stop trying and I’m 45… gotta show the young’ns how to ROCK for real!!!!!!!!!

  • Diamond_456

    Look, when someone says "steer clear of pop" then they don't really know what they're talking about.

    Brilliant musicians that people 'drop names about' who are 60 odd and at the end of their careers MADE IT! They were doing it all their lives and dedicated to the art and the scenes they were involved in heavily since their early 20's mostly.

    Any deluded idiot saying "I just made my first CD and I'm 60, I can still play to an appreciative audience" is just so deluded it ain't funny anymore… sorry, I can't laugh 🙁

    Where are you going to get gigs and perform for people 40+ apart from some granny style event or some shit event whereby music hype and people that no their music and vote for it DON'T EXIST?

    I mean, so stupid… the only reason why old people wish to believe in stuff that never eventuates and they can't do is because they're deluded and never got clear about what they wanted to do, side tracked, bumped off course in life and wasted their lives – and there's NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT LOSS OF TIME.

    I'm a realist.. sorry.. you can talk about Susan Boyle and that kinda crap but you guys ain't going on talent shows and many people that pick up music again post 40 just don't have the talent.. They give up for a number of years and the brain/body is just not what it once was..

    You have to face up to reality. Not kid yourself.. very few people have the talent and ability to be relevant post 40 and ALL OF THEM have pretty much been in the industry since they were young and have all the contacts and made some impact underground anyway.

    Someone said to me once as an example over this type of blog "Seasick Steve.." (the blues musician), but how many blues players are there that were friends with Janis Joplin and involved within the timing of the scene like he was since young? Don't be deluded and blow sunshine..

    Are you aware that even the well known mid-tier indie group with label deals break even or less than on US/UK tours anyway?

    I know a group's manager that have had a number rock hit in the states (if I told you the band you'd know who it is but I will not), based in L.A, several major label albums, selling hundreds of thousands of records/near the million mark – members still unable to buy a house each and still flat share. They've been touring with a major label in a luxury coach doing big venues and festivals for about 6 years straight now. I'm kid you not…

    How are you gonna to get gigs and stay relevant if you're playing, say, folk music or blues or classical music given the competition in talent?

    I don't think it's wise to be deluded. I think it's utterly fkn stupid, sorry.

    Loads of people ended up being bus drivers and wasted their lives… maybe it was for a reason and they sensed that the path was wrong anyway..

    Spot On:

    "What an idiot. What a load of rubbish.

    "Would you not pay for a great artist who was 65 years old? I would. One of the best performances I’ve ever seen was a rock and roll band of men who were all in their 80′s!".

    What a load of crap… Rock n' roll is equated with sex, youth, lust, desire. That's the whole point of it all.

    You're not going to be relevant breaking it in your mid 40's in some shitty band nobody gives a toss about unless you play the Violin folk style and call yourself 'The Pedos' or something.


    And the cold water of reality…."

    • I suppose we could squabble over what "making it" even means nowadays, but I think that most people who read this blog understand that they've got to define their own version of success. Sure, the likelihood of someone 45+ breaking into the world of megastars and mass media coverage is slim, but those chances are slim no matter what age you are.

      As to your point about "deluded idiots" making their first CDs at age 60 and playing to an appreciative audience,… not only is that a possible reality; it's a frequent occurrence. I've travelled around to quite a few trade shows over the past few years and have encountered so many people like this it's hard to remember them all.

      In fact, I might argue that a career in the independent music world is friendlier and more sustainable the older you are (provided, of course, that you've arranged your life in such a way to pursue it). There are whole, huge networks of house-concert-bookers, festival promoters, and internet radio DJs who (it could be argued) actually PREFER the music being created by older songwriters precisely because they've gotten on in years; these writers have more to talk about, more depth, MORE passion, wisdom, hurt, skill, and they've bypassed or grown beyond all the shiny loop-de-loops, stylistic pyrotechnics, and scene-ster trappings that lure younger ears and eyes.

      And we always want music from our peer-group, right? Music that speaks to us and our current concerns? I don't think k$sha and Katie Perry are targeting the septuagenarians and trying to grapple with the big questions of imminent mortality, loss, regret, or even more subtle and powerful,… the issue of how to remain hopeful, creative, and fully alive in the face of those heavy forces. Someone who is 50, 60, 70, 80, or older is more equipped to put those feelings into words and song.

      And if you're the lucky and talented older musician who can capture that crowd's attention, you won't only get appreciation…. you'll get PAID! Because, after all, most older folks still like to pay for music, and chances are they're happy to give money (by purchasing a ticket and a CD) to the performers. Whereas younger folks… well, not to sound reverse agist (since I'm guilty of both these crimes), but… can you sneak me in the back door to the show? Torrent much?

      Best of all, when you're an older writer/performer, the actual touring is more of a sane affair (assuming you're targeting an older crowd) because the shows are earlier, the crowds are more attentive, the emotional response is more immediate, the money can be better, if it's a house show– the hosts might feed you and put you up in their comfy guest room as opposed to the Motel Craphouse down the street, and no one will think you any weirder for drinking a nice tall glass of cranberry juice and sparkling water instead of a Red Bull and Vodka.

      So, all this is to say– will you become the next Beatles or Beyonce if you're over 40, or 30 even? Probably not. But face it, rockstars, pop stars, media stars are a dying breed. You probably weren't going to be the next Beatles or Beyonce anyway. Can you create lasting music worthy of an audience at any age? Yes. Can you find that audience at any age? Yes. And can that audience support you, or at least pay you for your creativity? Yes.

      Here's a few quotes I like…

      George Bernard Shaw said "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

      Mark Twain: "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

      C.S. Lewis said "Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."

  • Obvious 101

    I think the point here is that no matter what age, as a songwriter and musician, you should continue to learn, create, and hone your skills, if you truly believe that what you have to offer is important.

    I highly doubt that a person in their 40's has any delusion of suddenly becoming a rock star.

    Regardless, I'm sure the rest of the world can finally breathe a sigh of relief and move on , now that we have the good doctor of reality to remind us of what exactly "reality" is.

  • Joanne LeBlanc

    I am coming into my own as an upcoming blues singer.. I just started last year and I am over 50. IMHO -it's never too late (and reception has been fantastic!). Audiences like what they like – no matter what your age, if you have a passion to do your music thing — go for it!

  • Awesome! Keep us posted on your musical life.

  • You're never too old to rock n roll. And music keeps you young, no matter what your age. Look at guys like Stravinsky and Rubinstein for examples for that.

  • Paul Wandtke drummer

    cool beans! I started late. Started getting serious with drums at 19. Did my first professional tour w/ Smashing Pumpkins as drummer for Kill Hannah at 24. I just started songwriting/singing and I’m 26. Doing Warped tour with a band from L.A. and plans are to launch my original project by the end of the year…

  • Paul, nice! You stay awfully busy. Keep us posted.

  • TheFatboy

    I felt like i was too old and I'm only 26. But to see so many comments from ppl who have formed their own brand of success at ages 40, 50, and older i realize im just starting and i can only go up. Thank you all.

  • Guess you inhabit the Medina-Akron area. What you say is so true. Music…good indie music has been a staple of the N OH area for as long as I can remember…I am not a musician…I am a fan…very eclectic in my likes…and like so many others got caught up in the life cycle of work, family, responsibility, bills and let my own "passions" go by the wayside because lightening didn't strike & I failed to achieve my "dreams" in a timely manner …I've reconnected, thanks to the internet & the knowledgable media savvy "young-uns" in my life. The amount of profound untapped talent out there is enormous. Never give up on your dreams; dreams have no expiration date, you just never know when you'll be at the right place at the right time…which will never happen if you throw in the towel because you hold to the misguided sentiment that "you're too old (or too young for that matter). So until then enjoy what you have & share it as some have said…through local venues…coffee houses, churches, local events from charitable causes to holiday celebrations…
    If at my age (which is only a number) can enjoy & be captivated by young talent (right now it's Enation) why subscribe to the notion that "the young" as a whole base their music appreciation & savvy simply on age…more than ever they recognize & appreciate skill, dedication and true talent and as always they will support & follow,

  • I'm 41, just released my band Makar's 2nd album, Funeral Genius. Already generating reviews, band of the month, radio play etc. Planning to hit the colleges, clubs, internet, and everywhere else to get the word out. Never going to stop Rocking. Never! I'm a musician why should I stop playing? Should I take what I love and put it up on a shelf and let it die there when it's inside of me raging to get out every minute of the day? Hell no! I'm riding this musical wave to the grave with the goal of improving every year, making better albums, playing piano better and becoming a better artist and performer on every level. Never surrender! Music is life and my life is music. Keep on keeping on my musical brothers and sisters.

  • Tarexi

    Thanks. Your post made me feel that I was still young at 57. Yes I still want to 'make it' in the music business. To me that means making enough to keep doing it the rest of my life. I think I've been stalling because of dreading success after a brief experience with it in Hollywood in my 20's, the money and fame seemed not worth the price. Now I know any success won't have squat to do with how I look, and with record companies becoming obsolete and all the new worldwide marketing opportunites, I can keep control of any aspect all the way. Anyway, album 3/4 done… neo-soul is coming!

  • Dana

    Hey, I'm 57 — older than most of you, by far.
    At 31, I started touring with my band. When my musician friends at home were buying houses and getting OFF the road, my band and I were just getting it going. We appeared on national TV shows several times when I was 33. I got to hang out with movie stars and music business people, and ride in limo's. You wouldn't know my name, but I got to do quite a bit more than your average musician. At age 52, I started playing concerts in Europe and at major music festivals. In the last 6 years, I've put out 3 CDs of original music. At age 56, one of my songs was used on "South Park", who paid $30,000 for the right to it (!) Now, my next CD (this one, with my wife – an awesome singer) comes out in about two months. We got to use some of the top musicians and studios on it.
    Here's the point. If you love music, make it. Don't worry about how old you are, or aren't. Enjoy what you do, and get off the couch. When you don't create, you get old. I've got 3 more CDs planned to release before I turn 60!

    • Amanee

      Your comment is awesome. When I was 4 yrs old, my parents put me in acting classes because of my outgoing personality. I started singing at age 11. In high school, I would get musical roles because I can sing. And I just knew my major in college would be “THEATER”. I changed my mind when I met the Theater Director in college, who was well known to a few famous actors/actresses/singers. He was……EVIL….lol….but I never let him know that. Anyway, I majored in psychology and I continued to dabble in singing. I auditioned for the EVIL Theater Director and was told by him that I can sing. That gave me confidence that I needed. Then I was told by many associates & family members to pursue singing because of my vocal range. Unfortunately singing was not my first love at that time….so I didn’t pursue singing. I was too busy having fun and being young.

      Sometimes I wish that I can turn back the clock….but then again being a mature artist is much safer in today’s music industry. At 45 yrs old, I returned to singing again because I love music so much….it’s in my blood. This time I’m going all the way.

      It’s good to read your comment because it’s so positive to some one like myself.

      • Maybe this explains it, the corporate recording industry doesn’t want advanced talent as much as they want someone that is easy to take advantage of.

        • floyd

          What corporate industry? We won the fight and. They missed the flight. Write it, record it and post it worldwide….we are winning. We are the proud minstrels of thee new age.Don’t let the fat cats back in PLEASE…ROCK ON!

    • Thank you! I’m about to be 49 and I started my music career 2 years ago. I cringe everytime a few naysayers say “why did you wait to start so late?” Only then do I briefly begin to second guess my age factor. Your comment is very inspiring. We need to remember that good music never age. Thanks again!

    • I’m 48 and just put out my first two CD’s. I was helping all these bands out from around the world by promoting them and tweeting their music. Then I decided it’s time to do something myself. I love music, and I wanted to put out music that is a bit different that what I’ve been hearing on the radio and seeing online. I’m a world music lover, so love to mix in weird sounds and instruments into my songs. If Betty White can still be acting at her age, then I think musicians should have the same opportunities. hehe

    • Paul Caporino (M.O.T.O.)

      I’m 51 and I tour all the time. Since January of 2011 I’ve been on the road almost constantly. New Zealand, Australia, Japan, North America & Europe. Gotta do it!

    • Pucchi

      love it

    • Carl Rachel

      In my “Book of Carl” I wrote: “Music is a timeless train. You’ll never be too late to the station, it waits until everyone is on board, and we’re ultimately all bound for the same destination.”

      • Adam Jun


    • Scott James

      Awesome! Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Melissamarquais

      I love your post!! It’s so true! I am 34 years old and I own a catalogue of music that was written by my late Grandfather, Ernest G. Schweikert. I spent years finding his music, rescinded the rights to his work and recorded an album of some of his songs with some of the best musicians in the world!! Then.. I did nothing. It sat on a shelf in my closet for five years because “life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” Now, at 34 I am absolutely appalled to hear myself say “I USED to do music.” Used to? That was my whole life! I had such big dream and aspirations. Five years has gone by and I haven’t sang. I used to sing every single day!!! I feel like I missed the boat because I’m too old now but I also feel like I am going to look back in five more years and realize I was ONLY 34! So… I released my album on Itunes and CDbaby and I am moving from an apartment to a house so I have the ability to practice and get my voice back in shape… there is no reason that music should be something I USED to do. If you would like to show some support for my CD the name of it is called “Coffee In Connecticut” and my name is Melissa Marquais! 🙂

    • Stani Steinbock

      OK, I’m turning 63 in December and have made a great part of my living during the last few years playing a small zither-type instrument called the kantele. It’s the Finnish national instrument and sounds very beautiful. I have invented a bunch of special tunings and bring about 7 of these instruments tuned differently to my gigs, which have been everything from kindergartens to old age homes and hospitals.
      I made a CD called the Runaway Kantele (available on CDBaby) which has received very favourable reviews. Whether this can be called “making it in music” is, of corse, open to debate, but I don’t complain at all.
      In 2013 I did 50 gigs, in 2014 only 28 so far, but it’s because I’ve been busy with other projects.

    • Marek Cieszewski

      Thank you!

  • ErnestWhaley

    Hi Everyone. 67 here, and just put my first self produced/home studio, CD here on CDBaby. “Blessings And Balance” is the title. It coincided with being called on a Saturday, and told not to show up for work the following Monday.
    I have since started to finish some of the 4 plus hours of music I have in my “work Tape” folder, and working daily on my performing. Late spring I will be heading to Nashville (will be starting a Kick Starter Campaign to raise the funds), for my first “Studio” CD. I will get this CD cut, and I will follow it up with several more. To quote a line from one of the tunes I just got copy written, “I was hanging out at the end of the road, but it’s still not quitting time!” 🙂 Blessings and Balance.

  • Maria

    I am 55 and just released my first album and about to perform as a guest artist in my first professional gig. I thought I've been fanciful about my dreams but life has always presented me challenges that have had to be dealt with first and feel that now it's my turn. Keep being creative with your talent…I performed in nursing homes for years which was rewarding as they encouraged me to move forward and take the step in recording.

  • Martin

    Music keeps you young!! Don't ever let anyone stop you or tell you otherwise..At the ripe old age of 46 i have around 2,000 gigs under my belt from 26 years of constant gigging..sometimes 2-3 a week even now..well even more so now..I have a lifetime of memories and incredible experinces..some desperately awful, some so magical they defy description. I'd never swap what i've done or will do for many years (hopefully) for a brief bit of 'stardom' and a bitter expeience with the 'Biz'.. Your own dreams and hopes are yours and no one can ever take them away,… 'making it' ?? Whats that all about anyway heh heh? Apart from the lucky few who made serious serious money, i couldn't care less. I'm in the resident merseybeat band at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, have been for 3 years now and i started as a hopeless bedroom player all those years ago, just dreaming of being in The Beatles! I wouldn't swap my memories for anything. Keep your dreams, keep playing and just enjoy every beat you play alone or with others, and the years will tumble off those shoulders 🙂

  • Rikers Island

    Hey guys, my name is Daniel and I've spent the last ten years or more agonizing over the questions of my age and dream to be a songwriter/performer/artist – I'm 43. From an early age of 8 or 9 I knew that I felt an affinity towards and an ageless connection to the music I listened to and loved. I was certain that my destiny would be to write music of all types and to rock around the world!!! As I passed through my late teens and into my twenties I began taking steps towards that goal. Playin in bands, goin to shows, writin songs.I even went to work in one of our cities most respected live event venues.Then, in my early twenties I opened my own club believing it would keep me close to the action. Some of the people in my circle indeed went on to huge international sucess! Back then it seemed like I was going in the right direction…But somehow along the way I got lost. I did'nt realize – or failed to accept – that instead of pursuing my original dream I had slipped into the trap of pursuing a ' lifestyle '. What started out as just part of the routine of having a couple of beers during band practice and going out to bars and boozecans to see friends and contemporaries perform turned into a lifetime of addiction with its never-ending ups and downs. As the song goes – The Years Slipped Away. I never really gave up on music but what once seemed an attainable dream now became more of an unreachable fantasy, due mainly to my beliefs that I was too old to contribute and too old to be relevant as well as being overly concerned with how silly I might look competing with the new generation(s). Fast-forward now to the point. My connection to music trancends my daily life in almost every conceivable fashion. I may have allowed things to become distorted and hazy. My goals muddled over time, due mainly to the adulterants introduced to my body and soul, and that time which had aged me. But now even worse I was steeped in fear and anxiety over the time that was lost. My confidence was now shattered. But when I was that young lad and to this very moment it is music that connects me to the world. It is the lens from which I view everything around me. How ridiculous of me to waste the last ten years worrying about such trivial things like how I will look. People do not see music (despite the age we live in) they hear it – they feel it!!! Music that is true and written from that raw, honest place inside of us is truely ageless is it not. Categorizations in music are record company designations used to put us in a place that they control(ed). But this is a new age with boundless opportunities for music makers to bring thier creations directly to the people and it is the record companies that have become increasingly irrelevant. Couple this along with the fact that music listeners today have much more of an ecclectic taste in music and want to fill thier I-pods with stuff that reflects the full spectrum of thier moods. Kids and adults alike today like set lists not albums and they will listen to a song from the fifties or sixties or even earlier followed by a song released this year and so forth. So with a bit of renewed vigour I picked up my guitar recently and actually wrote three new songs. They are as good or better than anything I wrote twenty years ago and this has given me the confidence to believe again. Sure, I probably won't become the ' Rockstar ' I wanted to become but I'm writing music again and I'm excited about it ! I'm defining goals and I'm setting my sails towards them. I'm going to do it because I love it, it is who I am, and I'm going to be doing it until the day I die! If you are an artist with something to say I suggest you do it to – Age be damned! Play it Don't say it !!!

  • Well at 57 I’m a wanna be, have been performing for many years, have written a few songs and I kinda just let it take it’s course which was no where except making a living doing what I love singing entertaining . Well I got married raised a family and kept performing, wouldn’t change a thing, my family always came first but now that my kids are all grown up. I’ve got the time and the wisedom to continue on my journey They didn’t have all the tools available to promote like they have now so I’m going to find out if some of my songs can find an audience. Well I don’t think age is a factor it’s all in the song a good song is just that a good song. Well put one of my songs on CD Baby lthis week, lets see what happens. The song is called Mesmerized by Eddie Sal. Well let the games begin for I shall sing another day.

  • Misha Sutherland

    Thanx for the inspiration, going to finish my songs and start performing them at gigs and get my cds and mailing list started, thankyou xxxxx

  • It doesn’t matter how old you are if there is a demand for your product.

  • Mathew

    I really thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting up this post. It has boosted my self confidence and "I am going to chase my dream".

    Thank You very much…

  • Jane Dunne

    Fantastic Dana! I'm about to be 38 and thinking about starting a band. It just seems like the older I get, the freer I get and I feel like I'm just starting to "live". I've been doing all kinds of things as I've grown older that I didn't do when I was younger because I was too busy trying to join the corporate world. Well I did join it and work as an application developer for a major bank (yawn). So I've been putting some things into place so I can make passive income doing what I love to do to fund other things I love to do, like being in a band. It's good to hear other people who are older are starting bands, etc. Thanks!

  • Le Lien

    Hi Martin! You are an inspiration! Do you have a blog? I would like to read about your life journey.

  • Dan Hylton

    "I don't think k$sha and Katie Perry are targeting the septuagenarians and trying to grapple with the big questions of imminent mortality, loss, regret, or even more subtle and powerful,… the issue of how to remain hopeful, creative, and fully alive in the face of those heavy forces. Someone who is 50, 60, 70, 80, or older is more equipped to put those feelings into words and song." That's an incredibly powerful sentiment – thanks for putting it that way.

    I remember seeing an interview from U2 back in the height of the "N'Sync" days where he was asked to comment on the boy-band craze. His remark: "They are boys. We are men."

  • Ozone333

    I began writing electronic music in 1999 at the age of 35. I was a DJ in the Boston nightclub scene in my late teens and 20's. My wife wanted me to quit being a DJ and get a "Real Job", so I became a Union Electrician and built a sound studio in my home. I began writing music as an alternative way to get that feeling I love without working in front of people as a DJ. In 2004 my music was discovered on MySpace by MTV 's television department and was offered an opportunity to license my music to them for use in their TV shows. I continue to license my music and sell it on CD Baby. I celebrated my 48th birthday a few days ago. I have no intention of quitting anytime soon. I have over 10 albums worth of music that is yet to be published and I'm thinking about returning to the world of Disc Jockeying on a friend of mines radio station and possibly mobile too. Don't let the nay sayers kill your passion!
    ozone333 –

  • Nice! Rock it.

  • Lisa

    Very encouraging article and posts! I sang in bands in the late 70’s and 80’s, then raised a family and then went back to school. Lost my passion for music, but life events have made it return full fever. I’m a 54 year old female looking at starting a Christian metal band. Used school money to buy a Duesenberg guitar, and the pieces are falling into place. I feel like I am 16 inside, and will pursue this will all my heart, mind and soul.

    • Dray4772

      i just turned 40 and had completely given up on music and singing.i have about 30 songs ive written over the years i sang with a christian group in my mid 20s and even opened for a gospel group (commissioned) 25 we disbanded and havent done anything since.i still ocaisionally sing and write ,just sang at a funeral and surpisingly got a response that it sounded very professional.been singing in choirs since i was 3yrs old my mother gave me lessons all my life she still sings at 63.i guess my age and family life kinda fenced off my desire to continue because i felt like i missed my oppertunities.seems i need to start rethinking my desires again since ill be moving to LA this summer.ill give it a try.

  • Mel

    Well, I am now 54 years old, I had my first private voice lesson when I was 31, a single mom at the time. I grew up in a singing family, the middle of 7 kids, mom was music minister at church so I took singing for granted. I really did not know I could sing until I was given a full scholarship to be a music major after my husband and I separated and I began college. WOW, I could not believe it. SO, I went to school 1 1/2 years in community college, then went to the BIG university for 6 years and by the time I graduated I was 37 and considered too old for performance. What was I to do??? What am I to do????????? I love to sing and I always practice. I am still waiting for my ship to come in…. LOL

    • Saraswati3451

      If you are waiting, you will be waiting. Be clear what it is you want to do, and what you will do to achieve it. You are NOT too old for performance who told you that? some envious colleague? LOL you have energy and a love of the craft so get a few charts together of cover tunes and /or your originals, get a pianist, find a living room if you need to , sing for people who love you and support you, et your chops together and perform. If that is your passion, you must do it or you will surely feel the pain of not expressing yourself. Onward and upward!!!

  • Frank Serio

    Born in 1952. In 68+69 I had a "garage band" that composed original songs..(about 23 tunes)..Guitar, keyboards, drums.. I played keyboards, keyboard bass, and sang lead vocals.. Songs were influenced by the music of the times..Doors, Chicago, Jeff Beck, Clapton etc to name a few.. We recorded a few tunes at a local Boston recording studio in the form of a "45 rpm".. During rehearsals we used a Sony "reel to reel" 8 track recorder and captured all our tunes that were later edited to make a "DEMO"..We used this demo tape to market our band at local clubs and venues.. With no manager or agent to guide us we did what we thought was the right thing.. Unfortunately, it wasn't.. Our biggest chance to break into the music business came in 1970, when my dad contacted his best friend Don Costa who was one of the greatest arrangers in American music..He also produced several of Frank Sinatra's albums..My dad made the call and spoke with Don.I was in the room when my dad made the call…Much to my surprise, Don had informed my dad not to send me Vegas and not to get involved with this business.. I was shocked and in disbelief that it would come from him.. From that point on, I didn't want anything to do with music because there are just too many people trying to do the same thing and no-one gives a damn about anybody unless there's some profit to be made..

  • Suzi

    Just ask B.B. King 😉

  • GREAT article. I was an aspiring actress—and mostly waitress— in my 20s, started writing lyrics and worked with a vocal group when I was 32, wrote lyrics for film and TV in my 40s and began producing vocal jazz albums with my lyrics in my 50s (I’m rounding off the decades of course). My last release was a 2011 Grammy nominee for Best Jazz Vocal Album. I was 62.

    • Scott James

      Awesome. Congrats!

  • bryan lyrics

    that felt so good reading. i been making music for years and im 28 now and just really starting to do shows in such. i really just did it for the love but im at the poit in my life where i feel like my music is good enough for the masses and that i should just go for whatever. be it stadium statis or just a bunch of small clubs of people just knowing who i am and loving my music. thanks for makinig my dream a little more clearer

  • Rocky Farnsworth

    Well it's great advice, I've been trying to 'Make It', or at least 'Make SOMETHING', out of my music playing. Unfortunately, everytime I've gotten close to getting a start at something bigger then a local bar, or club, my body has foiled me. I started out taking lessons / Playing drums when I was 5 years old after my father, (a trumpet player in the Musicians Union), took me to a Buddy Rich concert. When I was 11, the band I was in started playing alot around town, and were starting to make a name… next thing I know, I'm in the hospital for 6 months, and a 'full bodycast' for a year after that due to major back surgery. During this time since I couldn't play drums flat on my back, I had my father take the money I had saved up, and he bought me the best guitar it would buy, (a very cheap Yamaha Classical), I didn't have that much saved up! So with that, a VERY cheap cassette deck, (the kind in elementary school!), and the one tape I had, Cream Live Vol.2, and I did my best for that 16 months to pick out the notes on that tape on that cheap guitar. A couple of months after getting out of that cast, I met a guitarist, and his elder brother who was a fairly famous guitarist, and by watching them, I learned alot on playing guitar. Years, and bands later, I was in a band that was playing local clubs and bars, parties, etc… and looked like we were getting a pretty good following, and, BAM!!! I woke up in the ICU after brain surgery to remove a cyst the size of a softball, (5+1/2" in diameter), that put me out, literally! I was DOA on arrival at the hospital. Two following brain surgeries, and 17 related surgeries to a tube that was put in me from my skull down to my abdomen, I'm still trying to 're-learn' alot of my playing ability, due to memory loss caused by the brain surgeries. And now I'm developing, 'Raynaulds Syndrome', which causes the blood vessels in the tips of my fingers and toes to shrink to the point where blood can't get through to them. In other words, imagine all your fingers getting slammed in a car door, and that's what my fingers feel like when this comes on, and they have no cure, or any kind of anything to releave the pain, (great for a guitarist!). I hear the Mayo Clinic is working on some kind of gloves that will calm down the pain, keywords there, "Are Working On"!!
    I am now 53, and back when I was between 9 and 25, I wanted 'Fame and Fortune', now I'd just be happy with a little 'Fame' in my local area!! But even after all this, I have not given up, and I am still trying to get a band together again, and play out locally, and see what happens! Anyone looking to play in the Washington, D.C. area?

    • Saraswati3451

      God bless you keep you and heal you. Your creativity and drive are vibrant and filled with light so keep on as you have been doing. AND hows your singing voice? cultivate that as well so when any part of your body calls for a rest you can chirp ad tune or two out there!!! All the best to you..

    • Scott James

      Wow! That’s an awful lot to go through. I feel for you and wish you the best!

  • alphalite

    Dana, i just read your comment and I have to say that you have inspired me today. I started out when i was a kido singing and dancing everywhere i can. As soon as i hit my 20s, my focus drifted to other things i wanted to do. I'm 30 now and after reading your comment, my will to create and perform has just reignited! Thanks a million!!

  • Sweethoneyonfacebook

    SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK has been gracing stages for almost 39 years. there have been 23 different women in the group, working to keep everything going and passing the legacy onward. Although many people know about us an appreciate us, we haven't "made it" in the traditional sense, but we are still here, enthusiastically taking on new challenges, embracing new music, writing and touring. As artists, all we know is to create and keep our business afloat without benefit of a big team of people helping and a machine to keep our names out there. We rely on social media and our fans to get the works and notes out there. We love our fans and love the music we bring to the stage. So to Make it? thats relative…we'd love to feel that we've made "something" LOL…to be able to keep on keepin' on is a major accomplishment. We strive on for more and more creative experiences and I think that's amazing in this day and age so Drea,. but dream in true reality and do the work! Peaceful and inspired day to all!

  • Alright…. Maybe you’re right!
    I just turned 46 years old… I’ve already released 2 records through CD Baby and on itunes.
    ( I dropped my first record ”Beware the Weapon” when I was 40 years old)
    Although I suck at self promotion and marketing, and my records were hardly even heard…
    I have written, performed, and produced over 200 songs in the last 6 years…
    But I haven’t released my best songs! (in my opinion)
    I just kinda’ figured I was too old now, and threw in the towel.
    But I guess after reading this, I’ll finish what I started after all!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    L A M M Y aka Mr. True

  • Planetbutterfly

    Fiona – I had a near eath experience, too, and after realizing that I had been given a second chance at life, I began to find myself and discover a talent for writing music and lyrics. I'm 50 as of yesterday, and discovered on January 9 (yes, I remember the date) that I am an artist. My life turned right-side-out for the first time EVER! I am an artist and a musician and somehow knew it all along but pursued avenues that I thought were a better choice for a woman, wife, and mother. I feel like I woke up and I feel alive for the first time ever – yes ever. I worry about the age number but everyone who has heard my music is left breathless. I have had two people cry during a couple of my songs. I feel like I am bursting at the seams and have been writing a song nearly every other day. I can't seem to stop it and I hear it while I sleep at night. I feel like the flood gates have opened up and I am ALIVE after being given a second chance. 50 is only a number and considering my Dad is 86 – it's a rather small number……

  • Sixstringfever

    Making music has no age limit..Society makes everybody believe that once you turn a certain age that your making music days are over or you have to change up music styles…Hell with society and their crap!

  • Geoff

    I was sent this article following a friendly and light-hearted discussion on the subject of music and age. I commented that in my early days I had followed a certain direction in music which was unlike my friend’s. I said that had I spent more time looking a riffs instead of chords and spent more money on equipment to make me sound good instead of just look good, I would still be a ‘cool’ rocker and an influence on the music scene as he was.
    Looking back, I never became famous or sold even one cd but I did and still do enjoy making music, in fact for the past twenty years I have done so professionally. No television performances (except the odd background shot) No record deals but just a jobbing musician asked to perform in public by the public.
    Recently I was asked by a complete stranger if she could play a recording I had put on Youtube. It was her mother’s favourite song and my version was the best they had come across. The song was played at her funeral. I have come to realise that success doesn’t have to be measured by stardom or record sales. That woman presented me with fulfilment and along with making little cancer patients laugh and sing, those will be the ‘ Royal Variety shows’ in my career.
    Of course we all want to be recognised and make a living doing what we most enjoy but that is not the only measure of success. A paying audience can be fickle. An appreciative audience endures.

  • Music guy

    Nice comments, but a bit far from reality. I’ve produced 13 of my own Cd’s and one CD with another musician. I’ve had more success with the first CD I produced back in 1996, with my musician friend from one of my early rock bands, when rock music still had it’s roots going for it with the younger generation. I’ve been promoting my music (solo) on the internet for about 15 years and the opportunities have all but dried up. The music I produced was on the Jazz/Rock/easy listening side. Jazz has all but dried up , with many commercial radio stations dropping it and Old style or classic styled rock is pretty much getting to be a thing of the past. Selling music is very hard, because 70% of the music is being purchased by the young. This is why record labels cater to bubble gum artists like Britney Spears, The Jonas brothers, etc.. Older people, for the most part, do not purchase music. So you can see the dilemma involved in trying to sell music and become successful as an older artist. If you want to get signed to a independent record label, you more or less have to produce your own pro, pressed, complete CD for them and have somewhat of a following, playing live events. If promoting your music for exposure and sharing it as an independent is what you aim to achieve as success, you may find that some will listen to your music or want to download it for free. But if you’re looking to make money from your music, all I can tell you, is lots of success in that venture. Sorry, but that’s the reality from one persons years of promotion on the internet!
    If you would like to check out my music, here’s the link;

  • Sharonanew3

    I am forty years old, my one and only child is a college student and I feel tht it is time for me to pursue my dreams now. However, I feel like Im to old to be chasing dreams but singing is all I ever wanted to do. Anytime I get the opportunity to sing I do it because I enjoy it and hoping the right ears would hear me.. All I need is this one moment in time..

  • peterthesongman

    Im 61 and still coin it

  • helenaustin

    I am 44 and made music my day job 4 years ago. I have just been to LA to record a new album with a hip young producer backed by a young publishing company. If they believe in starting this new career with me at this age then I guess age is not a problem…. now I just have to keep reminding myself of that and not be tempted by and procedures 🙂

  • Hey Helen, thanks for letting us repost your article on publishing!

  • Man this made my day!

    • Scott James


  • Great and encouraging that people go by the music and not by age. But I personally don't like receiving mail in my email from people who want a mailing list. I feel invaded when somebody I don't know, sends me an email. Which is why I am hesitant in trying to get peoples' email addresses and start a mailing list.

  • Thedoc1974

    i'm 38..i have been writing songs since I was 30..i have a popular following locally and am told i have great potential but at 38 and having a dayjob which keeps me busy, i don't find alot of time to be creative so it comes in fits and starts…I jam with the most talented guy at the moment and we are writing at a slow steady but methodical pace. We have written 2 fab songs so far and are working on fleshing them out and have buckets of new ideas..melodies, structure, arrangements, tempo, emphasis on wordiing/phrasing etc…my musical understanding and appreciation is growing at pace now…i have written over 40 songs but always feel there is a better song around the corner…i'm stressed by the need to create but lack the patience to get there..i try to enjoy the moment..i try to make the most of it but my mind can't help but glare into the horizon from time to time….i talk about reducing my hrs and do nothing about it..i have a fear of failure and lack of self belief, although I have been quite successful in many other things in my Life so far….i run from one idea to the next.. i have trouble sitting with a song and developing it on my own seems to take ages…Its like i have to wait for the muse to hit me but I know ROme wasn't built in a day and hard considered work is what gets you there…I feel like i'm letting this passion for creativity pass me by at times.. but i feel guilty about abandoning a skill I have in my job..i am a practicing Western Medicine minded…. open to some degree to the eastern health practices and other philosophies and on a path of discovery about such things, also developing a sense of connectedness with the spiritual side of the being and the planet/Universe….I have been single now for past 2yrs but have had a few dalliances with the opposite sex..i have a crush on 2 particular girls but feel that I want to achieve other things in my Life and that they are unlikely to understand this need….Having just let you in on my Life, I'm starting to think that " this guy is nuts"…I'm not nuts..i'm pretty sure as my best Ex GF tells me I am quite sane as she is a Psychiatrists but then all Psychiatrists are a bit am back to Square 1 again….pheww…so many words..its like some kind of thesis…catharsis is the correct term i think though!! it is…Could stay and work and make comfortable life..blah blah..except materialism is not on my radar….take out 1 of, if not both of these ladies and see how it goes or reduce my hrs/take a break from my job for the sake of satisfying a late onset passion for music which i am led to believe 'i could be good at' and i feel i have alot to say … of course i could just make a coffee and turn over to a new page and start again, eh!!

    Any words of wisdom from anyone that has even bothered to humour me by reading this so far!


  • Thedoc1974

    beautiful words! koha

  • Paul

    Hey all
    I am 52 this year, started in a band from school when i was 16, landed a record deal in the mid 80's, released an EP with lots of publicity on the radio. Played some major support spots in London, and at that point we all thought our boat had finally come in but it didn't last and for many years i stayed away from music. But in time i began playing with some new mates who were older than me who had a covers band, they asked me to join and for the next 3 years i had some great times but i was not writing any more. After that, at age 40, i decided to go on an adventure, i sold everything i had except my guitars, and went travelling for 4 years around the world. Some friends thought i was nuts, some were extremely jealous, some both. While travelling i picked up the guitar again but this time i began writing and over the next few years i just wrote and put those songs away. I ended up in the USA which is where i met my future wife who is from Ecuador. She heard some of my songs and thought they were great, at that point i took no real notice, i always find it hard to accept compliments from people who care about me, it doesn't feel objective.
    We ended up getting married, i moved to Ecuador which is where i now live. About 2 years ago i made friends with a guy 10 years younger than me and is a recording artist/producer, currently touring, he is totally dedicated to it and has toured the States and Europe. He is very honest and can be be quite rude to people who he feels are wasting his time, but one day we got talking and he asked me if i was still writing and i said yes but have not really thought about my music. He asked me to play him a few songs, and i did not expect his reaction, he was so excited, he could not believe i was sitting on these songs, he convinced me to start recording my material and has been producing for me at no charge because he is convinced i have something, and it was him that told me to ignore the age thing, and that good music will always find a way. He is in the process of pitching my songs to some influential people when he returns to the States for his next tour. At the moment i am in the process of putting a band together and the amazing thing again is that relatively young very talented kids want to work with me.
    All i can say is that it's so true that age is not the enemy, not any more, it is a state of mind, and if you truly have good songs and can perform, there is always a chance to shine.

  • As a newbie with a full-time job, it’s hard to get a following. What’s the best way to start collecting emails? I’ve been doing it thru Reverbnation … And fundraising, that’s a whole other story …. it’s hard to get people to give for my current CD project when I don’t gig out much, so they have no tangible measure of success.

  • Gouletwalter

    Well I,m 69 and still having fun with my music.
    I started this dream at 51 a few people said
    I was too old then. I wonder what they think
    now.If I was 20 they might say the same thing.

  • ed

    Ok,I'll say it. I love you,man!

    • Scott James

      I love you too!

  • Rory Lake

    Love your work, Paul. – Rory Lake

  • Primo Sidone

    te felicito, hermano. me siento inspirado por tu comentario y otros. tengo 27 y hace poco decidi dedicarme a la musica.

  • rudyjudymusic

    I am close to 60 and I just starting to sell music on the internet. I love the freedom of expression that doing solo stuff allows. I am not as genre conscious as I was when working with musical groups. I can also extend the instruments that I use. Some of my arrangements would take a large huge to reproduce live.

  • rudyjudymusic

    I am just short of 60 and have started to market my music with CD Baby. I like the freedom of being able to do solo stuff. There’s less pressure with having to adhere to certain genres. I also can do instrumental arrangements that would have been impossible to perform unless I was in a huge band.

  • Captain Maniac

    I just turned 62, and I’m happy to announce that my band (Sparkling Apple) has just released a CD, available right here on CD Baby. Gotta “show the kids just how it’s done”!

  • Matt

    All of these comments are so great, and make perfect sense… So good. Just what I needed to hear and the first result in my google search nonetheless!

  • you're NEVER too old to make it. take note from The Legendary Escorts :

  • Marcel Williams

    What an inspiring response and proof you can never be too old to make it. We all know that being a musician can mean you never know what's round the corner, so success can happen any time. I frequently perform with a bass player who is 74 and he only started having real success in his 50s with his songwriting!

  • Alan Meade

    I came upon this article out of curiosity and some doubt about my situation. I’m 41 years old and I’ve been singing and performing in front of hundreds (sometimes thousands) since I was 14. I’m one of the original members of the superstar group No Doubt (you can read my bio and story on my website I had to quit cause I could not go on the road as I started an unplanned family when I was 18. Tony K and the band and I are still great friends and I’m blessed to have been a part of that group and to still know them. I’m currently the lead singer of a band called Starpool with all former members of Save Ferris. We can only play when we have a free weekend open as I work mostly weekends because I run a DJ service. I’m the oldest in the band and the only one who still has dreams and hopes of making it big but unfortunately not all of us are on the same page. There are 7 of us with 7 different lives, 7 different desires and trying to get 7 guys to decide what to put on a pizza let alone trying to decide on what shows to play and when to practice is challenging! And let’s face it, although it’s fun, Ska music is only underground and will never be mainstream music. Until I was 38 I’d always been that guy who had 3 jobs and would do any job that would allow me to do my music but at some point I had to “grow up” and be responsible, get married (again), buy a house, pay my bills etc….. Singing and performing is my passion and I have a love/hate relationship with it and can’t help always feeling like I’ve missed the boat or it’s too late, and have been feeling this way on and off since I had to quit No Doubt in late 89′. No Doubt is starting to kick things up again and I find myself regretful all over again at times (and extremely happy for my friends), yet happy about what God has done in my life as well as becoming the person I’ve become….. growing up and learning how to be responsible and finally having one job. I feel that had I been handed all of that success at a young age, I might have mishandled my life and my attitude, as I was a wild one up until I was at least 28! I now have a beautiful, loving and supportive wife of 15 years and I count my blessings everyday but there’s a part of me that is living in the past and clinging to the hope that I can still “make it”. When I say I’m going to quit and stop singing and performing, I always get sucked back in or I can’t seem to shake the love of performing and singing (I love being on stage!). It’s all I think about, dream about, want to do for work and fun. I’ve always wanted to travel the world (still do) and tour and have never had the opportunity all my years in bands and doing music. I’ve tried the whole reality TV thing and tried out for The Voice and didn’t make it past round 2 (right before the blind auditions) but I see how those shows are so manipulated and not “reality” and It’s just not the route I want to go. I have tons of songs I’ve written on my computer for demos, but even knowing my rockstar friends, and singing in a band that sells out the house of blues multiple times a year, I can’t seem to get the exposure I need/want. Reading this article and some of your comments has given me a little hope but I guess I’m just sharing and venting (and shamelessly plugging lol! I live in Southern California (Riverside) and if anyone has any advice or ideas hit me up!
    Gods best to you all
    Alan Meade 🙂

  • Ohcanada

    I dunno, I feel so late! I started playing guitar at 8 years old but stopped at 12, picked it up again at 14, stopped at 15 because I was getting into “dangerous music” and the school/ my family intervened. I was starting a band with my friends then. I gave it up because we really were getting into a dangerous scene. Sometimes I regret giving it up but I know the sound I’m making now is so much more mature and intelligent. Back then it was all noise and riffs. Now I’m 22 and I’ve been playing and writing songs that are pretty good in quality. I write about a song a day… It’s really fun, relaxing, and helps you to stay true to yourself. I’d like to make a living doing it for so many reasons. Now that I look back I see how much my life has been involved in music… I hope to start selling records by May next year. I need to get a band together but I am picky…

  • Kerry O’Brien

    I’m 38 and I’m just getting started. This post is exactly correct. I’m a life-long Rush fan, and what I have learned from them recently is that health matters, but age doesn’t.

  • The music that I made with Medusa in the mid 70’s is now on a Numero Group worldwide selling LP, with a CD and T-shirts to follow, and massive web and magazine coverage. From obscurity to a cult of personality – it can all happen for anyone, at any time, you just never know. Have faith in yourself and keep the faith forever. If you put love into it, the love will come back to you – and in many ways that is better than fame and fortune, and will provide the inner peace and satisfaction many of us so desperately seek. Never give up on yourself or your dreams.

  • Born in 1975. I will NEVER be over 24 politically.

  • Im in my late thirties. Been through hell in my life. My dreams shattered by all the common things that destroy lives. Drugs, alcohol, prison and even women. I some how let these things come into my life-and let people talk me out of music. It's no wonder I'm depressed. No wonder I walk the streets among other people but I feel dead. I feel nothing. I feel so dead that there's not even urges to drink or use drugs anymore. I feel like in many ways that Im in a hospital bed, my death bed.

    I put on weight, 50 pounds. IT's like I'm bloated and burned out. I cry a lot. I'm not dead because I feel so much pain. This pain lets me know that I exist. I have to push through this. I just have too.

    But there's this little feeling still inside me, I still dream. I put out an ad to front a band, and I have had a few replies and am currently in the process of auditioning. I'm going to do my best and if things go my way, I'll fight for the rest of my life. I'm a writer and I want to write my life, tell people about my pain through my ways. I can't help but to be on the darker side of life and use 'darkness' to interpret my pain.

    I don't know how to do anything else. I never learned to do anything else. I'm not even good at crime, and I"ve been to prison and jail a bunch of times but I'm no criminal. At least, not a real one. I just did stupid things. I have this rebellion, and I can't help it but I learned to put that in check because I learned that life 'on the inside' isn't gonna do me any good.

    I hope what people say here is true. That it isn't too late. I'm gonna lose this weight and be in the best shape of my life. I'm worried about my confidence levels which are really low. I need to believe. My life has been so hard and I've done things against myself-being beaten from the out side in, as well as the inside out. But I'm going to fight that man. I'm going to fight that with every thing I've got. GOod luck to all of you.

    • It's never too late to tell an important story — and it sounds like you're driven to share your experience. Best of luck to you, both musically and personally. If you want to check back every once in a while on this blog, we'd love to hear how things are going (ups and downs and in-betweens).


    • Hey Josh,

      Thanks for sharing your story. You're certainly not alone. I can relate to a lot of what you're talking about.

      I don't want to sound preachy, but there are a few thoughts I try to keep in mind that have helped me get into a more confident and resourceful state of mind that you might find useful:

      Everything is exactly as it should be. The only questions is, where do we go from here? It's about progress and not perfection. If you measure where you're at against an insurmountable goal then you'll feel paralyzed. If you just take the next step forward you'll instantly feel more motivated and more confident.

      Always focus on what you CAN do and not on what you can't. You'll make mistakes, and that's OK. Just focus on your successes and the progress you've made.

      Be kind to yourself and remember, it's never too late to do amazing things. And if you're not sure you believe that then make some PB&J sandwiches and pass them out to hungry people. When you become the only difference between someone eating and seeing a friendly face and someone suffering alone, you'll get a sense for just how powerful you really are.

    • Midnight Rider

      OK bro im 62 I've been thru hell i wrote a song about it called Im not afraid anymore – i play some restaurant gigs one i get 25 pounds for 3 hours and the boss is worried if i have a drink on the bar playing my heart to and the other i get nothing. People talk and some someone comes up and says "Hey that was cool" and i feel my life is on track other x people are just eating and say nothing, would it hurt to appreciate a musician I thought? One night a guy comes up and gives me 5 pounds "That was great mate" so I stuck it on my wall to remind me Im good. Im getting better, so hang in there bro it was when i was very down in 2004 that i wrote this song and a band rec it, there is a God I believe, I think he's on our side it aint easy…

      I've been where the sun don't shine
      I've been where the trees have all died
      I've been where there's no pathway or door
      And I'm not afraid anymore

      Been in a place where no one believes
      The things that I said
      Or the vision I'd see
      So I had to protect my light
      And not be afraid anymore
      Fear is not real unless you want it be
      At a level of yourself
      It serves some need
      You can let it go
      Or hold on till the end
      It's all up to you my friend

      I've been where the sun don't shine
      I've been where the trees have all died
      I've been where there's no pathway or door
      And I'm not afraid anymore

  • Dana Countryman

    Thanks to all who commented on my post. It's been a year since I checked this note, and was surprised see all the amazing replies I got.

    I just have one more thing to say — we all get older, if we're lucky. Some don't make it this far, and pass away without following their dreams. Follow your dreams. Turn off the TV. Stop watching others on "The Voice" and get out there and audition, yourself! Make music, only because YOU enjoy doing it — not to please others, and don't worry about what they may think of it.

    Listen to your own recordings, and be personally proud of what you've done. Success is not always monetary rewards, or having a hit at the top of the charts. Most people never DO anything creative. You have the talent to DO something. If other people happen to enjoy what you create, well then, great! It's very rewarding for me to hear those kinds of comments. But I actually only create music because I LIKE to create music, and I never expect to please anyone but myself.

    One final story. My great-grandmother worked her entire life in a department store. In her spare time at home, she painted oil paintings – mostly still life. She was actually quite good, but probably not 'museum quality'. But when she died in her '80s, she left behind a couple of hundred beautiful paintings. Our family is still enjoying them, and she's been gone for decades.

    Leave something behind.

    • Nel Cero

      Thanks for the encouragement. I’m 24 yrs old and I’ve always loved music and singing. But I was never an outgoing person. Always shy and keeping it low, avoiding people. I never really chased it. I want to pursue a career in music now. After all these years i feel more settled. Tried other things but left them because i can’t imagine doing anything else in my life. I would be sad. I want to create and I want my work to be heard by others. But I kinda feel I lost the train..

      • jill skog

        I turned 23 in May 2014 and I’ve been singing and playing the piano since age 3. Everyone’s been nagging on me to start a music career, apparently I can make it really big if I try and am lucky. Music is that one thing I cannot live without or go a week without. And here I am, sitting in front of the desk procrastinating my studies in pharmacy (i’m in the pharmacy programme, actually started my third year so I got three years until graduation) doubting that I have the right priorities. What should I do? I don’t know anyone in the music business, I don’t know where to start. If I drop my studies for now (i will still be in the programme, just that I won’t move forward) and graduate in my late 20’s or beginning of 30’s and just do music like a madman, how to I make money? I’m so lost.

  • Dana Countryman

    Thank you.

  • Dana Countryman


    I like your CD, Melissa — I'm going to order a copy….
    Best, – Dana

    • happymoogman

      Enjoying your CD, Melissa — – dana countryman

  • Wow man, I appreciate those words. I dig what you're saying and it make's a lot of sense to me. I didn't even know I had replies to this post till I was reading another story that said I had some feedback or whatever and it was meant to be that I stumble back here and get this support. I hate a lot of people- I mean, I get really annoyed easily with people and just stay away from people but, there's a lot of good people looking out. Thank you..

  • It's crazy,, I wrote the post you replied to 12 days ago, I'm still here and still feeling the same defeat. It's like I'm scared to pull the trigger on my next move-I wasn't scared when I did half the negative sh*t in my life, but I'm scared to do something good. Maybe I'm afraid of failure? Or maybe, I"m afraid of success?.

    I have two sets of auditions and I'm totally procrastinating. I don't feel good enough. I'm trying to take some advice that Scott James wrote in to me-real good stuff- and just take a step towards it. F**k! This is hard.. The worst part is, I know I'll only feel worse if I don't try. How did it get this bad? How did I get to be such a puss..?

    You guys are really cool for giving me advice and strength..I'm not giving up..

  • Bettina Johnson

    I'm 45, female, and getting ready to release my first album. Two sayings apply here: You are NEVER too old. And, It is NEVER too late to be who YOU thought you were supposed to be. I am working with a producer in Atlanta, am totally independent, have my own studio, my own record company and my own publishing house….in other words, all the $ will come to me and I don't owe anybody anything….I will only have myself to blame if I don't get out there and work it.

    • Scott James

      Right on!

  • Wayne Lexus

    Whenever you want Success as bad as you want to live, it will happen. I'm 22 years old. A song writer, and Recording Artist. My wisdom came with early maturity at the age of 10 Whenever I went through a extreme battle of cancer. I seen the world in a different perspective but with the same dream. When I say dream i mean a very deep and realistic dream of lavishing, extravagant luxury above the norm. Sounds stupid yet? I really don't care. Anyways, this dream repeated itself channeling out the fictional "Dream" most people drool over, transitioning into real knowledge and a Drive into the Mainstream Music Industry. A dream I had at the age of 12 as a Successful young Businessman in the Industry. Platinum Records in my office Huge Bayside Condo and a Brand new Benz with 2 children and a wife. .. Guys I'm right there, I'm right there. .. Follow your dreams, no matter how old you are. Oh yeah its real

  • 24?! You haven't lost the train. You're still waaaay closer to the engine than the caboose. Like, waaaaaay closer. You might be IN the engine (just dozing a bit). You have plenty of time to pursue music as a career.


  • Cody Lindstrom

    Great read! I almost didn’t click the looking glass after
    I typed in When are you too old to start a music career. Then I took a chance
    and found this post. I'm new to 39 and my career is just launching. I started
    music when I was in high school and even rented the auditorium there and threw
    a solo concert at the age of 17 to a packed house. $4.50 at the door! I sang
    cover tunes like a mad man until I was 19 and then recorded my first and only
    original song called "The Swing". College days had me all over the
    state doing bar gigs and hearing "you should really be in Nashville!"
    "You're better than the guys on the radio!" "Why aren’t you
    famous yet?". I loved all of that, but I was also starting a family and
    trying to finish out college so I could provide for them. My thoughts were the
    same, "If only someone would discover me". Soon after college I was
    deployed to Iraq and that’s when I stopped chasing the dream. I wanted to
    really focus on family. Well, a second deployment changed that and left me as a
    single Dad. I started to lean on music as my therapy and it just took off from

    Now that I am in my late 30's I found that I sing far
    better, with great confidence and more purpose. A few major wins at vocal
    competitions soon had me looking at a career in music again. I am now just a
    month away from recording my first complete original album, I'm all over the
    internet and opening for JOE DIFFIE in March! T-shirts, CD's, Big Venues and a solid
    career in music is very obtainable to me now. Took all those years, a break
    from it and a change in philosophy to understand that. If you want it, Go get it! Cheers!

    ~Cody Lindstrom (AKA Country Cody)

  • Cody Lindstrom

    Great read! I almost didn’t click the looking glass after
    I typed in When are you too old to start a music career. Then I took a chance
    and found this post. I’m new to 39 and my career is just launching. I started
    music when I was in high school and even rented the auditorium there and threw
    a solo concert at the age of 17 to a packed house. $4.50 at the door! I sang
    cover tunes like a mad man until I was 19 and then recorded my first and only
    original song called “The Swing”. College days had me all over the
    state doing bar gigs and hearing “you should really be in Nashville!”
    “You’re better than the guys on the radio!” “Why aren’t you
    famous yet?”. I loved all of that, but I was also starting a family and
    trying to finish out college so I could provide for them. My thoughts were the
    same, “If only someone would discover me”. Soon after college I was
    deployed to Iraq and that’s when I stopped chasing the dream. I wanted to
    really focus on family. Well, a second deployment changed that and left me as a
    single Dad. I started to lean on music as my therapy and it just took off from

    Now that I am in my late 30’s I found that I sing far
    better, with great confidence and more purpose. A few major wins at vocal
    competitions soon had me looking at a career in music again. I am now just a
    month away from recording my first complete original album, I’m all over the
    internet and opening for JOE DIFFIE in March! T-shirts, CD’s, Big Venues and a solid
    career in music is very obtainable to me now. Took all those years, a break
    from it and a change in philosophy to understand that. If you want it, Go get it! Cheers!

    ~Cody Lindstrom (AKA Country Cody)

    • Scott James

      Right on. Hope you kill it with the new CD. Have fun out there!


    Thanks for this post, awesome I am so encouraged!

    • Scott James

      That’s great to hear! Glad it was encouraging.

  • BilboBaggins

    Age only matters if you are in a boy band or trying to be a pop diva.

  • d.

    I got to Koh Samui Thailand in 2007 and spent 6 years playing with ex-pat musicians living there. It was a cool scene I played in 6 different bands -all styles-hotels/ pubs /parties/festivals everyone had a different passport, and most were over 40 with great chops and a variety of real experience. One drummer had produced a Tom petty video, my neighbor played with Faithless and another songwriter was signed to A/M in the 70s, and there were others…This was all quite by accident, but thankfully I had kept my bass chops up. Sadly for some ie: athletes; time is a factor, but for musicians it’s all good- I guess my advice would be keep your skills up and your expectations low. Good luck!

  • "Keep your skills up and your expectations low." That's amazing. Thanks.

    @ Chris Robley

  • Blueberriesandpie

    I know this thread is a little “dated,” no pun intended, based on the topic at hand, however, I’ve recently been having a sort of artistic conflict and felt the urge to contribute. I admit that I have been distracted along the way by frivolous things, but most of my trepidation has come from fear, and a pull towards an obligation to substantiate the norm, so to speak (the norm being, go to school, get a decent to well paying job, live comfortably, and put your artistic pursuits on the back burner). However, I have always had an undeniable passion for music. I began singing at the age of 3, performing with my musician, hippie, rocker, traveling family, and have had an utter affinity for it ever since. I am 29, soon to be 30, and am finally at the stage in my life where I am being pushed by my creative self to truly pursue happiness through music (partially as a pastime in addition to my “real” job, but also as an artistic pursuit that I hope will take me to the moon and back–the moon may be touring live, or it may just be personal self-discovery through creative expression, either way, I will be satisfied). In my almost 30 years, I have finally learned that life is to short, precious, and nothing really matters, as long as you are true to yourself and create happiness and joy in your life. For me, that fulfilling aspect is musical expression. Period.

  • Great perspective. Thanks for sharing. And also, at 29, you ain’t even close to old — let alone too old. So go make some great music!

    @ Chris Robley

  • doug welborn

    Say Hey all you youngsters; I played flag football until I was 50 then started playing over 40 baseball until I was 66 when I lost a dear friend to ALL…acute lymphonic leukemia. Ron was bigger than me, younger than me, stronger than me and boom… two weeks he was gone. I started my singer/songwriter career and have written and recorded over 30 songs. I write and sing what I call Gostry (Gospel-Country) I wanted to do some music that is better than what I am hearing today….You know….music with a melody and understandable lyrics? At 70 and without sex appeal I know that no one wants to hear an old fart sing so I bought myself a ventriloquism figure and taught myself how to work with my partner Gus and I let him do the singing….that way people look past me and enjoy him. We’ve done six open mics so far (four in a biker bar) for feedback as whether our act is entertaining and we’ve been well received. I’m in the process of lining up some nursing homes, assisted living, hospitals, etc. to bring comedy and song to and I feel like my life is just beginning. You can see some of my videos on YouTube by typing my name….doug welborn or listen by going on ITunes or If you like any of my work and want to record it let me know….Gotta go….there are people I have to see.

  • Nice. Ventriloquism, that’s one way to sneak around any obstacles that age puts in your way. Thanks for sharing!

    @ Chris Robley

  • It’s never too late! Anyways, music is more important than money or fame, or is it? It’s a struggle I deal with daily. Thanks for your words! Peace & Love

  • maxikerr

    59 years old and have been really shy about my guitar playing for
    almost 50 years.I live in Scotland but in 1995 when in Canada i played a
    couple of songs with Neil young at a pub in Vancouver, and in 1974 i
    also played some songs with the late Marc bolan at the old trident
    studio’s in soho London(just visiting with friend) and even after doing
    these things i was still crippled with stage fright and shyness. Don’t
    be like me and let the chance go…..grab it and don’t look back as you
    are a long time dead.

  • Jyoeru

    Band #4 about ready to go to town. Maybe this time we got it down. Maybe not. I am 34 this month, and screw GQ and Hollywood. I have passion, and that’s all that matters.

  • Tommy Chris

    BTW, this is a very old blog.

  • Is this blog post too old to make it? ; )

    @ Chris Robley

  • Deanna Duncan

    Thank You… I am 47 and starting over with a lot of things! 🙂

  • Chuck Leonhardt

    I’m forty now and I’ve been playing the guitar for over twenty years and about fifteen years ago I started writing original music and playing small venues around my city. I’ve recorded around two lps worth of original music. But because I worked and had girlfriends a wife and a daughter time kind of kept passing me by all the while I kept recording and mainly writing. Mainly rythems and lyrics, I probably have around a hundred original songs with melodies. Now I’m forty and feel like there just isn’t much desire for older new musicians to make it in this industry, of course I felt old even when I was twenty five. I’ve always let this fear hinder my ambitions. I can honestly say without bias that if my music just as it is was released by someone else I would buy the cd, yet I have never sent it to a record company and probably have only allowed twenty people to have it. I’m ashamed of myself for being such coward. I live my life, always feeling like the best years were the ones behind me and that I’ve got nothing left to look forward to. I like this article because it allows me to see there is life after forty for a musician. If anyone knows a small label I should send my cd to please let me know. I write alternative rock. Mostly songs with hooks, good chorus, although I pride myself mostly on my original sound and solid lyrics. My guitar playing although having played so long is still pretty simple. I’m not a great guitarist and my voice is closer to the violent femmes then any renowned perfect tone and pitch singer. I really rarely like the cookie cutter sound anyways my influences are people like Dylan, Mason Jennings, Petty, Dire Straits, Springsteen, and on and on. I love the Killers also. Well to everyone that is getting older keep on rocking perhaps one of us might make something significant someday! Chuck

  • Imagi Nation

    I will NEVER stop rocking as long as I live…. been doing it for the past 25 years since the 80’s and I’m 45 now and I feel like I’m just getting WARMED UP to show what I can do with my group Imagi-Nation… in fact… I’ve never been better… look out world…. check out us on youtube at…

  • Mark

    All I have to say right now is that I sincerely have so much love for you all.

    Please please please keep doing what your doing. Every single one of you just contributed to the motivation that I desperately needed. Yours posts had thrown gasoline into fire that was inside of me to play and to be a professional musician for it had been diminished to a subtle flicker seen on top of a birthday candle. I really wish you all the best of luck and I hope I get to hear some of your guy’s sounds. I really would! Send me stuff!!

    ..Im 25. . and have an addiction to jazz fusion and odd time signatures…

    Have a kick ass day and again….thank you 🙂

  • Myra Esoteric

    I’m old as hell and just learning to produce and stuff. It’s pretty crazy that today in the world of music, you have to do everything yourself. Hell I don’t think I have a band anymore. Hopefully I’ll find success post-40 – if I can balance normal career with touring.

    From band mates a decade younger than you flaking out, to finding the right time to practice in your apartment that doesn’t piss off the neighbor’s kids, to then realizing that doing stuff in Fruityloops isn’t ‘professional’, it’s been a long way since it was just acceptable to play keyboard, guitar and bass. Fortunately my boyfriend helps me with makeup and performance fashion so this is one less worry.

    Apparently everything has to sound fancily produced nowadays. And you’re not allowed to be ugly either. (don’t ask me, I’m ugly as sin.) It’s a real uphill journey.

  • I am 34. I don’t know how to play any kind of musical instrument,but I have an incredible singing voice. I have had dreams of becoming this huge star, but I have only ever sang in the car, and karaoke. Is it possible to form a band where the lead singer only sings? BTW –I have a great stage presents!
    How do I go about forming a band with absolute NO EXPERIENCE?! How many members do I need and what instruments should they play? I’d like my music to sound like ”Toad the wet sprocket’,(All I Want) ‘Matchbox20′(Push) ‘Bonnie Raitt’s’ (something to talk bout), ‘Spin Doctor’ (Little Miss Can’t be Wrong), ‘Duncan Sheik’ (Barely Breathing) ….Just to name a few.

  • You could always start by looking on Craigslist or in classifieds or community boards to find a band in your area that is looking for a singer. Then you go and do an old-fashioned “try out.” Hope you find a good opportunity to use your voice.


  • This might not be the advice you’re looking for, but… can you do both? How much time do you have left over after schoolwork? Maybe put all your extra time into writing, recording, performing, etc. Once you’ve got more of a feel for the music biz side of things, it might help you make a better decision about what you really want to do. If you’re loving it and things start happening for you, you could try leaving the program for a few years. If nothing is catching on in the music world, keep doing both until something does catch.


    • jill skog

      ooh never thought of that before…doing both 🙂 i could! thanks!

    • jill skog

      ooh never thought of that before…doing both 🙂 i could! thanks!

  • I am 50. I toured more this year than I did when I was in my 20s. And no, it is not a cover band. I just did a short tour of Texas, then Peru and Ecuador. Life is effing great. I still jump, I still do what I do. It comes down to not a number but passion. If your passion dictates to make music and play music, then you shall. Age should not factor into your ‘making it’ but rather having something to say with your music and SAYING it, regardless if anyone is actually listening. Life is short. So be passionate and do it because you love it, not for the rewards of fame and fortune. those things are nice. Not denying it. But most people I know have never had the pleasure of going to the top of Macchu Picchu on someone else’s dime because you rocked their world and they hired you to play in front of a thousand. Life is ending the minute you were born. Don’t race to the end.

    When people ask my age, I love saying, ’50, in moments of amazing experiences 110, mostly 33 and sometimes 12.’

  • I am 50. I toured more this year than I did when I was in my 20s. And no, it is not a cover band. I just did a short tour of Texas, then Peru and Ecuador. Life is effing great. I still jump, I still do what I do. It comes down to not a number but passion. If your passion dictates to make music and play music, then you shall. Age should not factor into your ‘making it’ but rather having something to say with your music and SAYING it, regardless if anyone is actually listening. Life is short. So be passionate and do it because you love it, not for the rewards of fame and fortune. those things are nice. Not denying it. But most people I know have never had the pleasure of going to the top of Macchu Picchu on someone else’s dime because you rocked their world and they hired you to play in front of a thousand. Life is ending the minute you were born. Don’t race to the end.

    When people ask my age, I love saying, ’50, in moments of amazing experiences 110, mostly 33 and sometimes 12.’

  • Mary Cahill

    I worked as a vocalist in my teens and 20s — bands, radio, TV — then pursued a career in another field although I never gave up singing, just getting paid for it. In 2013, at 73, I recorded a jazz CD, “Over Easy,” with the Dan Dance Trio + 1. My debut album, it’s now playing on Pandora. Not bad for a great-grandma! And so much fun!

  • Das Goravani

    Far easier for Vevo to “Provide you with quality content” (read: Hire LA musicians to crank out canned pop music”, i.e., make many “N Syncs” and “Backstreet Boys” “Planned Bands” “Corporate Creations” and the real street normal neighborhood real human artist is out of the picture, i met the pres. of Vevo, and he doesn’t have a human heart. I don’t want to meet Pandora’s pres. Scary.

    • Glade Swope

      vee-voe “quality content”? LOL! It’s not the first day of April, but I guess Halloween is close enough for that!

  • Das Goravani

    Except we don’t make any money. Lead singer of Van Halen, as a rather old man, is doing ambulance driving in NY. Iggy Pop is selling Car Insurance now. U2 HAS to FORCE people to BUY their album by any means or they’re mansions will all go away unless they TOUR to DEATH, really, i mean, we ARE going to see an AGING rock star die on stage and a big part of that death should be labeled “BOOTLEGGING”

    • Glade Swope

      True; it’s also due to a form of predatory lending known as recoverable advances. Also, they’re only famous enough to even have the option of playing real shows today because they were famous in the past. If these 80s rock stars were just starting out, they’d never get past open mics and nonprofits.

    • Soundsworth

      Well I can see where you are coming from but I don’t think others should be discouraged by your post. David Lee Roth and Iggy Pop are doing what they do because they think they need more money. That doesn’t mean they never made any. In their case, it probably means they spent it all. But in any case, they and their whole era are a bit of a red herring and not really what the OP is getting at, I feel. Musicians have been eeking out a modest living for hundreds of years and it’s only for a very short period of time that we were able to make obscene amounts of money through selling records and CDs. Before that it was about performance, probably in your local community, and, if you were good enough, about making a ‘normal’ living doing what you love. I think it’s swung back that way now, in part. The huge advantage now though (compared to the pre ‘vinyl/CD days) is that, as other people have said, you can reach a much wider audience from your room, which ultimately increases greatly the potential for your performances to be in demand.

      So my advice is, forget mansions and limos, that era may be over except for prefab ‘acts’. Look at it more like a humble career that you work at, that you make sacrifices for, but that ultimately can reward plenty of people with a living, at almost any age.

  • Das Goravani

    I’m 54, just starting my music up again for REAL. I’m in West LA, by accident, but this is where it goes down. I don’t even THINK of what others say. I am UNIQUE. What I FEEL is what I DO. I WANNA ROCK like it’s 1979 so I phoo King DOO… it…. yeah… got my own studio, so easy these days, hey, i remember Moog as a student, then his first, Mumma, teacher of mine, the days when reverb was INVENTED… minimum to buy studio for self: $20,000. Today: 1000?


    So then, I’ve been playing, for 40 years… how many kids, have been playing, for 40 years? Even if it makes me LESS, it also makes me MORE.. like.. ok.. Keith Richards left hand is arthritically formed into a D chord.. i bet that GIVES something.. subtle, but powerful..

    Hell.. David Gilmore said his success came only mainly from the way he shakes the string slowly as it tones out… he believes deeply in his speed of string shake !

    It is NOW totally possible, Since I Did It Myself Already, to post your songs to CD Baby or some such, see them on iTunes, have your own website, and make/print your own CD’s or whatever.. web sales OF YOUR OWN too is so easy with CC Merchant Accounts and Automatic Web Page systems.

    I’m ALL SET UP, but nobody knows me AT ALL. I DONT MIND. I have not marketed AT ALL. I do this because I HAVE TO… before I die, I HAVE TO DO THIS.. I majored in it in college but became a famous hindu preacher and astrologer, programmer, writer, all on god, eastern thought, and astrology, based on NASA and ancient texts from India. Quite a side track.

    Now I’m only doing music all day, it’s a weird switch, but I’m getting used to it again, full time practicing because I have nothing else I want to do. All my time free. Damn I’m getting fast on picking, without resting my hand, just like eddie… and all the super fast non melodic super drinkers

    i don’t

    um, yeah, hella fun… also.. to find out that the spanish guitar i found trashed, rebuilt, I tested the other day at Guitar Center against TOP classical guitars, and it had the SAME sound as the BEST…


    hand made with love in Spain for the leader of the Hare Krishna Movement long ago, smashed by haters, found it, rebuilt it…. it sings… it’s awesome… and real.. SPANISH… MADE… by hand… god… priceless..

    thanks for letting an autistic musician talk

    oH, and if you need a BOWRON or GUITAR player in West LA who is 54, serious, intelligent, genius, aspergers genius, has full gear, has full time, has songs, can sing, knows the science of Music, Singing, Recording, Engineering, Mastering, Posting, Web Making, Programming, Astrology, Astronomy, World Religions, and a few other things.. ha ha … yeah his me up I’m real Irish, 5th gen Calif., GG Grandfather founded Berkeley, and I survived Pearl Harbor as a Sperm Cell.

  • Stephen Kelly

    I toured extensively when younger. Played part-time after that all my life. I’m now 60, have four CD’s out plus singles, will be releasing a new one before years end, and have the best band together I’ve ever had. We started gigging a few months back, and we smoke! I’m booking clubs and festivals now for the new year.
    “I’ll retire when you can pry this guitar from my cold, dead hands!”

  • I love it! I am 49 and just really beginning to write songs I’m happy with…I was 43 when I was chosen to attend Skip Ewing’s Horse & Writer, for free, in Dubois, Wyoming. Things that have happened in my career that were big breaks for others were baby steps for me, not life changers. I feel grateful that I didn’t “make it” when I was young and stupid and too easily influenced by negative people. All in good time…

  • Brian Drucks

    I write a continuing blog for Guitar Player magazine on this very subject

  • Glade Swope

    I remember back in the 90s when mainstream entertainment refused to use the Internet for distribution at all!

  • Barry Rice

    My name is Barry Rice of my one-man-band Years of the Songs. I’m well into my forties I’m 46 and I have put out the music that ever done when I was younger and just learning it.

  • craig1957

    I’m 56, still recording and writing! new cd this month! I hope to get at least a nomination in one of the 5 categories I’m in this year with the Grammys! maybe contemporary instrumental?

  • Dean

    My only issue is that listeners tend to lose interest when musicians look like they are promoting themselves. People tend to think music is good only if others are saying it’s good, or if it’s advertised heavily (something most people can’t afford), so when an artist is caught promoting themselves it looks like they must not be that great and this turns people off. I’ve experienced it many times. Anyone professional have any suggestions about that?

  • Well, we can try. And maybe some other commenters will weigh in too.


  • Shimrit Hanes

    I wish I had read this when we were on a label, and the producer was wondering out loud how many years he could make money on my face! Ewwwww!

    I was 45. Had been doing all our promotion, booking, while being a mother of 5 girls (four of them were in the band with my husband and I) songwriting, singing lead in the band and homeschooling! I had hoped a label would lighten my load by taking over the promotion, and the legitimization it would give us would make booking easier. It turned out that only the second half of that held true, we were expected to work for the label, and I was responsible for promoting us! Praise God our contract was a preliminary one that in giving the label a way out in case they decided we weren’t going to work for them, gave us a way out! The contract expired while we were on the road and they didn’t renew in time, so we were free!

    From ages 43-58 my husband and I with our dwindling band (the girls kept getting married, and going to college etc. growing up and out!) traveled all over the USA and to Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea, and Honduras. I taught myself guitar when I was 10 years old, at 43 I decided I really wanted to play harp, so my husband (a woodworker as well as musician) built me one. At 54 I learned to play flute, so in spite of growing older, I kept growing as a musician! We can do it if we have the gifting, it doesn’t go away with age! My husband also has continued to add instruments to his playing repertoire. He is now 60.

    Keep going, keep growing! Have fun!

    Below, a photo of our family (except our youngest) in Israel.

  • Nice. Thanks for sharing your story. And I’m happy you’re finding new ways to explore music and musicianship as you get older.


  • It’s funny… I’m 34, going on 35, and I’m absolutely PETRIFIED that I’ve missed the boat. I think, though, that a lot of that depends on what you believe your target audience to be. For instance, the new album I’m working on now (I’ve released 4 in 12 years) will deal a lot with themes of settling down and having a family vs. chasing down your dreams… or how to make both of those things coexist. That’s where I am right now. That’s my reality, and I think people will respond to that. Not teeny-boppers, obviously, because they wouldn’t get it. But people my age and a little older would. They wouldn’t think I’m too old for this stuff. My point is, I think if you are honest with what you’re saying an audience WILL respond to that. You’ll always have an audience (you just have to find it).

  • Thanks for sharing. I’m in your boat exactly, and totally agree that there’s always an audience for honesty.


  • the_dudess

    All the comments here are so inspiring. Thank you all! I am 36 year-old woman who recently got back to playing the electric guitar after almost 20 years (which means to learn all the basics again). I sometimes feel I’m too old to “make it” as now every little kid (anyone younger than me) seems to be a virtuoso and it’s very easy to get unmotivated. Besides that I had some harsh criticism a few months ago which almost made me quit again. I know the streghth to carry on is inside me and reading your stories just encouraged me more. Thanks again! Lots of love to you all!

  • TG

    I’m in a slightly different boat from most of you. I am a lyricist, not a performer. I’ve always loved to write. I thought I was going to be the next great novelist when I was a kid, but I was my own worst critic and never really finished anything. I studied journalism in college and have used my writing in my job since then, but it wasn’t creative writing. Finally, a couple of years ago (in my 40’s), I decided to sign up for a lyric writing class at UCLA. Until then, I had never thought about that path, because I can’t sing or play an instrument. But people thought my lyrics were strong. Since then, I’ve kept at it, found co-writers and have even gotten a couple of songs signed to licensing deals. I haven’t made much money at it (yet), but I love what I’m doing and hope to keep writing lyrics for years and years to come. I wish I had started writing lyrics when I was in my 20’s, but you can’t change the past, just move forward. So I say, don’t worry about how old you are — just do whatever it is you love to do!

    (If anyone wants to check out my work, I’m on soundcloud at:

  • Checking out Beautiful Catastrophe. Nicely penned. Thanks for sharing. And I’m glad to hear you’ve found an inspiring path to explore your writing.


  • Lori Yeary

    Just ran across this blog and I’m so glad I did! I’m about to turn 56 and after years of singing country music I decided it was time to go back to my first love – jazz. I’ve been singing at every Open Mic night I can and have made some great connections with amazing musicians. I’m starting to book my own gigs and look forward to an exciting 2015. It’s NEVER too late to do what you love! You can hear some of my music at

  • Great! Glad to hear you’re getting busy with music-making. Thanks for sharing.


  • Marek Cieszewski

    Your story is very interesting and your music sounds intriguing. I have a similar view of dominant music and would love to hear yours. Is there a place where one can we hear some of your music?

    • Jason DuFloth

      Yeah I don’t know if I’m posting in the right place or not but I’ve read everything by all and I know what it feels like….I write beautiful country songs and have for years…I’m 40 now and could kill myself for the choices I’ve made since 21….I went to Nashville N sang on a televised talent show and planned on moving there as soon as possible….but…I let the beer and the bars and the thinking that things were gonna come to me in small town Wyoming …and guess what….i be been wasting and waiting my life away cuz I was too scared and lazy to go out and get it… I still love to write …to feel the tingle of writing and how your voice can sound so good….why did I waste it away???? I ask myself….this train of thinking destroys me…. I’ll really want to go for my dreams but feel like it would never happen now cuzof my age…..

      • Peter Stein

        Fuck that bro, Im 65 NEVER GIVE IN maybe you can sing a country song of mine

  • ultrarich

    I played the sax, alto and tenor, drums, and sang as well in the early 60’s in El Paso, TX. I no longer play any instruments however I still have a decent voice. I don’t sing in public but I have recorded myself and sounding pretty good, I would like to team up with a musician to collaborate. I have always loved music and now that I have the time I would love to ramp it up! Any advise? Thx

    • You can probably find some online collaborators who also have home recording setups and hire/trade for them to record some basic tracks that you’d sing over. Welcome back to music!


  • Nice! I recorded an album right before my daughter was born, and it’s been on hold since (so I can relate). I’m just now putting a crowdfunding campaign together to get it released, though, so here’s to both of us getting back into the game!


  • Johnny Walker

    I had major success in my 20’s when I was a back-up dancer for Prince! Now I am writing music for younger artist but I still have my work that I’d love for the world to hear! Connect with me!


  • Vivian Chavez Tanis

    I’m 52, I mentioned to a young composer that I want a band and I am just learning bass. I have 8 yrs of gospel choir experience (R&B and soul) and a female vox (alto) in 3 bands as a background and partial lead. I am so glad I found this because the composer who mostly does rap and hip/hop which I have experience in too told me I’m better off doing jewelry. He didn’t even ask my of my experiences and what I am capable of. My future band will be Token Strangers. At this age I am at my most confident and have already written 20+ songs.

  • Oscarod

    Lovely, I’m 32, and I find this very encouraging AND MOTIVATING. I started to write and compose songs and I’m feeling confident and proud for the first time. I used to play on clubs and other places and I didn’t find anything there, I invested on recording equipment and I’m on the creative phase. Hopefully I will make my dream come true and start to put some food on the table from the music I’m producing all alone, I’m playing with guitars, bass synth and voices, and drums.

    I strongly recommend musicians to use software such as Ableton, Logic, Komplete and FL Studio to explore new areas and get to nowadays technology. Besides you get to learn how to produce and helps a lot during the creative process, you would be surprise with the amount of tutorials available on many sources like youtube,

    Cheers and thanks 🙂

  • Glad this article was helpful. Great suggestions too, abut the software. Thanks for commenting.


  • Nate Brewster

    Don’t blame age, if you have the talent, it is not like being old working at a factory where they worry about paying your benefits and you killing over or costing more, look at the band on american idol, some are young, some are old. The audience doesnt care… they just wanna have a good time hearing good music (or what they think is good, either way, you need to be competent to play whatever is desired). I dont care in an orchestra who went to berklee or Juliard,or their garage… I care that it sounds good and moves me. Yes, if you are old or ugly, you will not be on the front with a boy band … but not all big stars are eye candy, theyre just dressed up if you really look at them. If youre dying to be up front, yes being pretty wont hurt.. but as far as being in the band (or recording) the audience just wants to have fun, and the producers want someone who is easy to work with and is competent in music, both in performing and communicating. The microphone cannot discern the age or looks of a performer.

  • Rick Jeffers

    Hi I’m Rick Jeffers im now 69 but have been playing sence 14 always wanted to be an recording artist that never happened so I put my own recording studio together made cd and give them away and get more work that way then using a booking agent and had great fun doing it

  • Great discussion. I just turned 50 and have been a gigging player for most of my life. I have a lifelong writing and recording partner and play in a band with guys in their 60s. I feel very fortunate to be involved in music. Now I am going to get more education so I can be a better recordist, engineer, and producer.

  • El Torino

    I need some inspiration too. I turned 35 couple months ago, as a kid i played a couple years piano (not by choise cuz i wanted to play guitar but my parents forced me the piano) Now, i had a rough life for the past 15 years, was on and off homeless for 10 yrs in my own country and 1 year in the usa. Been to prison (shoplifting groceries when i was homeless) been addicted to alcohol and drugs, seen alot of people in that world, living and dying, all with all, i got plenty of stuff i want to write about in songs.

    I kicked everything and since dec 2014 i got a house, dont have much stuff in it or money but i got a guitar and a harmonica/harp. (beside a couple chords i cant play em yet)

    So i want to sing and play the guitar and harp, my sing style and voice is a little bit like Kurt Cobain minus the extreme screaming so a hoarse kinda voice.

    But here is the thing, i already feel im too late with alot of things in life and i got that same feeling with music, i dont have the money to take guitar lessons or vocal lessons to make my voice more pure and strong.

    Now ive done some vocal and breathing exercises i picked up from youtube and they do help very slowly but basicly i have to learn and teach myself everything which ofc will take even longer than if you would take lessons.

    Any1 can give me some inspiring words and positivitY because i really need it 🙂

    • You should check out Mary Gauthier. I think she’d probably be an inspiring example for most people reading this post. She’s a great songwriter (who struggled with substance abuse before picking up the guitar). She didn’t write her first song until she was 35 or so, and then went on to have a great career as a respected singer and songwriter.


      • El Torino

        Hey thnx man, very inspiring to read her story. Most people in this post are like “yeah i just turned 64/50/43/36 etc but most have been playing an instrument and/or singing since they were young so i dont find alot of inspiration in those people.

        Being a musician seems so far away atm, i failed at everything in life(and alof of people failed me), relationships, friendships, work, no parents, never had a dad, depression, addictions, seen alot of people die when i was in the homeless world and alot of pain and suffering.

        Even though i felt since a kid i was destined for something great my life sure didnt reflect greatness thinking, what the hell is all this bullshit in my life good for, and then people say everything happens for a reason and i think i am beginning to understand what that reason for me was.

        I feel strongly i need to write songs that will help and pull people of all ages through depression, pain, sadness, lonelyness etc.

        My goal isnt really to be a superstar or anything like that, can’t even imagine that would even be a realistic goal as you see so many people worldwide with talent and im just a Dutch nobody that can only play 4 chords on the guitar with a non trained raspy voice but to master my voice and instruments and play some small gigs eventually, drop some songs online and help people would be statisfying enough.

  • Jonathan W. Walker

    I am a former dancer for Prince and I am working on my first album! I am 46! Age is just a number! Just do it! No excuses!

  • Totally! That sounds like a great (and realistic) goal. Wishing you much inspiration as you start to write songs and find your voice. Also, sounds like once you’ve got a few songs ready you should find a good open mic to test the material, meet other musicians, find fans, etc.


    • El Torino

      But do you still think it is a realistic goal when you have to start from scratch at my age? i dont know how long it take to learn to play guitar, every day im learning new chords and to strum em isnt that hard but transitions are very hard at the beginning, you almost forget that all guitar players that play so well now started out the same way. It is for sure a challenge to overcome.

  • Jaydemania

    I am a graduate of industrial engineering 2013 age 27 now but there is only one thing I do easy and it gives me joy anytime any moment i can do it fit or not fit its in me after graduation I realized that playing football is my talent. I don’t know how to start pursuing it now at an older age as am now a graduate without a job professional job please can any help with advice and encouragment on how to get to my passion its what I can only see and picture

  • Sure, it’s realistic to be able to learn guitar, write songs, and find an audience. Guaranteed fame and fortune? Well, better to set your sights on learning how to do something that inspires you and to, again, find the audience that resonates with your music.


  • Mary Gauthier didn’t even start writing songs until her mid-30’s and she’s got a great career going now, and tons of respect as an artist. You’re not too old!


  • Sumit Simlai

    Yes very well written and very right of course unless along with age debilitating diseases like diabeteshave also caught up.The energy fades away so the max one can think about is to keep making music and leave it for someone to take to different heights if it is really worth it.

  • mandy

    I was always convinced I was going to “make it” as a musician. I guess my aim – if I were to quantify it – was to be able to have my mortgage paid for by royalties. Now I’m in my mid-thirties and I’m working full time as a jobbing musician and teacher, and for the last five years I’ve been crippled with the idea that I’ve failed. I stopped writing because – despite producing my best work and desperately trying to publicise the hell out of it – nobody listened. The harder you work, the “luckier” you get, but I really never caught a break, and I soon began to hate writing, because after all what’s the point in writing a song if nobody else is going to hear it?

    It’s like I’d aimed to become an artist, and ended up a decorator.

    But I’m excited to say I think I might be coming out of the other side of this miserable, self-pitying, adolescent nonsense. I love teaching, and I’m developing a new career in music research… but most importantly I think I might be ready to start writing and recording again, but for the enjoyment of it and not worrying about things like YouTube video counts or anything like that.

    If something comes of it, then that’ll be a very nice bonus… but I’m learning to love music again and that’s the most important thing.

    Thanks for the fascinating post!

  • Thanks for sharing your experience. You’re far from alone. Glad to hear you’re rediscovering a love of music.


  • Frank Austin Lee Cox

    I’m 24, began doing vocals when I was 19, I have never had anything in my life. Pretty poor and a year ago could finally afford my first guitar. I have not had a job since purchasing that guitar and am in desperation of making it. I play every day and record with very limited ability, attempting to get out of this dead end town. I can’t find work and I need help with exploring my ability. What should I do as a late bloomer to kick into high gear and have the skills to get out there? I’ve played a lot of shows but only with a band behind me, it seems there’s no band now and no one to really teach me. you can hear what I’ve been able to accomplish for songs at

  • downloadaddict

    I think it honestly depends on what you are doing in what genre.
    If you want to be a female pop star, 30-34 is the oldest to get started…the secular pop industry is bad about it.

    Being a songwriter, you could be 100 yr old, 550 lb, no legs, whatever physical and/or mental problems you may have…doesn’t matter. Your face isn’t in the spotlight. Your aging voice isn’t on the radios. The industry doesn’t care. You can easily sell millions as a writer.

    In rock, blues, jazz, ska, metal, folk, Americana, bluegrass and TRUE country…nothing matters but the music. All those fans care about is how they relate to your music.

    And, I think it wasn’t even that bad in the 90s and prior…but, recently, it’s gotten worse. If you don’t look the part, the mainstream industry doesn’t care. This counts for main stars…..doesn’t count studio musicians, touring musicians, songwriters, etc. In those positions, looks and age don’t matter. That’s where talent truly IS important.

  • tonidenise

    Thank you for your inspiring and honest post. I am 58 and frankly feel a little embarrassed to still be trying to “pursue being a singer.” I have had repeated small successes over my adult life as a singer. But I stop due to life getting in the way, or just plain old fear of failure and success. I also have the bad habit of looking at other family members who have the kind of music career I always wanted: being a background vocalist for well known artist, session work, tv commercials. Thanks for the reminder that I am responsible for my career. I must learn how to embrace singing at nursing homes and other places that embrace me and really appreciate my gift. I have to keep on singing…it’s a much better option than the depression that overtakes me when I stop singing.

  • Yes! Sounds like you don’t have a choice. If you can redefine what it means to be successful, then fear will lose some of its power over you. Wishing you much happy singing.


  • musikfanat22

    I was 39 when I got my first grammy nomination and 43 for the second…

  • DesertFlower

    If you don’t have the support or the talent to begin with, it’s very difficult and that’s when one should probably decide to find something else more practical to pursue. I had to face that fact at age 49, after banging my head against a wall for many years, and realizing I was losing friends and becoming estranged from my family….and for what? An illusion of becoming a star? Not worth it. I’ve seen older wanna be rock stars and it’s embarrassing to watch them make fools of themselves again and again, and have nothing to show for it. At any rate, I now look back on the decision I made back in 2010, and I have no regrets about choosing to turn my back on my music career delusions. Some may call me a ‘failed’ musician, but the fact of the matter is not everyone is going to make it, and that’s something one shouldn’t be in denial about. Music isn’t the end-all-be-all of life. Lots of things to pursue out there. I find since giving up unrealistic expectations re: music, I’ve grown closer to my family and people actually seem to like me better, and I’m less stressed out. I still like music but only as a spectator except for occasionally singing with my church choir. I’ve learned that you don’t always have to be the star. It’s ok to be an ordinary person who is part of the audience. Your responsibility to find out which is right for you…and then adjust those expectations accordingly. It may not be what some want to hear but it’s what many of you NEED to hear!

  • Peter Möller Voss

    You have to try.. If you seek growth, it will come with time. If you never challenge yourself, you will most likely stay ignorant, regardless of age..

  • Nathaniel Harris

    Dear, DIY.
    I needed your help in music & I’m going on 50 in 2017 & my music career is got to wait.
    Temporary & I’m still young in my late 40’s & I want to joined epic records that’s.
    Michael Jackson’s label & I gave up rap & hip hop & rock I play jazz/pop & soft rock.
    Now & the recording industry is in 2017 & I’m turning 50 sooner than after 2016.
    I attend a music school here in my hometown of Buffalo. New York that I was born.
    March 24, 1967 & the 50’s & 60’s I’m too young I’m from the 70’s 80’s 90’s 2000’s &
    2010’s I’m 49 almost a couple of months & I still play guitar gaved up singing.
    And I listened to white folks all my life when I was a wee little boy so as black music.
    Too but mix music with mixed artists is okay my brothers & sisters listened to black music.
    All the time & I’ll give it a shot of the brass ring & sometime a record producer will.
    Promoted my music & I play acid jazz/pop & soft rock on my guitar & I collect vinyl &
    CD’s DVD’s & blu rays & my hobbies are jeans,platform shoes, sneakers and boots.
    flip flops I weared in the spring & summer but I hate mental health programs.
    Liked male counselors I disliked cussing at me that’s inappropriate when I turned 50.
    I’ll be the first African American guitarist scored a number one song with a female white.
    Artist the song called “Nate’s Theme” featuring Britney Spears on vocals.
    And I wroted the song it will be a smash hit as a guitarist It takes practice.
    And time & that’s my story & thank you.

  • Steven Lake

    Thanks guys. I’m 25 and feel very much like I missed my shot. After reading your posts I feel a lot better. Thank you all! You are all an inspiration and in this business that’s worth it’s weight in gold

  • Dany Gonzales

    I am 35 and I always wanted to become an artist but I always had been held down by my family. I went for about 2 years to theatre school in my country when I was 16 and then here in America I went to singing classes for about 2 years too when I was 26. I still want to become a singer or actor but now I am a single father. It is very frustrate when somebody have a dream and their own family tells them to stop dreaming and study some real career to have a real job. My self steam felt all the way down and even dough I tried not to listen, seems to be that they win because I still feeling the same way. I wish one day I can show everyone the artist inside of me, but I gest that will never happen because as a single father and with a job as a security guard and with 35 years old, my hopes got terminated.

    • Don’t give up on that dream, Dany. You might not be able to pursue it 100% right now as a single father, but once your child gets a little older you’ll probably find some more time to invest in recording, or shooting videos, or however else you decide to make music. If you create something worth hearing, it doesn’t matter if you’re 25, or 45, or 80 years old. It can find an audience online.


  • Corey Travis Bean

    I’m only 27, but have extreme anxiety and worry issues and I feel like I’m already having my midlife crisis and feel like I’m getting too old to make it. But after reading some of you guys’ comments I’m feeling alot better. Thanks for giving me something to aspire to.

    • I know this sounds like a cliche, but “27!!! You’ve still got your whole life ahead of you!” Seriously. Keep making music. Lots of it.


      • Corey Travis Bean

        thanks man

  • Midnight Rider

    I am 65. I left the sunny shores of Australia coz my kids lived here. I always encouraged them with their music and they did quite well. I spent years frustrated as I didn’t feel Australia was very cultured and would support my style of music. In London I started busking and resurrected myself a little. I sold my own cds and got some positive feedback. It was small, but something. Now Im in Brighton and am still writing songs…In the past I’d written for grammy winners but thats a long time ago and its hard for writers now because of file sharing.

    I don’t know about the future, I just feel aligned and good when I play an open mic or busk or write. Yes its not easy, but to anyone reading this, don’t give up. Im living proof of hope. Hope on…when Matisse lost the use of his hands to paint he did cutouts, which look great, I have a print. Do the same! Do something, even small. Its ok, were all together in this

    • Thanks so much for sharing this. Sounds like you’ve found many joys in the art and performance itself, which I suppose is the only way to stick with it once the fleeting stuff has… fleeted. Glad to hear it.


  • Magda999

    It takes many years to really be a great song writer. Think about it. Most of the big hits are and have been written by people age 35 on up. If writing a great pop song was easy, everyone would do it. But the fact is, it is not. It takes time, hard work, and experience to hone the craft of writing. As a young musician it seems cool to be the front person, the big star, but really, it’s the writer / producers that have longer careers, and therefore, make a real living. Who wants to go on tour forever, be mobbed where ever you go, and then be washed up by age 30? They say it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert, so let’s stop pretending that age is somehow a bad thing. The music industry likes to market their hot young neophyte singers as true “artists,” but the truth is very few of these young artists can write let alone even play an instrument. It’s all about the song, and when it comes to writing, age, and therefore experience, is what gets people dancing on the dance floor and singing in the shower.

  • Ralph Lee Ridenour

    Hi my name is Ralph Lee Ridenour. I write in many styles, I’d like some imput on my work, I don’t know how to push my song’s and music ect. Please anyone take a look I need your help

  • Gabe Bravo

    I had the opportunity in my 30s to attend the famed Musician’s institute in Los Angeles to continue the journey in perfecting my craft…….. while there, I met Roger who was 57, retired and grinding through the gears in first quarter. I also met another gentleman in his 60s who was graduating and he could really play. It was magnificent witnessing the courage, humility and gall of these men to do what they please. Ultimately, what anyone has to say is valueless– forget the dialogues and get engrossed in a fight to the death, that is where value is borne……. all the greatest of encouragement to you soldiers who are hesitant about following your passion– it’s not easy, but you can do it!!

  • Grif Rift

    I extend my deep appreciation to everyone who spilled their heart aches on this page, while I was reading it hope and belief began streaming down my veins warming up my doubtful heart. I am about to turn 32 and have that awful feeling of I-just-missed-the-train crawling up on me. I was not serious enough about my music till I turned 25, cause my family,myself included wanted to get “proper” university education (Political science), and being an immigrant in Canada that was a number one priority, because, my parents sacrificed a lot to bring me here to have a better education, to have a better life, type of story . But deep down I felt different, I was waiting to graduate to spend more time writing, recording and playing my music. I cannot say, that I was not enjoying my undergrad years, but it was my intellectual food; I was lacking proper emotional and spiritual outlet. And my music or music in general was the answer. That is when I felt truly alive and breathing, totally attuned with myself. So I chose not to pursue a political career or any kind of career for that matter, but to stick with my passion for music and see where it would take me. I continued working as a security guard, the job that paid my tuition fees and living expenses, and focused on song writing. But about a year into it, I could not find a proper band to play with, I am band is like a family type of person, so I thought to myself if music isn’t working for me now, I gotta fall back on what I spent four years of my life for. I applied for and got accepted to grad school. The summer of 2011, just before my 27 birthday and the start of the fall semester I took a trip to Europe that was meant to alter the course of my life. While traveling through Germany I met a girl who was from Ukraine and spoke my native tongue. We fell madly in love with each other, so that upon my return to Canada I took another month off at my shitty security job and went to Kiev, Ukraine to be with my girlfriend, because trying to build a relationship over skype was not really alluring to me (considering we spent only two days together in Germany). So I went to Ukraine but before I said hello it was the time to say goodbye ( It is true when they say, “Time flies when you’re in love!”). I came back to Canada and took up my studies, but could not help asking myself what am I doing with my life? Should I really be here discussing political philosophy of Kant or be brave enough to make choices that matter? Basically I sent to hell my tuition grant I had been generously given by the University and the Province, dropped out of the program, packed my suitcases and moved to Kiev, Ukraine to live with my girlfriend. Full of energy and optimism I was fronting the band within a six month period. We began working on songs like I always wanted, rehearsing our live sets. By the end of 2012 we released a bedroom demo EP and continued on polishing our compositions and writing new stuff. In between the song writing, which by the way was immensely and positively affected by my developing relationship, and gigs I got married. Being the oldest member of the band, almost seven years older than the rest, I began having doubts, cause from now on I had a responsibility to my wife, who was fully supportive of my creative and musical endeavors. I felt like my band mates had a whole life ahead of them, but I could no longer be so reckless taking into account the dire economic situation of Ukraine and having no good prospects for a decent life I PULLED THE PLUG on my music, on my friendship, on my dreams!!! Me and my wife escaped the Ukrainian capital covered by the smoke of burning tires and a revolutionary rage that was rumbling across the streets of Kiev echoing from the monumental structures of the former Soviet glory. To my surprise my band mates did not quit on me, unlike I did. They offered not to severe our music collaboration, but continue writing songs sending material over the web, and rehearsing using online jamming software, of course battling seven-hour time difference between Canada and Ukraine. And that was two years ago… Today experiencing most signs of quarter-life crisis, and with mounting psychological tension caused by the lack of proper (white collar) employment and realization of inevitable need for a new family addition to sustain a proper family function within the society and simply help my loving wife fulfill her dream of having a baby boy who would look like me which I would really want as well I came across this website. It seems that some higher powers up until this moment guided me in the direction of my creative fulfillment, so I must continue on my path, but than what of my family, how will they be affected. I am at crossroads, although deep down I know that the problem is already part of the solution, and yet I am hesitant, frustrated, I am in self doubt about everything, maybe a lack of talent, or maybe a lack of life management skills, or even my desires. I feel like pursuing my music passion is my refusal to step into the adulthood, however all posts here serve as a proof that creativity does not have any age restraints and boundaries, and should not conform to any life stages written up by sociologists. And yet I do not want to look back at my past years and think of them as a failed period of my life in terms of my passion for music, because that is how I would feel if I am to give up everything right now, to betray the friendship and trust of my band mates once again, that would mean failing at large as a good man,as a human being. Perhaps I am on that very train and it is at its full speed carrying everything within its cabins: my passion for music, my love for my family, my chance to be myself, to feel complete unconditionally, but one thing is unknown is the destination, the journey itself will define the point of arrival and all I have to do is to make some real effort in making it all work together, when instead, I am still standing outside the train station painfully deliberating whether my train has left. Thank you !
    P.S. Oh, it is 4am and I have a morning session with my band, gotta go to sleep.

    • Thanks for sharing this very personal and poetic take on age and music. As a husband, parent, and person with a day-type-job, I’d just say to you that if music keeps calling, answer the call. You CAN strike a balance between your family, career, and creative responsibilities. It’s sometimes frustrating finding the right balance, but life would be just as frustrating (in different ways) if you were 100% going for music and didn’t have those other relationships, steady income, whatever else. No one owes us a career in music or the recognition we probably all seek, so carve what space you can for your art and make the absolute most of that space, even if it’s just 30 minutes a day, or one week a year, or something like that. Sounds like you’re on your way to figuring out that balance already.


  • mookienae

    I don’t want to become a success, i just want to learn to play jazz music, and then play somewhere on weekend in a nice safe environment, that’s all..If it become more then I”ll deal with it then, but now it not what i want..So how do i learn jazz at forty six, where should i start i was thinking college since i cannot afford a monthly class.

  • Craig

    For years ive wanted to play the violin or the flute but my parents refused. I’m now 22 and see no point even trying to learn because i dont think i can get anywhere with what i really want to do because im too old and honestly that makes really sad.

  • Rose Glasses

    I played thru my 20’s and early 30’s …then raised my kids thru late 30’s to early 50’s .I kept writing and recording the whole time tho . around 53 i decided the world was ready to hear my masterpieces ha …hit some open mics…met some other musicians …was introduced to my current band and also fell into three other musical projects as well. i work a full time job at a grocery store (mostly overnight) I am either gigging or rehearsing at least 3-4 days a week…i don’t sleep and am probably slowly killing myself at 56 years old…but i am happier than i can ever recall…just recorded my first full length CD (10 songs) in a real studio not my back spare room ha …and it seems i have finally figured out why i do this! . …the reason is I absolutely love to play music-by myself or with friends…in public or at home…for money or not (but to be honest with friends – in public – for money …is way better 🙂 ) All I can say is if you love it then do it cause you aint getting any younger and no one ever went to their final resting place saying “man i wish i would have worked one more shift at the factory” ….Peace TIM

    • Sounds like you slowed down and took the time to be present with your kids. Good for you. I’m towards the start of raising kids, and wow, there’s not much time for music these days for me. Glad you’re finding lots of time to make your music now.


      • Rose Glasses

        Thanks Chris….. T

  • Being 44 might hurt your prospects if your target market is 14-year-olds, but if you make music that appeals to “mature” listeners, whether they be 25 or 105, I don’t think your age will prevent you from reaching fans. Yes, the music industry can be youth-obsessed, but age doesn’t have to be a barrier, just a hurdle to jump over. I’m happy you’re pursuing your solo music career and hope that your music finds its ideal audience.


  • Also, you have the perfect last name to address this issue head-on with humor.


  • It’s obvious that you feel compelled to create music, and that’s great. I would say, do it — and don’t wait! You don’t need a college degree to create EDM. You don’t need a degree to compose music for concert halls. You don’t need a degree to do anything artistic. You seem to have a hunger for creating and learning. Go online. Watch videos. Read books. Enroll in free, online courses (MOOCs). Check out some affordable tutorials (I’m thinking of doing this one this winter: Dig into the software and apps that you can afford today (don’t wait for the perfect gear or setup), and start creating. And most importantly, listen to the music you love (and the music you hate) with a curious ear. I bet you have everything you need to begin. What you need after that point will come to you as you go. Don’t go into debt or move to another country in order to create art. Sorry if this sounds like a cliche pep-talk; I really mean it: Don’t put off your dreams.


  • Nice. Wishing you lots of success and lots of brilliant musical discoveries.

    Follow @ChrisRobley on Twitter

  • Aaron B Thompson

    I obviously struggle with the notion of being too old, otherwise I wouldn’t have googled it haha. At the dusk of 34 and father of two little ones, I have been feeling disadvantaged of late, but this blog post gave me encouragement so I am grateful for your words. The past few years have been spent recording and gigging, with a positive trajectory in terms of growth. However, as this article points out, I keep thinking ahead and hoping for discovery when what I need to do is pay my dues and say my name six times a set… That said, my name is Aaron B Thompson and you can check out my stuff on iTunes and Spotify… JK, but seriously haha.

  • That’s it. Persevering. If you feel called to do it, keep at it — through the long-haul. If you resonate with an older audience, put some time and thought into how you can reach them where they are. Maybe YouTube is not the place. Maybe live shows, maybe something else. But don’t feel pressured into playing the game it’s usually played in order to reach 12 year olds. That would drive anyone insane.


  • Craig, thank you so much for sharing this story about your musical achievements (impressive hustling door-to-door too!), health struggles, loyalty to family, sacrifices, and your return to music. I think it’s so important for musicians to share these kinds of stories. Most of us have it hammered into us that we’re failures at the art if it hasn’t yielded fame and fortune by 27. Success can mean so much more than chart success. Thanks again.

    Follow on Twitter: @ChrisRobley

  • Holly Principato

    This was encouraging….BUT:
    I am not a professional singer, as most of these comments sound. I am an almost two time divorcee, a mother, a grandmother, as well as a music lover. I am also a CLASSIC ROCK, Classic POP, Disco, Soul lover….(whatever was out in the 60s, 70s, and 80s is my love). Those songs just seem to have said something back then. In my opinion, if you listen to them nowadays, the message is still very clear and rings true for the world today, though our problems and issues may be different.
    I would like to bring “THE OLDIES BUT GOODIES” back out. Get those messages from long ago back out for the listener of today. Is there even a market for these now?
    Some of my favorites were sung by male artists. Being a female, I am not sure how to do them and make them take on a female viewpoint, I guess you could say.
    Though I am not a professional, I have been on stage a few times. Those stages were very small, but I loved each and every time I was allowed an effort. Enjoyment was over the top. I had every plan to go professional. But being the type of young person I was, I listened to seemingly caring friends when they said,”You can’t make it! Do you realize how long it takes to break into music”!, and the always famous line of,”I just don’t want to see you get hurt when you get rejected”. I didn’t listen to ME, and I should have! Now, after living a hard life, I am ready to listen to me, but always thought I was a bit late. Now I am wondering if I need education behind me.
    My voice used to be at a professional level back then, and now it does not sound as good. How can I remedy this little problem and get my voice back to where it use to be or better?

    • I don’t think you need any education (at least not formally), just experience. Do you have open-mics in your area? Even karaoke! Anything to get you back into shape as a vocalist, and in front of people. Plus, daily practicing at home is good. You can find great vocal warmup exercises on YouTube, and much more.

  • Peter Stein

    Dylan 76 still touring who cares!/ just a number don’t get hung up on it. I have to remind myself because I let a lot of it go, don’t do as much, that butterflies in your gut, thats living, “Life starts on the edge of your comfort zone” Im 66 building up courage to go on brit got talent. Know they’ll poke fun but can’t just let my songs go to waste!

  • Mar Cia

    that is great advice and makes me realize my singing lessons may not be for naught.

  • Here’s what I’ve observed over time: If it’s in you, you’ll go after what you want and nothing or no one will dissuade you or stop you. However, if it’s not in you (just a pipedream), you’ll give into all kinds of reasons why ‘it didn’t work out’ for you.

    As for getting a degree, do it if someone is helping you with your education. It can only be another arrow in your quiver you may need someday. ✌

  • James John Hennessey Jr.

    Heck, Chuck Berry must have been close to 90.

  • James John Hennessey Jr.

    You rock for a very long time if you don’t do drugs; if you do drugs, make sure you join the Rolling Stones because they seem to live long no matter what (except for Brian Jones).

  • George Jenkins

    James J. Hennessey, Jr. is one very, very Smart DIY Musician!!!!!!

  • James John Hennessey Jr.

    You are “NEVER” too old to make it; even I could make it.