There are countless musical genres (CD Baby’s online store boasts almost 700 genres and that’s just scratching the surface); there are many ways to create great music; there are numerous paths to success; and every musician defines “success” differently.
Despite all the various styles, methods, and temperaments, though, there must be some personal quality that every successful artist has in common: The need to connect with an audience? Discipline? Golden ears? A reverence for the music that inspires them? Daring? The desire to make something that will last?
If you ask me, the common thread for musicians who’ve been able to sustain successful careers is that they’re blessed (or cursed, depending) with some mixture of persistence, stubbornness, and delusion. They have to believe, often in the face of much indifference or criticism, that the music they’re creating is important enough to one day move listeners.
What do you think? Is there a single quality that all good musicians must possess?