David Bowie’s advice to artists: never get comfortable

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The most important thing you need to remember as an artist, according to David Bowie:

“Never work for other people at what you do. Always remember that the reason that you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt that if you could manifest it in some way, you would understand more about yourself or how you coexist with the rest of society. 

I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other people’s expectations. I think they generally produce their worst work when they do that.

And the other thing I would say is that if you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

Sound advice? A bunch of artsy BS? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • John Kushman

    This verifies something I thought about a while ago, I have a podcast and was going into a direction that challenged my creativity but held back wanting to play it safe. I’m a thinking outside the box kind of guy and I need to nourish that part of me to manifest the type of work I want to do.

  • One more wonderful piece of advice by the smartest rock star ever. He had the magic ability of using a stunning paradox: by not giving his audience what they expected, he actually gave them what they wanted. His personality was bigger than music, that’s why wether he played with jungle loops or went heavy-rock, went arty in Berlin or jazzy with a bunch of unknown cats, he was Bowie before being the style of music he played. And that’s what’s missing in the music scene now: personality! Musicians, be artists before being drudgy providers of any style. Who cares if youplay “pop-rock”, “brit-grunge” or “prog-with-country-violin”? Fans are attracted to bigger-than-life characters. Who are the Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Robert Plant of the 2010’s?

  • Robbie Alan

    That makes perfect sense,fomulaic music is boring.Acting like a rapper when you’re a
    classical performer makes you look stupid.You should keep reaching for new
    avenues,that’s what an artist does.Miles Davis knew this well.