You’re NEVER too old to make it in music

3261 198

Are you too old to make it in music?Why your age doesn’t have to hold you back in the independent music world

Youth has always been a component of popular music culture: Sinatra, Elvis, The Beatles, Madonna, Britney Spears, One Direction, Lorde — they all got their start well before the big THREE-O. And some of them were still in their teens!

But if youth is a prerequisite for success in the pop music business, well we’ve gotten used to plenty of exceptions to that rule throughout the years.

Celebrated songwriters like Leonard Cohen, Lucinda Williams, and Mary Gauthier didn’t really break through until their 30’s or 40’s. Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, Sharon Jones, Peaches, Thelonius Monk… the list goes on and on. Plenty of artists didn’t find their true voice, or record their best songs, or start to build a loyal following until the September of their years, to quote Ol’ Blue Eyes.

And these days, with the powers of home recording, web marketing, affordable video production, and global music distribution at your fingertips, you have just as much a chance to make money from your music at age 55 as you would at age 15.

Now becoming a “rock star?” “World famous?” A household name? Honestly, that may be a different story. But if that’s what you’re striving for I’d like to remind you that we’re a decade and a half into the 21st Century. Look around. Have you noticed there kinda AREN’T that many NEW rock stars these days anyway?

Instead, there’s a large musical Middle Class consisting of independent artists across every genre that are sustaining full-time careers from their music through concert fees, publishing royalties, music sales, streams, YouTube ad revenue, merch, and more.

Whether you’re in that group of musicians, working towards it, or just a hobbyist, in today’s music industry YOU get to decide what “making it” means. YOU get to define “success.”

Don’t believe me? Check out the more than 500 comments on our blog post “Are you too old to make it?” for proof that you can not only be taken seriously and create quality work in your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and beyond — but you can also achieve success.

Make the music you love. Find the people that love your sound. Your audience is out there — so you should put yourself and your songs out there too, no matter how many candles are on your birthday cake.

—–

If good things are happening in your musical life, we want to hear about it. Please share in the comments section below.


Email Sign Up: Become a Smarter Musician

[Picture of guy holding guitar from Shutterstock.]

In this article


Join the Conversation

  • Great article. I’m 46 and I’ve only just begun to realize the advantage I currently have over my 20 year old songwriting self. I could never have been able to do even HALF of the things I’m able to accomplish now with all this technology. Thanks for kicking me in the ass. I’m using this as a reminder.

    • Of course you have an advantage in song writing it’s called Life Experience and you can’t get that without experience life FIRST! I have a serious advantage over most DJ’s, most have no knowledge of music produced before they were born, which is me is the golden age of Rap Music. So while most are playing Trap and other forms of “urban” EDM, they tend to gravitate towards tracks that were popular and not any of the deeper stuff.

      I was too young to experience clubs in the 70’s and early 80’s when I hadn’t reached my teenage years yet, but I was alive at the height of Disco, Afrocentrism, the rise and fall of Funk and increasing use of electronic hardware to produce music (80’s).

      I also understand the mistakes I made when I was younger trying to make this a business.

  • 46 years old.. 30+ albums and counting.. – Colie Brice

  • Cecil Osborne

    Thanks I needed that! I put my music on hold for 40 years…family…job…military…and so on. Now I am fired up!

    • Nice. Keep me posted on how it all goes.

      @ChrisRobley

    • Rog Bates

      Cecil, I can totally relate and I know what you mean by fired up!

    • MayanFox

      Good music doesn’t age. Beethoven’s 9th is as stirring to me as I imagine it would have been to those who first heard it almost a couple hundred years ago.

  • Ha. Happy to do some kicking.

    @ChrisRobley

  • John Banks Jr

    Yeah, I’m going on 44 and have been actively gigging since I was 16 without ever really stopping. The primary way to ensure you don’t “make it” is by quitting/giving up. Besides, if your reason for playing music in the first place is “making it” then you likely won’t last too long anyhow. It better be for the love of creating and playing music, otherwise all the petty BS that usually goes along with being a musician/artist will generally be too much to bear. I’ve found that my musical ability and songwriting capabilities have advanced right along with my age, so perhaps we shouldn’t be referred to as “old, older or aging” musicians, but rather “advanced” musicians. It’s amazing what a slight change in terminology can do to alter the perceived connotation.

  • I hope when my 9-5 life calms down I’ll have more time to produce. Maybe it’ll be a hobby in my old age.

  • Guest

    I am in 😉

  • Mac Charles

    Good subject, I’m no twenty/thirty something, so it’s a song a week for life: https://maccharles.bandcamp.com

  • Walt Cronin

    Agreed ! Don’t stop till you drop !

  • I was born in 62 and I’ve been writing and recording my own songs since
    my early teens! I play all the instruments and engineer (two qualifications) and produce too. i have started my own Production/publishing record label November
    Media Music and have released eight albums and three singles, from total of fifteen albums
    recorded! I go by the name ftprints11, and I am continually working to increase my profile and (income streams) and ‘brand’. I do so even though I have nil money to invest. i just sacrifice a lot to be able to do it independently. I hope it pays off for me, but the main thing for me is that i have made my contribution to original pop/rock idioms; i was motivated not repeat endless formulaic pop songs (which has got to the point of a joke now, Popasia and all the reality TV music star shows. They have proved that they cannot produce (create and manipulate the market) one credible artist from all those great singers, I mean singers who are exemplars of the ordinary.
    Those shows are about self transformation (under extreme and induced pressure conditions); we want to see the battered ‘loser’ (bottom three, up for eviction/elimination etc) recover from the ashes of their own tragedy. it is the human fascination with this tragic/comic aspect of culture that has evolved for thousands of years. Not much changes really, only now it is matter of extremely sophisticated marketing and multi dimensional/level (cross) promotion which ensures their profits. But this often comes at the expense of a persons career. or their life.
    “I’ve dreamed about this moment for so long, and now its like its coming true!” says the fifteen year old X factor contestant.
    Well, I did not dream. I set out at early age to find out as much as possible before making a serious commitment to a ‘music career’ (so you want to be a pop star?, rocketing to stardom etc etc) etc: and have learned everything I could about making music and the culture from which it both springs and inheres.
    I have done that now and so I have succeeded at the life goal i set for myself all those years ago (and even before, as I used to pretend to conduct Beethoven symphonies as a four year old).
    Yet i have not made a good income from music. However, I have done everything to make that possible with the little, and I mean little, that i have. What more can a man do?
    So i am a 52 year old rock philosopher who writes pop music for real people. I abhor the bullshit of that elusive and illusory thing called ‘fame.’
    I have many fans all over the world and I hope to got more. The music pirates have a great time with artists like me, since people do not buy what is ‘good’ rather they buy what they ‘desire’ – if that is also what others say is ‘good’ then that is even better.
    Many make a fortune out of helping/managing/informing musicians how to ‘make it’. That is another part of the music business i do not like.

    So I remain independent, with my credibility intact, ready take a ftprints11 show on the road, to perform for my fans anywhere in the world.
    Why is there no such thing as a 52 year old pop artist? There is, it is a fallacy to think otherwise. Real musicians just do it, the critics and fashion hacks, the googlepop formula songs produced by those who have sold their soul, Faustian like, to the devil of corporate profiteering to a ever younger, suggestible audience.
    My music is for adults only. It is a pop music that is true alternative to the charts
    Since my ftprints11 music fits in no categories i have called it flexrock.

    Flexrock is the sound of the categories used to sell and control the choices of/to consumers breaking down.
    I have provided in my lifetime an example of consensus music form which transcends mere consumerism and fads.

    I have done everything ‘wrong’, yet i have what they are all trying desperately to have: the fruit of ones talent created for the rest of the world, and for good!!

    That to me is making original music, of course, in such a case one is doomed to be ‘ahead of their time’ and therefore a likely failure -as the history of the worlds greatest thinkers and artists attest.

    Good luck to anyone who believes in the power of good that is music personified in the everydayness of life.
    Listen to ftprints11 on your mobile phone and you too will understand the power of integrity and the value of new music and its function in thought, knowledge, identity and creativity itself;

    http://www.ftprints11.yolasite.com

    • Yes! Actually I have wriitten a symphony called ‘Pan’. I did so whilst doing sixth grade music theory in my late 30s. My ‘ambition’ was to write operas, and I actually have several unfinished attempts (one is called Matilda, but Tim Minchen (Australian comic music satirical genius/showman) has one out now wilth that same title. You got to be quick!). I learnt by ear, which made learning to read notation (at speed) when I had piano lessons as an 7-9 year old difficult. “No, No!” She would say, “Like this” – and she then demonstrates. Well then I just go “Oh you mean like this” and then played it. Didn;’t have the patience! But after self-mastering most of the main instruments I was

      very glad that i did do the Music Theory (AMEB). The four part choral harmony practice is very testing, and good for the brain, once you get it. So many rules! I usually break them when appropriate to do so.
      One day I hope to perform my progressive rock/pop music (flexrock) with an orchestra, and then I may get my chance. After all, Wagner is and was a huge influence (egomaniac that he was, pity that). But Beethovens late inlife conducting performances – when he was virtually deaf – was a complete ambarrassment for the great man, as he was way out o sync witth the orchestra playing his own new symphony. Kucky for 1st Violinists eh? No, one is never too old to succeed at music. It is a lifetime achievment ever in progress.
      Thanks for your response. Good luck to all with musical endevours by those who refuse to follow the dictates of commercial/exploitative ‘pop’ industry people and live their own lives as free musicians, and not a factory puppets for profits!

  • Sunfell

    Very encouraging. I’ve loved electronic music since Late Disco, and now have the time and means to create it myself. I’m also curating a lifetime’s worth of collected music, and am learning how to create great mixes with it. I used to make mixtapes back in the day- and I want to get back into it.

  • ken

    47 ….Im just a fucking baby …..!!!

  • Lateef Murdock

    Really needed to hear this and at this particular moment. I’m in my 40’s and seriously thinking of packing it in. I write Pop music that would appeal to the Lady Gaga, Usher, etc … crowd. Sometimes I think I’m too old to be doing this. I’m not trying be an artist. Never cared to be that. Just want to write and produce for others. I get lots of good feed back but no hits, yet. I can never seem to make the right connections.

    But, reading this article and ones like it, makes me want to stick it out awhile longer. I was quite literally (as of 5 or 10 minutes ago ) considering giving up on trying to be a “real” songwriter. Then, while researching something else, I ran across this article. Is the universe trying to tell me something? I’m not one for hocus pocus and I’m not sure if I believe in signs, but …

    1:00 am – entertaining the idea of quitting music because I feel I’m getting too old.
    1:12 am – stumbled on this article and the link to the blog post, “Are You Too Old To Make It?”
    1:37 am – now I’m locked, loaded and ready to write some hits.

    Thank you for this.

  • Thank you so much! I have been a lover of music all my life, but it was only recently (age 40) that I started a band. Just a covers band, but I did start writing a song last week…

  • Nice. Once it’s done you can sneak it into your sets as if it’s a cover song and see how the audience responds.

    @ChrisRobley

  • NICE! And you’re welcome. Good timing. But what is a “real” songwriter? I mean, it sounds like you’re already writing the kinds of songs you want to write. Sounds real to me. Keep writing and recording, and try to find opportunities to get those songs into other people’s hands. Have you looked for a publishing deal? That might be a way to get some songs at least considered by big artists.

    @ChrisRobley

    • Lateef Murdock

      I’ve been trying that, too. So far, if you don’t know someone who can get you in the door, publishers won’t even listen to you. But, I just have to keep networking and putting myself out there. At some point I’ll be in the right place at the right time.

      It will happen when it’s supposed to happen. I just have to make sure I keep my head in the game and be the best songwriter I can be. One thing I have to get better at is networking. I’m never going to make those connections if I don’t get out of the studio and actually connect with other creative people.

      When I said a “real songwriter” I meant one who can actually carve out a living from the craft. My heart, my head and my ears say I’m the real deal. However, my wallet has it’s doubts. …lol

      • Lisa

        Are you a Christian? Can you write Chistian Pop? Basically pop music with Christian lyrics?

        • Lateef Murdock

          Lisa, I’m a Christian of sorts. I’ve never tried writing Christian Pop. My beliefs fall to the left of mainstream Christianity so I’m not sure how it’d be received.

          I think the best thing for me to do in a situation like that is hook up with a good Christian artist / lyricist and creat some songs together. I’d be open to doing that. I’d really enjoy it.

      • Timing is everything, as the saying goes. I’m pursing my Master of Entertainment business at Full Sail University. One of my current courses is Entertainment Media Publishing and Distribution, and one of the related text books is “2013 Songwriters Market.” It has invaluable tools, including a list of publishing AGENTS – a must have for any songwriter. Publishers / labels do not accept unsolicited submissions directly from artists anymore, for a variety of reasons, most of them legal. I highly recommend this book. Good luck with your career… and don’t ever give up!

        • Lateef Murdock

          I’m going to check that book out. Thanks for the tip.

  • Hey there, thanks for sharing. Great story, and very encouraging. One question, though: why don’t you STILL conduct Beethoven symphonies? Could be a great party trick! Bring out your inner 4-yr-old.

    ; )

    @ChrisRobley

  • Wow. Heck of a production schedule. Good for you for sticking to it.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Glade Swope

    Maybe this is one reason for the tradition of songwriter/performer separation that was prevalent before The Beatles? The performers in the goode olde days were mostly playing covers written by their elders.

    • Very true. And even the Beatles started off that way.

      @ChrisRobley

    • Tom Hendricks

      Right you are. The era of hits was from 1955-1975. Then not so much as more and more musicians tried writing songs. Lot harder to sing well then write great songs.
      There is an article called 3 to 6 String Of Hits that talks more about the era of hits, and how that has mostly gone.

  • Amen. If you perform your rock opera with an orchestra, get some good video!

    @ChrisRobley

    • will do! Its on tyhe to do list asap.

      Age is absolutely irrelavent in music making unless you have no talent at all anyway. Look at the stones, they still play and move. People who think its about kids are marketers who want ‘loyal’, suggestible young minds to stay with theie ‘artist’ pop puppets etc. Music that is good needs no introduction, least of all age, unless its a circus trick, lioke a four year old who can play the guitar like Steve Via already. That;s interesting, but not im portant to anyone who loves music. Steve is doing it already, so hes a but late then i he not?

      I am proud top be nearly 53 and creating all my own ftprints11 albums singlehandely!!! Can you?

  • Haha. Well, I hope your wallet confirms those suspicions soon enough.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Rik van Boeckel

    I am 62 and making hiphop, spoken word, latin and reggae, playing percussion. And I am grown up with pop music, jazz, reggae, hiphop, Santana, latin music, African music and now world music. And playing percussion for a long long time!! See here:
    http://www.reverbnation.com/rikvanboeckel

  • Rik van Boeckel

    I am 62 and making hiphop, spoken word, latin and reggae, playing percussion. And I am grown up with pop music, jazz, reggae, hiphop, Santana, latin music, African music and now world music. And playing percussion for a long long time!! See here:
    http://www.reverbnation.com/rikvanboeckel

  • Rik van Boeckel

    I am 62 and making hiphop, spoken word, latin and reggae, playing percussion. And I am grown up with pop music, jazz, reggae, hiphop, Santana, latin music, African music and now world music. And playing percussion for a long long time!! See here:
    http://www.reverbnation.com/rikvanboeckel

  • You don’t need to post this Chris, but interestingly and just in the FYI files, when Sivers still owned CDBaby they sent all the artists a CD of a conference for songwriters telling them if they were over 30 it was too late except to sell your music for licensing. However they also were trying to get everyone to sign up with Taxi. It was kind of depressing hahaha

  • I was just told the other day that I am too old to do music, smh!! I am 43 yrs young and I
    AM THAT CHIC!!! I consider that to be a hater speaking what he doesn’t believe
    about HIMSELF. at this point in my life NOTHING OR NO-ONE CAN DETERE ME!!! I
    CAN’T BE STOPPED!!!! I’m closer to the end of the wait than I was at the
    beginning. NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS.. THEY ARE YOURS FOR A REASON!!!!

  • Jack Fossett

    For me it was having kids. I know that alot of people tell you, in the traditional “make it big” scene, getting married and having kids is a big no no. Before I had kids, I tried to play the game, I tried to get noticed by record labels and what. Came out of it with little more than a few good shows and some glorified demos. When I found out I was going to be a father, I decided if I wanted any sort of music success, it was up to me. Since then I’ve released three (almost 4) self produced solo albums, been played on multiple radio stations around the world, performed with Joe Bonamassa, opened for Paula Cole, and much more. And I’ll feel much more proud being able to tell my children one day “you inspired me to be great” rather than to tell them “you’re the reason I gave up on my dreams”.

  • I have been writing and playing music professionally for 49 years and just released my latest collection on songs:

    http://www.hittinthenote.com/cart/p-1702-tommy-taltonbruntil-after-then.aspx
    Play on!

  • Megan Zurkey

    Love this article! Thank you! <3

  • Melissa Moser

    Thank you so much! This was a message from my angels today. I was asking for some positive news for once 🙂 Thank you

  • Jess Reyes

    Thank you for this article! It’s always nice to be reminded that success in the music business is not solely for the young, but also for the young at heart!

  • I was just told the other day that I am too old to do music, smh!! I am 43 yrs young and I
    AM THAT CHIC!!! I consider that to be a hater speaking what he doesn’t believe
    about HIMSELF. at this point in my life NOTHING OR NO-ONE CAN DETERE ME!!! I
    CAN’T BE STOPPED!!!! I’m closer to the end of the wait than I was at the
    beginning. NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS.. THEY ARE YOURS FOR A REASON!!!!

  • Brian Theoret

    Thanks for the article Chris! 33 and finishing up my first full length album. I’m so excited to share it with everybody! It’s coming out this November!

  • Brian Theoret

    Thanks for the article Chris! 33 and finishing up my first full length album. I’m so excited to share it with everybody! It’s coming out this November!

  • Tom Hendricks

    How about 65? I’m just about to release a 9 CD, 150 song, Outside the Box, set on CDBABY with half originals and half covers – showcasing a new type of music postmod, a new guitar style, combo guitar style, and reflecting a new venue, 17 years of box office concerts in Dallas. And that’s just the start of the arts and media revolution coming out of Dallas.

  • Tom Hendricks

    How about 65? I’m just about to release a 9 CD, 150 song, Outside the Box, set on CDBABY with half originals and half covers – showcasing a new type of music postmod, a new guitar style, combo guitar style, and reflecting a new venue, 17 years of box office concerts in Dallas. And that’s just the start of the arts and media revolution coming out of Dallas.

  • Tom Hendricks

    How about 65? I’m just about to release a 9 CD, 150 song, Outside the Box, set on CDBABY with half originals and half covers – showcasing a new type of music postmod, a new guitar style, combo guitar style, and reflecting a new venue, 17 years of box office concerts in Dallas. And that’s just the start of the arts and media revolution coming out of Dallas.

    • Tom Hendricks

      Got all 150 songs on there! That was a big end of the year achievement, thanks CDBaby.

  • Dennis Lee

    I am 58 and have my own little studio where I write and record my own songs. I play all the instrumentation and sing all the vocals. This is something I have always wanted to do and have just started doing this a couple years ago. I have written and recorded 40 something songs so far and next week I will be advertising for musicians to audition for my band so I can go live. I thought maybe I am a little old to some to be doing this (rock music by the way), but after reading this article I feel better and alive again. Thanks! A big encouragement!

  • Mark Stone

    Let’s say I’m middle aged and I’m releasing my 1st full length project with Mark Stone and the Dirty Country Band on CD Baby as soon as I finish 2 more tracks and get them back from Mastering. Ahead of the Album I plan on releasing “I Wanna Kiss You In The Country” as a single in the next week or so and Thanks to CD Baby Free I’ve been able to release my previous bands back catalog. http://cdbaby.com/cd/juggernautmnmarkstone It’s a good time to be a DIY musician. Thanks Again CD Baby

  • Robert Atchley

    On your story about “you’re never too old,” I went to Song School in Lyons Colorado in 2008 at age 69 to ramp up my song-writing and performing skills. I’ve gone on the release 3 albums and perform from coast to coast. If you want to read more of my story, check out my blog at http://www.bobatchley.com/blog.

  • 57 yrs young. I’m a singer-songwriter who sings with The Platters Live. When your heroes are predominantly biblical as mine are, age becomes extremely irrelevant! Here’s the link for my new single and video YOU CAN GIVE LOVE released 2 months ago and 2nd CD to follow in first quarter of 2015. Stay encouraged and remember: YOU CAN GIVE LOVE http://youtu.be/LOzNsp8xtIs

  • Richard McCargar

    I’m fifty-seven, and though won’t ever go viral, my guitarlcksandtabs youtube channel recently cleared 550,000 views. Not shabby for an old guy who only started recording the licks/solos and songs I was relearning as I recovered from a couple of strokes.

    edit: and while here…..I’m on cdbaby. Not great, but it’s fun!
    http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/RickMcCargar

  • It’s great to see this slant on age and success in music. Since I’ve moved to Arizona I have found paying gigs and some very devoted fans. My big pleasure is rocking out hard with my songs and the covers I play in the bars. I’m 64 and just about to release my 4th CD which I recorded live in the studio. Finally producing my own tunes. Keep the optimism going and never quit!

  • Kevin Gant
  • Nu_Wri456

    The “Silver Conductor” here. This is hat the industry needs in a very bad way today.Yes youth is good for the longevity of the industry but it’s proving to be a 1 hit wonder microwave society of so called artists.It’s never too late,we ALL are vibratory creatures on different musical vibrations at different times, no matter who vibes we are grooving to at the time Young or Seasoned 🙂 MusicLuv to All who see read and hear this. The SC.
    http://www.thesilverconductor.com

  • Ron Haney

    This year I am celebrating my 50th year in music. Started when the Beatles invaded America in 1964 and have been able to stay active all these years. Am a writer, producer, guitarist, arranger, etc. and currently work with and am band partners with a legendary early rock and roll drummer. Your article sparks even more determine in my heart to keep it rockin’. I think the biggest obstacle we are older artists have to overcome is to not believe all the “youth marktet” BS that is all around us. Took me fifty years to get this much life and music experience and I am thrilled with where I am as a musician/singer/writer. Besides….it’s a ton of fun for an old guy like me and am loving touring (been to Europe twice over the past two years and going back in 2015) every year. All the best to you brothers and sisters out there that are also too damn stubborn to give it up. We started most of it in the first place. Rock on!

  • Eric John Kaiser

    On the road, touring, releasing the new album, in a hotel room with a nasty cold, low energy…Am I to old for this ?! …I needed that! 🙂 You rock Chris…Merci beaucoup!

  • calder

    This is what I try to tell myself .. I’m just coming up to 34.. I hope to be releasing the best music I’ve ever made over the coming few months and couple of years.. and ~I expect to be marketing it so much better than ever before in order to build that small but loyal following.. It may only ever be part of my earnings as a professional musician . but hopefully I’ll get some of those magic moments on stage with some real fans by the time I hit 40.. after that, well I know I can never stop writing.. !! cheers .. good blog

  • Lew “Dawg” Cloninger

    I have been in bands for a long while but I didn’t start (this time) until I was almost 50. This last group has been together since 2004. We always did covers, but at the request of my mother in law (who was ninety at the time), I made a poem of hers (written over 40 years prior) into a song. It turned out so well that my band mates and I decided to write some more original tunes. She just passed away on October 22 and we will be forever in her debt. We just finished recording our 12th original song and are planning to release as an album soon. We will dedicate the album to her as she got us started down the path of original music. All this music has been a hobby for us as we all have regular jobs, but the music is like therapy (even when doing covers) and it takes so much stress off our daily lives. I am grateful for my band mates and for my understanding and supportive wife who has helped us every step of the way. We may be old but we are NOT done.

  • I’ve had an idea for a long time and now’s the time to spill it THE VOICE +50 and AMERICAN IDOL +50.There are millions of Baby Boomers just waiting for someone in there age group to come along with new music they grew up with and BUY IT! What a lot of sales, RIGHT!

    • Sheryl Diane

      I regressed further and make music my grandma would have loved and it’s powerful to be a throwback artist – people love to dance is my number one reason – without hearing damage

    • Balladeer Christensen

      Bob, I’m trying to get to the auditions of THE VOICE, and become that throwback artist! Pray that I get there!

  • Jay Casmirri

    Chris – You’ve said something here that I’ve never heard anywhere before, and thanks for that! Yes, I’m 58 now, and still love to make music. When I play out, my age doesn’t seem to matter to anyone. But, my years of experience behind a guitar, piano and microphone are something that is appreciated. And, technology now makes it so much more practical to record our own songs than it ever was 20 or 30 years ago. Not to mention the maturity that comes out in the songwriting of a person that has so much more life experience and musical exposure.

    • Hey Jay, thanks for sharing. And yes, most of the performers who really impress me have 20 or 30 years of experience behind them. So rock on!

      @ChrisRobley

  • Alain Pernot

    You’re only as old as the present moment! All this crap about age is an illusion. You’re here today and gone tomorrow and no one nows when that tomorrow will be…

  • There are so many more options out there now for “seasoned” musicians. As noted in the article, success doesn’t have to be defined as achieving rock star notoriety – writing songs for others, home recording for tv/film etc are all viable ways to participate. I am amazed at the relatively inexpensive technology now available for high quality recording at home – its opened up a whole new world for me!

    http://www.mechanicalhall-a.com

  • I am vintage, have written songs since 1966. I am the great songwriter no one has heard of… or even heard the songs… At age 63, I just now set up a home studio and will record a bunch of demos to spread around via You Tube…. then what? I am a terrible self-promoter. released a debut vocal jazz album (available on CD Baby) but did not promote. I am a very late bloomer… only now do I feel confident and ready to jump into the fray with both feet…. please twitterverse, tell me some realistic next steps… what’s the process? My goal at the moment is to share some publishing rights to my large and varied catalogue, to get high profile artists performing material. I also love performing, but would like to monetize my catalogue and publishing is more likely to pay-off in that respect. I would love some advice. Thanks in advance.

  • My mantras in 2013 were “It’s not too late” and “It’s up to you.” So at 51, I made my 6th CD, Midnight at Monteton, and made this, my pièce de résistance…

    Cultural Trail Theme – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OE0q4wG5y8

  • I’m now 34 and on the brink of putting out my debut album as a solo artist (I’ve always been in bands or duos the past 16 years) under the name of 9 Theory. I have always felt the pressure of needing to be “young” to “make it,” but at 34 I am way better than I’ve ever been before with all aspects of my art, attitude, and focus, and things are lining up for 9 Theory to have a lot of success in the future. If you grind hard and make good, creative, original music, you don’t have to be 20 years old anymore for a chance at success, which is great 🙂

  • Hello,
    Completely quit music for 20 years and tossed in the towel. Recently found some of the old analog tunes and thought they were not as bad as I had originally thought. I’ve been filling in the missing tracks and started putting them out there.
    Getting a lot of crap comments and thumbs down (some have said I’m too old), but I’m also getting a few good vibes. Believe it or not, I ran across an opportunity where they were actually looking for original rock songs from the era I was in (not new stuff made to sound old). Go figure on that one… Have not heard back yet but there is still hope for us.
    :0)
    The key word is “vintage” say you’re “vintage” and you might get more doors to open.
    Ha Ha
    http://www.SlingerMusic.com

  • Socrates El Guitarrista
  • Delon White

    My name is Delon White 46 years young and my first solo project SOUL SESSION VOL 1 available on Amazon, iTunes, Rhapsody, Qobuz, Tate Music Group, Billboard Music and other outlets. Music is R&B/Soul

  • Ulises Rodriguez

    Hi Chris,

    This article is on the money. At age 70 and after more than
    2 decades of inactivity in the music business, I’m back and full of energy and optimism.
    I’m a strong believer that there is a market out there for late bloomers like
    myself. Good luck to the young at heart.

    Here is the link to my new start: http://www.ulisesmarcel.com

  • To all of you oldies and goodies – I am 47. I threw myself at music in my 20’s and couch surfed while living in Austin and San Diego. I got married in my early 30’s and got out of music for a while after having kids. Still played at churches and started leading worship for churches. I got some encouragement at about ProTools 8 when I could finally start using it on PC. I could see that access to technology that advanced was going to change the game. Then I felt that God was calling me back into original music, so after about a 15 year break, I started pursuing it again, getting my home studio set up and recording. I spent about 2 years working on recordings and then managed to get a small publishing deal. I also released a recording to the web that I did about 12 years after I recorded it and some fans picked it up and songs from it ended up receiving about 500,000 hits. the fans put it on a few video service websites for music. This was a break through moment for me. i felt like maybe I wasn’t living in a fantasy world after all, regarding the quality of my music.

    In the last 3 years, I’ve made a lot of investments. I’ve gotten back in shape physically, running with a guy 20 years older than me and better shape than me. I’ve been following vocal lessons with Per Bristow online and now sing way better than I ever have, made a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmnoEAFnc7U – the people involved were so excited), did a photo shoot and now have a radio promotion campaign underway set to hit the airwaves in January 2015 for a song called Cold & Rainy. I started out by myself on ProTools, and added people along the way. I found out that there are a lot of people that enjoy the experience of making music and being a part of it when you let them be a part of your work. These people have brought my music to new levels and I keep thinking of ways to add more people. I now have an agent in L.A., an indie label contractor in L.A., my publisher in Chicago, an engineer in Prague, a mastering engineer in London, an international law office headquartered in Houston, and musicians that I share the experience with in Houston, Nashville and Austin.

    Although some of the efforts have been very scary lately because they require quite a level of commitment, I haven’t regretted any of the steps. The momentum now is starting to kick in from all of the efforts and things are rolling. I went into my photo shoot feeling like I was 90 yrs old and after it, I felt like a kid again! Talk about remove some doubts. There are so many misconceptions out there, and a lot of them are inside my head. I shook out a ton of them that day alone.

    If you have music that you think the world needs to hear, especially if it’s going to help people morally, get out there and do it. Don’t worry about what you look like or that no one cares. You’re probably right, but they will care if you give them hope. In the beginning, people may tell you that your music is not that good. Make sure they tell you why and work through that to get to the next level. It’s OK. You have to start somewhere. Get over it. That’s a great thing that I’ve found about being old – you can accept criticism much better and use it to move forward. That’s helped me more than anything, and believing, maybe not necessarily in myself, but that God has a plan for me and I need to be bold enough to take action steps and believe in it.

  • Anton Schwartz

    Check out jazz vocalist Ed Reed – he came out with his debut CD at age 78… and this year, at age 85, he was voted the #1 Rising Star Male Jazz Vocalist in the world by the critics of DownBeat magazine (the industry standard). Yes, the foremost rising star in the jazz world is 85 years old! He’s at http://edreedsings.com

  • Rog Bates

    I’m 62 and been a dedicated musician, singer and songwriter since I was 5. I’m finally focused on putting it out there. I”m posting a new song a week at: http://rogbates.wordpress.com/
    It’s fun and it’s taking off! All the best to you guys… Keep it up!

  • Elizabeth Bagby

    Thanks so much for this. I think female musicians especially fall prey to the notion of having an expiration date as an artist–there are so many messages, subtle and not, that you have to be young and half-naked before anyone will even think of considering your musical chops. But it’s good to be reminded that there are many, many other ways to succeed.

  • DAYUM straight! Never say NEVER!!! Very nice article, helping REAFFIRM stuff that often gets vaporized by other things polluting us geezers’ heads!!! 🙂

  • Travis. T. Elliott Sr.

    Just what I needed to hear. God works in mysterious ways and he used you to deliver this message!!!!

  • Al Bettis

    This article is great. I was over 30 when I picked up the guitar and started writing songs. I am only 36 now but sometimes I feel like I am too old. Glad I read this! I actually just recorded my first song late last year: http://soundcloud.com/albettismusic/it-is-beautiful

  • Thanks 🙂

  • I will turn 57 on November 6th and after a long time in the Latin Percussion field, I recently started Recording and Mixing some of the groups I play with and I am having a great time learning new things. http://www.luisdiazmusic.com

  • I will turn 57 shortly and after a long time of playing Latin Percussion (Salsa, Latin Jazz, Afro-Caribbean ) Recently started Recording and Mixing some of the bands that I play with and I am enjoying the exploration of music production. http://www.luisdiazmusic.com

  • Stefan Wolf

    I am 51 and have just been nominated for Best International a Video at the Australian Independent Music Video Awards 2014. A bit of a shock, albeit a pleasant one 🙂 I have been operating musically under the radar for 30 years now so it’s nice to make a blip and realise some people are taking notice and enjoying my stuff. http://youtu.be/vWB75ftl-0k

    • Namaste Om

      really nice!

  • Thank you! I’m on it. Nice and encouraging article. ~ Tosinger

  • Roger Stankovic

    Great article Chris…gives me a bit more confidence now!!

  • Age 65 in 2014, I co-wrote ‘Boogie On The Bayou’ and, to date, the song has received radio airplay in 20 countries + online streaming worldwide … which is more success than when I was 25!

  • malikahihi

    I’m 62 now. Can’t believe it! Still wondering what I want to do when I grow up! One constant in my life has been playing my guitar and singing while doing all the other grown up things like getting a nursing degree and working my butt off for 30 plus yes and having and raising kids and going through several divorces! I got wrongfully terminatedfrom my nursing job 3 yrs ago and that ended that career and now teach guitar and still play regularly at. Church. I have written songs and recorded over the years and have done gigs. Only now my. Voice seems to be going on the blink!
    I still have fingers that work so as long as I do , I will keep on making music and hopefully pass it on to another generation . So let me encourage those who are my age and over. Keep on keeping on!

  • MayanFox

    The members of our band Mayan Fox range in age from 17 to 39 (me) with 5 out of the 7 of us over 30. While we have had sustainable success (enough to keep going) over the years and supported some really big bands, I feel that we’re only getting better and subsequently our best years are ahead of us.

  • Suza Grace Leon

    Love of music, inspiration and the desire to follow your dream doesn’t stop when you reach a certain age and no-one I have ever known or want to know bases their musical taste on the sex, age or color of the person who wrote and/or performs the music so I have never understood or bought into the limitations that some mental midget has created
    within the boundaries of his or her micro vision!

  • These are really nice songs Mac!

  • Geo. McCalip

    I bought a ukulele in August of 2010, 3 months after my 58th birthday. Within 3 months I had started writing songs. In January 2011 i started performing at open mics. On my 60th birthday I did my first full set as the special guest at an open mic. I have developed an interesting niche doing protest songs on ukulele. Making money? Not really. Having fun? Absolutely.

  • J. Plunky Branch
  • Michael Gambatesa

    This article is spot on. I’m 57 a singer song writer producing my own material. It is so satisfying when fans take the time to write and tell you that they enjoy your sound. I have accumulated over 2400 fans in just under a year and over 145000 plays of my music. So it pays to get your music out there, and maybe…just maybe you may get your break.
    Mike Gambo/ bluetonium.

  • Hewitt Station

    Hewitt Station here, solo artist. Making music all my life. Age 62. Still going strong with the duo Maintenance Free.

  • Robert Wuagneux

    I could not agree with you more. It is actually easier to become known now. INDIE Radio has NO RESTRAINTS. They have NO FORMAT. The only requirement is GOOD SONGS and a good quality recording. I am enjoying the freedom of creating MY SOUND. I have a respectable web presence and extensive international radio play. FAME and INCOME are attainable AND on one’s own terms!!!

  • At 73 I started all over again, after 40+ years in the business (23 in Las Vegas!). It’s not been easy, but first I needed to grow within. The Beatles went to India, I moved to the woods of Michigan. To be backed by a 12 piece orchestra and receive a standing ovation was pure magic. Now, at close to 75, I want to take my show to Florida, where my audience is. Any lead will be greatly appreciated. Go with God and stay blessed, my friends. It’s never too late. BTW, music still pays!

  • Elli Fordyce

    I was 70 and 71 when my first two (and — with my production standards — probably ONLY) vocal jazz CDs came out. My 2nd CD was honored by the Academy when they accepted it for consideration in 13 categories and gave it Pre-Nominations in 8 of those categories in 2010, so I guess it wasn’t chopped liver. None of that helped with actually booking jazz gigs in mid-financial-meltdown times, but I’ll always have the CDs and, now into semi-retirement, look back on all the hard work it took to make the CDs as good as my producer/engineer and I could. I was and am grateful to have CDBaby for digital and hard-copy distribution.

    Elli Fordyce

  • My mantras for 2013 were “It’s not too late” and “It’s up to you.” So at 51, I released my 6th CD, Midnight at Monteton, and wrote this, my pièce de résistance:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OE0q4wG5y8

  • NancyNooneBroussard

    One is never too old to pursue what one loves. Period. Too many of our parents wanted us to pursue a career in which we could make money – we got sidetracked. Now as we try to slow down professionally, we can finally pursue this music we love.

  • Hey, I released my first album last year, as pianist/vocalist at age 69…”Too Damn Bad”…available on CDBaby of course. It’s a mix of standards and originals….and I’m so happy to be doing this and gigging….music has no age limit….and though I’m a late bloomer I know I’m alive, for sure….planning album no. 2…..what a good time!

  • Mark Scott

    Nice sentiment, thanks. While I have been performing on and off since my twenties I have been writing since my teens. So I have songs written by a person of all ages! Now that I’m nearly “retired” (ha) I go out and play them – which I love – and people have been responding in a very positive way. That is a good litmus test.

    As you mentioned, no illusions or desire for stardom but having written some world-class rock anthems and ballads (he said humbly) it would be mighty fine if some of them could go forth unto the world at large and make people happy, like music’s supposed to do.

  • cgluck@mts.net

    It can be tough for a young musician to make a living.. Playing every night in the bar for just a few dollars profit. Bumping into real life (like your day job)! It is why most of the musicians I know gave it up.
    For me, move up 30 years. Some big changes. I now have all the money I need to buy the equipment I always wanted. I no longer want to be in a top 40 band so I’m only restricted by the music I want to play (or write even)
    The members of my band range from 49-62. Ironically, I feel more free with my band at this age than I ever had (With any band) And with 200 years collective experience playing our instruments, I think we can finally get some songs right. In 2 weeks, we are doing a show in our home town for the first time in 4 years. And it looks like we are about to pack the room. Are we stars?? Hell no!, And I do not care. Are we having fun?? Oh hell yeah. At our age we do this for us (and our fans) . And not because some booking agent told us to do it..

  • I’m 57 and having a ball playing and recording with my band AraPacis – http://www.arapacis.com or http://www.facebook.com/arapacis – we have Guy LeBlanc of Camel and Don Airey of Deep Purple coming to play a song with us each on our next (4th) album coming out in December – keep checking!

  • I’m 57 and having a ball playing and recording with my band AraPacis – http://www.arapacis.com or http://www.facebook.com/arapacis – we have Guy LeBlanc of Camel and Don Airey of Deep Purple coming to play a song with us each on our next (4th) album coming out in December – keep checking!

  • Léanie Kaleido Dunkley

    I’m 44 and have just released my second album, Quicksands & Shadows, which has had some really great reviews. I’ll carry on writing & recording until the songs stop coming – and until I can’t do the splits any more 🙂

  • I’m going to be 65 in 3 weeks. For the past 2 years I’ve been working in a successful acoustic duo. Eight months ago I began a Monday night open jam which has turned out to be one of the most successful ones in Connecticut. Also, I was hired 5 months ago as the guitar player for a 24 year old rising country artist Katie Perkins. So right now, as I’m semi-retired, I am doing what I want and making a living at it. Life is good.

  • Roger Gomez

    Thanks for this article, I’m 48 and just released my first full length album BEHIND CLOUD NINE on iTunes and Amazon, Age should never be an issue, the issue should always be can you write a good song, do you love what you do, are you passionate about your art, If so keep keeping on you’ll find your audience. Such articles are a real source of inspiration and encouragement.

  • We have a great story to share. Back in the late 60’s I played with a 5 piece band in the Atlanta area by the name of The Good Omens. We had some pretty good success but had to break up due to the military and marriages. Anyway about 3 years ago the bass player passed away and thanks to Facebook we were able to re-connect. Anyway we decided it would be fun to have a reunion of many of the guys that played in bands during the 60’s and 70’s that we knew. So we rehearsed and did a all day concert in a park with about 30 musicians and had a blast. I had not played drums in over 40 years and did not know if I could still play. I got someone to loan me a set of drums and worked hard at playing again. Well that one day concert led to 4 of us deciding to get back together again and start a new band called Stage Fright, so I went out and purchased a set of drums. I am 65, two are 64 and the other is 63. We rehearse at least once a week and are playing gigs a few times a month, playing music from the 60’s and 70’s. Well now we are getting ready to record a CD with 12 original songs all written by the four of us. Hope to have it released right after the first of the year. Having the best time of our lives and look forward to everytime we can get together to rehearse or play a gig. Anyway check us out and like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheStageFrightBand?ref=hl

    Here is a short video of a concert we did just a couple of weeks ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snjXwT3r4Fw

    Also we have a website at http://www.thestagefrightband.com

    So yes, you are never ever to old. I am living proof of that after spending 35 plus years owning a business, now retired and the band is my new full time job and loving every minute. Thanks for reading my story and hope you check us out.

    Steve

  • Allysen Callery

    I put out my first record at age 40- I’m now 47, with 6 records out on two different labels (one is vinyl only in Germany) I tour in Europe , played SXSW last March & got written up in Paste as on of RI’s Top bands in their 50 States project. I am just getting started!

  • I am proof you are never to old. Played with a band back in the 60’s with a band in the Atlanta area by the name of The Good Omens. We were a 5 piece band that had some good local success for a few years but had to break up due to the military and marriages. I have not played drums in over 40 years and never thought I would ever play again after owning a great business for 35 years and now retired. We had all lost contact with each other and due to Facebook was able to re-connect. The bass player passed away about 3 years ago and it got a few of us started thinking we should get all the people we knew that played in bands back then and do a all day concert and just jam with about 30 musicians. So I got someone to loan me a set of drums and begin practicing everyday to get ready. We had so much fun the four of the remaining members decided to get together and form another band by the name of Stage Fright. That was 2 years ago so I went out and purchased a nice set of drums and we started on our new adverture. We now have our own portable stage, complete light show with large screen video graphics, complete large sound system, our on logoed trailer and tons of equipment I am the oldest at 65, two are 64 and one is 63. We play all music from the 60’s and 70’s and having the time of our lives and in our second childhood for sure. We rehearse at least once a week and play a few gigs every month. Now we are getting ready to record a 12 song original CD, written by all the members of the group and hope to have it released by the first of the year. So yes, I am living proof it is never to late to do what you so love. If you would like to know more about Stage Fright visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheStageFrightBand?ref=hl

    Also here is a short video of a concert we did a couple of weeks ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snjXwT3r4Fw

    We have a website at http://www.thestagefrightband.com

  • STeeLo tha best rapper

    This doesn’t apply to rap artists, if you read between the lines in the article its just singers and rockers, you can always make it in 30+ if your a singer.singing is a universal sound.you never see are hear rappers in there late 30s and 40s just now getting a start in music.so this article is still useless. Also the artists named in this article are already famous. Their just now making that hit song.tell this to those who have no fanbase, no videos not even an single, this is an article just to make us 30 year old music artists feel like someone is listening, young hip hop is the new thing now. So just accepted it..

  • Born when Elvis had his 1st appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show (check it out :)) I’ve done some band things and home recording over the years. Last year however I decided to go for the new music hybrid: the all-in-one one-man-band (OMB). The studio project Gashunters (http://www.gashunters.com) was started in Spring 2013 and released 3 albums and some singles since. Not playing live the road ahead is even more difficult and may be longer, but as a 100% DIY independent artist I’ve set my goals and following the quite path. More and more media are picking up my (not always so accessible) music, defined by the slogan “prog pop from the lowlands”. All original and not fit for pigeon-holing I just do what I wanna do. That’s it.

  • I’ll be 65 in 3 weeks and I’m more active as a musician now than ever. I’ve been working with an acoustic duo for the past 2 years. Eight months ago I began a Monday night open jam and it has become one of the best jam nights in Connecticut. Also, 6 months ago I was hired to play guitar for a young rising country artist Katie Perkins. We have already played major fairs in New England and in 2 weeks will be at the XL Center in Hartford playing before and during intermission at a Hartford Wolfpack hockey game. So right now, in the October of my life, all is good.

  • It’s good to remember that in this business, you don’t retire. You may choose to hang it up or physically loose the ability to make music, but it’s always in you and you get to live beyond your live performance days through CDs. Also good to know that your fan base is getting old just as fast as you are and will love your music now as much as they did back then. You just have to find them! I’m 67 and still performing 150 gigs a year ( and could do more, but getting Social Security allows me to be a bit more choosy nowadays) Granted, I do more Active Senior groups than festival main-stage, but that’s where my music is loved.

    My best advice is to incorporate and pay yourself a wage ( not grab the cash under the table) so when you get to my age, you at least have the safety net “regular people” have. It’s a tough disipline, but it pays off in the long run and that’s what we all hope to have- a long run!

  • Lincoln

    64 and back for more … will give out before I give up !

    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lincolnross
    https://soundcloud.com/lincolnross/tracks ( that’s me on the left with two of my hero’s )

  • Fremont John Ashton

    Great article! Thank you for writing it. I was 47 in ’99 when I sold out to my business partner, sold my house and about everything else and moved to Key West to “make my living singing and playing guitar”. It went very well and I stayed for 6 years. There’s a lot of work and an exceptional living to be made in KW but the island is crowded and small and I felt that I could create original music which is not the market there. I have made 5 CDs including 1 that I recorded in NYC with help from a NYC producer I met in KW and several A-list session players after a direct crowd-funding program that I did on my own.

    I now enjoy a career that allows me to gig on the west coast of Florida in the winter months and on the west coast of Michigan during summer. I’m not rich nor am I even what most would call secure. I’ve lived years without health-care coverage and I’ve had many months when paying the rent was a challenge. But, I’m better off now than in several years. I own a house and 3, albeit older, vehicles. And, I have finally gotten up the nerve to actually play mostly original music and I’m finding my shows are better received than ever. That nerve came from ranking very high on ReverbNation’s national and global Indie charts with almost all original music. Now, I’m interested in finding ways of networking to help get my songs “out there” where it can make money for me when I’m not playing. I sell a few hundred CDs a year, not much but, it’s still a few hundred a year. It’s just not enough to cover me when live gigs are down. So, networking to make the contacts that can help me is my next big goal. Am I succesful? It’s all relative but, I’d like to think so. Fremont John

  • Dann Russo

    what is it they say? you can’t win if you quit. (or something like that)

    I’m doing things I wish I did when I was in my 20s but as 40 approaches I see it in a different light. and oh MY how my songs have gotten better 🙂

  • Grey Eagle

    We (The Real Fugitives) were playing a open mic at a bar where the bartender & waitress were goth-dressed/made-up youths in their 20’s. They came out onto the dance floor when we played “8 Days A Week” & JITTERBUGGED (aka Bop)! Those things aren’t lost yet!

  • Sheryl Diane

    Making it to me has been about persistence. At 53 I work more steadily as a musician and music teacher then ever before and I keep learning that’s key!

  • gjalt

    I joined my first real band at age 48 doing music I didn’t love. Then I started my own band at 51 playing my originals. Our first record got plays on dozens of podcasts all over the world and one cut made it into a small independent film. We just finished our second record, which so far hasn’t had as much success (perhaps I shouldn’t have capriciously changed our band name – plus myspace was a viable outlet for the first record as well), but I remain optimistic, I have at least another record’s worth of new music to go and I’m ready to get the band started on the new songs…

  • Judith Waite Allee

    Have you considered pitching your songs to independent artists? Or places like Taxi.com (no affiliation with me) that hook up songwriters with the film industry. Sometimes that’s a great market for older genres–they may want something original, but they want it to sound like a certain time period.

    • Lateef Murdock

      Is TAXI reliable? Are they for real?

      • Steve Low

        I’ve been submitting to Taxi for 2 years about every 2 weeks. No success yet but lots of feedback. They say expect to take 5 years before everything clicks – making a demo that sounds like the recommended artists is tough. I got a couple of songs contracted to a A&R guy through Broadjam.com (same kind of concept as Taxi). The best thing about Taxi is it inspires you to write, to get better and to record better. can’t be a bad thing.

  • Hello everybody. Thanks for this article 🙂 I decided to record a CD with my own songs (music and lyrics) even I lingered a long,… too long…. Music always was my passion but have to wait till I grow up and open up. Cross your fingers for my new album :))
    I enclose my earlier song below…. “Another cup of coffee” ( Youtube)
    Bye, Ava

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tuyOcr_FIo

  • Its never too late to learn how to be a good musician and a succesful person!

  • thelucyhammondband

    Absolutely! I started over at 49,released my first album(#1RMR) @ 52. Producing 2 studio albums this year,& working on a 3rd,@ 56,momentum seems to finally be goin’ my way! The only person who can stop you,is YOU! ;o)

  • Thx I needed that.really hard to get on the Radio locally but not impossible! I just gotta keep believing in myself! Aloha from Hawaii -HECJAH.✌

  • Richard Lonczynski

    I’m now 59 years old. I got downsized out of my job at 51 and decided it was now or never. Thanks to my wonderful (and gainfully employed) wife of 34 years I now have independently released two full length CDs of original material with my band Hatchetmen and have a third in the works for spring 2015. No, we’ll never make a ripple in the national media, but I can’t explain how much fuller my life is. Our records have broken even financially and we’ve shared stages with super people that I never dreamt I would ever meet let alone have a beer with. Walter Trout, Eric Sardinas, Matt Schofield… its a dream come true. Do hat you love, love what you do and everything’s gonna work out better than you ever imagined.

  • I only started to get serious about music when I was 48 and moved into a house in the country. It’s never too late to start something and it’s important to accept your own internal timing without judging yourself or comparing with other people. Place can be as important as time. Got a new single out on the 1st December – French lyrics for a change – ‘Je me débrouille,’ which roughly means, ‘I muddle through.’ And I do.

  • Peter Drake

    Hi guys
    What a brilliant upbeat article!
    I am 51 years young in 18 days time.
    Let me add my own experience to your comments list…
    I play sax in a five piece band here in the North East of the UK. I write the music – a mix of bluesy, jazzy folky stuff – check us out on Soundcloud/spotify. we just landed a rec deal with a small independent label. We start work in the New Year! It CAN be done. You just need to keep on going! Good luck all you advanced musicians. Contact me on peterdrake1000@gmail.com if you would like any more on this.

  • Peter Drake

    Further to my last post by band is called Five Men No Dog
    Thanks
    Peter

  • Thanks a lot for the article!! I’ve been playing music and singing since I was little but I always struggled to find something personal to say through my lyrics. Everything changed after my son was born. Might sound cheesy but I have finally found a true inspiration from my family. I’m 33 years old and only now I let anyone to hear my lyrics. I’m enjoying every moment making music with my friend who is getting closer to 50’s.

    I hope it’s ok to post a link to our song “Papas Say No”. It is our first release and dedicated to my son and every father in the world.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rad9NjdmXEg

    We are NEVER too old if we just keep our minds young….

    • travelergtoo

      Great song. It would make a great children’s song.

  • Thanks a lot for the great article!!! I’ve been playing music and singing since I was little but I have always struggled to find something personal to say through my lyrics.
    Everything changed after my son was born. Might sound cheesy but I have finally found a true inspiration from my family. I’m now 33 years old and only now I feel comfortable to let anyone to hear my lyrics. I’m enjoying every moment making music with my friend who is getting closer to 50’s.

    I hope it’s ok to post a link to our song “Papas Say No”. It’s our first release and
    dedicated to my son and every father in the world.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rad9NjdmXEg

    We are NEVER too old if we just keep our minds young….:)

  • Domonick Willis

    Chris, nice article! But what about someone nearing age 30 who’s wanting to make it as a rap and hip hop artist? These days it seems most of the new rappers are very young. Any advice for someone wanting to break through at this age?

  • craig1957

    i hope this is true! I’m 56. I’m writing more music with the best instruments I ever had! http://www.roundtownsound.com

  • Still writing originals, we went out to play clubs and taverns locally, while we were all 50+ except the bass player was the son of the guitarist. http://www.jeffwatz.com/the-needles

  • Wow. I guess we should file that under the “whoops, and what crap” category. Time machine, please!

    @ChrisRobley

  • Spam on Toast

    Anyone can make music at any age. The challenge comes in when someone who is older makes music and has expectations that a different generation will embrace it. Chances are slim.

  • Rikki Dee Hall

    Here’s a song I wrote called, Never Too Old (To Rock & Roll)

    http://www.reverbnation.com/thevoodoohawks/song/20635004-never-too-old-to-rock-and-roll

  • Matthew

    I started to dj age 15, and it all went quite well, had club residencies and was playing very often. But then I need a break and didn’t play or hardly practice for several years, I started thinking a come back was out of the question as i ventured into my 30s. However I have made a come back and feel I am playing better than ever, practicing and really loving it again, getting bookings and having my people talk about my sets again it feels great 🙂 this article helped to give me more belief that it’s possible. Thank you.

  • Spyder Webb

    I’m 66, and I’ve just been nominated for a second NAMMY (Native American Music Awards) together with my wife Tekakwitha. She didn’t start writing music until she was a grandmother. She writes all the songs, I sing with her and I’m the instrumentalist and recording engineer. Too old? Baloney! If you’ve got the music in you, you’re doing a disservice to your gift if you don’t let it out.
    clearwaterdrum.com

    • travelergtoo

      Great music spyder. You must catch a lot of people in your web.

  • Inspirational article, and music to my ears. Never made a decent enough dollar from music to throw in the day gig, but making music is like breathing, I couldn’t dream of stopping. Here’s a video off our recent CD.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PuQLmID1ec&list=UUDS-An97yDd1-vWSjSMiXSQ

  • That’s true. It can be a challenge, but it’s definitely possible to reach your own generation online, especially since you’re probably writing about things that matter to your peer group.

    @ChrisRobley

  • I make my own music and it’s not driven by the need to “Make it” or to become “Famous” but rather to just make music because that’s what I love to do. If my music makes people happy or at least stirs up some emotions or even make some money well that’s a great bonus. https://www.facebook.com/Emanaters

  • As one of my rapper friends says: “Being over 30 as a rapper means less now than it ever has. Some of the biggest hip-hop artists out there are in their mid- to late-thirties (Jay-Z, Kanye West, Macklemore was still considered an “underground rapper” until he hit 30 last year, etc). It’s less about how old you are, and more about how old you seem. If you’re not relatable to a younger crowd, then you’re doomed no matter what age you are if your goal is to “make it”. Focus on making quality music that you can be proud of and that people would want to listen to. Don’t try to sound young, because you’ll do just that – come off as trying to sound young. Just be you, put in the time necessary to excel at your craft, be diligent and savvy about building your audience, and age won’t be an obstacle for a long time. 30 is the new 20.”

    @ChrisRobley

  • amanda

    MUSIC IS FOR THE EARS NOT THE EYES.
    Timeless music can only come from timeless creators.
    When we create art we are gifting beauty from our soul. And the soul is the oldest thing on earth.
    I’m 34 and had some great offers..but took my time to allow myself to mature and be ready.
    I’ve just finished filming my first music video in India at the Ganges where they burn the bodies…it is a song celebrating the beauty of age and the infinite blank canvas within each of us every morning we wake.
    The outer world of fast food drive through consumerism is for the weak of spirit and the fickle of heart. Listen to the Truth within you..it has no expiry date.

    https://soundcloud.com/amanda-bloom

  • Rob Lincoln

    Well I just released a 300 song debut CD called 5 Cents A Song, and I’m 55. It sells for $15.00 on CDbaby…that’s five cents a song if you do the math

  • I have a simple rule. The Rolling Stones are on tour, great! so do I! Mick is 71. So I will play on stage at least until I am 71!

  • Jim West

    I’m 53 and about to put out a 5th GEMnEYE album with my best friend Nate. This really helps to hear that it’s still possible to make it, although we just love to record and sing.

  • Don’t quit there. 91!

    @ChrisRobley

  • Alex

    As a 33 year old MC and Producer, who still hasn’t yet been able to develop even a small sustainable income or following in music, I have considered taking a break in the near future. I have been balancing doing 100s of Open Mics a year since 2011, with Full Time work, and it gets demoralising the lack of opportunities out there. Saying that, I have made a few albums. All of them show artistic growth. I am only getting better with age. The early stuff is terrible, but the newer stuff is connecting more which boosts morale. I get concerned about my age, as I’m getting older. One of my companions on the scene is 45 though. He is great. I am hoping he gets his break as well. Saying that, I love performing and storytelling, and the buzz of a great set is awesome. I also love making all aspects and guiding my own complete projects, but with how much I invest on them (to make me stand out from the crowd/fulfil my vision) the return just isn’t there. I’m still planning to scale back soon as I feel the slight window of minor opportunity is fading, and I’m worn out. I will always perform and make music. Music keeps me going. Even when I know nothing will come from it. If I connect with just one person, and one song helps them, then I have done what I have hoped for.

    Peace

  • Jill Kanter

    I took up bass at age 55… And just released my first cd, “Temptation”, on cdbaby and itunes and Amazon, at age 61. (I almost called it “Never Too Late”)

  • Peter Wheeler

    Right On!!! Awesome article. At 63 – six years ago I started playing the guitar and at age 69 last year I released my 1st CD. Follow your heart – follow your dreams and follow your passion. It’s never too late. http://www.peterwheeler.ca

  • Hey Peter,

    Nice. Thanks for sharing, and reading! Keep rockin’.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Nice! Happy new year.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Gordon Harvey

    After many years of dabbling, I finally got serious about music in my mid-50’s. Although I somewhat regret the missed opportunities over the years, being sufficiently financially independent (and having a wife willing to indulge me) means I can make the music I want without having to worry too much about sales or trying to write for a particular market. And happily, the modern world makes it possible without my having to chase record companies. However, I think I’m fortunate that my interests match my natural demographic and music like mine isn’t associated with a particular age group. I don’t think I would feel so comfortable trying to do rock or hiphop or folk-pop or any style already executed well by people half my age. That said, I think a lot of the cultural lines dividing different kinds of music are slowly dissolving, and more people of all ages have more eclectic interests, and are more open-minded than ever before.

    I would recommend for anyone to follow their musical heart.

  • Dean Edwards

    The fire in my belly just got reignited..so this article is the kick arse wake up call for anyone who believes that the creativity inspired by heartache,frustration,indignation about the way things are or should be is the exclusive right of youth…live it,love it,create it…& keep believing!! Excellent article.thanks.

  • Absolutely. One great thing about the Internet is that we have access to so many niches, and the lines between genres definitely blur more quickly. Plus, it’s cool to like music being created by teenagers and by 70 year olds. Anything goes. Way to be a part of that.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Myra Esoteric

    I am considering on joining a DIY metalcore band after revisiting my collection of hard-edged rock records. But I’m in my 30s and kind of a newbie at playing.

    People here have been in ‘the scene’ for a long time and obviously I don’t fit into a ‘scene’. Will it be awkward to be in a punk or metal band as an adult professional and a newbie, who is pretty much an old married lady?

    I keep hearing about class issues and race / gender issues and don’t want to hear any of that crap. Not looking for fame, just to have some fun.

  • Hell no. I say play the music you want to make with the people you want to play with, especially if you’re in it for fun (and not thinking of building a giant career). Just don’t suffer any @$$h0le$.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Hell no. I say play the music you want to make with the people you want to play with, especially if you’re in it for fun (and not thinking of building a giant career). Just don’t suffer any @$$h0le$.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Angel Acosta

    I share Balladeer’s sentiment, for I have been procrastinating to send in an audition DVD to The Voice ever since the show started only because of the hurtful thought that at age 54 I’m just too old, even though I’ve been blessed to be a bilingual singer since age 12, and at that age the musical influence (R&B) was provided by the living legend Mr. Stevie Wonder whose songs I used to listen to without knowing how to speak english yet & thru the process of singing along I was able to learn the language plus develop a very strong vocal range. I still love singing those songs but in 1998 my girfriend and I got married and gave our lives to Christ and I became a Christian artist. Well, thanks to this site and all the reassuring possitive comments I now feel a new surge of confidence and belief that I know will carry me thru on this musical journey till the Lord calls me home. I also like to mention that thru my younger brother Chello Hollyday an incredible singer/song writer as well, the good Lord made it possible to meet & know on a personal level the world famous Little Anthony & The Imperials group a few years back with whom I became a close friend & who are singing background on my first real project as a christian artist titled “Lord, You Know Me” Psalm 139 NIV. But I must make mention that this project wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my dearest friend Calerence Collins the Founder/Background Vocal Singer, Song Writer & Producer of the group since early 50’s, & just an incredible friend & human being. To conclude, although I know it wasn’t mere chance, I am exceedingly grateful to have found this site. Thanks for the contribution of invaluable informationto. God Bless You!

  • I am going on 26 and have yet to record anything but I am soooo ready to make myself be known and give up the fear that 26+ is too old to become an artist. This is the perfect time where social media is at our fingertips and promoting ourselves isn’t that hard! I’m amped to get my career off the ground and make it into something worth while! Thank you for this post. God bless.

  • You’ve got decades and decades left to go! Happy music-making.

    @ChrisRobley on Twitter

  • Anthony Retka

    This is a wonderful and insightful article. I am 34 and working hard to make a career of my songwriting. I have self published my songs, self released my albums, and do all my booking and promotion. I still have to keep a day job, but I have goals set to make music my main income in the coming years. It’s an exciting thing to chase your dreams and age shouldn’t always be the main factor. I have accomplished a good deal of success in my region. I’ve had my music used on TV and I’ve sold a lot of CDs. My sights are set and I’m inspired by it all. This article has emboldened me. Thank you.

  • Nice. Keep me posted on how it’s going!

    @ChrisRobley

  • Mike DeJong

    Never too old to rock. For example, I’m past 40 as well and just put out my band’s first single. I wrote and produced it too! Check it out!
    https://soundcloud.com/stolen-9/with-the-rain

  • Nice. Thanks for sharing!

    @ChrisRobley

    • Mike DeJong

      Thanks Chris!

    • Mike DeJong

      And any suggestions for getting it heard would be most welcome!

  • mmagickseeker@aol.com

    Great to hear a lot of these comments. I’m fired up as well!!!! What do you think guys? http://Www.reverbnation.com/marindascastle
    I’ve been told I’m too old but know my voice is distinctive.

  • Alison Reynolds

    Well. . .as an “older” returning musician, I have to try and believe this. I restarted in my mid to late 50’s (after raising my kids.) I am 60 now and have been struggling with the idea of finally giving up. . .this article has given me hope. I think the hardest thing for me has been trying to keep up with technology and the fact that I am trying to get gigs that all the other musicians (mostly young men) who are a whole lot younger are trying for. Gets to being a bit psychological sometimes! Something keeps me going though. . .haven’t quit yet!

  • Right on! I think it’s about finding the right venues, not just the hip ones that “the kids” are playing these days. Especially if your music resonates with an older audience. They’re generally more attentive, respectful, and more likely to purchase CDs anyway!

    @ChrisRobley

  • Heiko Behrens

    Being 31 years old might not be considered “old” but sometimes I feel just like that. I’m afraid that I lost too many years with doubtful thoughts holding me back and doing what I really love. Many artists I know built their fanbase over many years but I only started a couple of months ago with yet another Singer/Songwriter project, trying to avoid mistakes from the past. I meet a lot of young musicians while playing with my band in Germany. Those guys are 19-25 years old and already seem to be million miles ahead of me. It’s good to read an article like this! Find some courage again 🙂 Thank you for that!

    http://www.heartofabear.de
    http://www.facebook.com/theheartofabear

    • I think I felt that same way at 31, but now I look back and think, wow, I was young then. ; ) Shifting perspectives! Anyway, I think at any stage/age you’ll see people ahead of you and people behind you (in terms of achievement or status), so best to just focus on making the music you love and doing whatever you can to have it reach people. Constantly comparing yourself with others is terrible for your soul. Glad you liked the article, and thanks for commenting!

      @ChrisRobley

  • Derek Blair (dbvidcollector)

    This is relieving to know! One question: what about those who have started the actual learning process itself late, like around the age of 20? A lot the stories I’ve heard of people making it late they mention they were exposed to music at a very young age.

    • Myra Esoteric

      I started playing guitar around the age of 29 and singing death metal and rapping in my early 30s and am now able to do it at a decent, rather than neophyte level. Granted, I’m not a full time musician but you can start at any time.

  • 20? That’s young! You got lots of time.

    @ChrisRobley

  • destiny

    Good info. And right on!

  • Nice. That’s great to hear. Glad the article was helpful. It’s definitely one our most commented on, for sure! Break a leg with the bass playing.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Sonya Marlene Tanner

    You are never too old to pursue your dream. But let’s face it. Many of us have felt that way. Nothing can be more discouraging than seeing someone younger already getting their foot in the door, and yet you are still struggling to do so at your age. And yet many often give up because they feel it’s too late. And staring young int he industry does have it’s advantages for sure. But I have also found that it is better to accomplish your dreams late in life, than to no accomplish them at all because it will still be worth something. We have so been conditioned to believe that if we don’t get into it when we were younger, that we cannot be successful now, when nothing can be further from the truth. I’m 33 and I have already composed an entire album worth of songs and I am ready to break into it. This is a dream I have been working on since my teens. Am I going to give up? No way! And yes, this is a dream I have been talking about for years. Yet many just either scoff at me, or laugh and tell me that I’m delusional. And they will, until they see it happen. But you’ve got to believe in your dreams, even if others don’t. It’s not about cracking into a click and appealing to younger audiences anyway. It’s about being true to who you are. And the more true you are to yourself and your life now, the more you will be able to connect with the right audience and those who most relate to you. Check out my latest vid: “Am I too old to be an artist? Cloud of Doubt 101”. I hope it inspires you. Best of luck to everyone and don’t ever let anyone put an age limit on your dream or what you are passionate about. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT88YPzYHDg

  • Tim Kling

    I’m just starting out at 60 after just playing on the couch alone for 40 years. Finally, I had to just get over decades of regret for not being in a band anymore. Reverb nation is good place to get started. I’m glad I found this post, I don’t feel so crazy for putting my new songs there. Thanks, Tim Kling