"I'm a big believer in stepping stones. It's very rare in life that all of a sudden at the snap of a finger or the drop of a hat you are on top of the world with everything you possibly could ever imagine for your career. It's a process, and I think it's really good for young artists, or just up and coming artists, to realize that. So, as long as you're going on the trajectory that you want to see for yourself, you should consider yourself a success at all times.”
—Ranaan Meyer of Time from Three (from TEM125)
LOVE this reminder from one of the best and most successful bass players in the world, Ranaan Meyer.
This quote has extra meaning for me because Ranaan has been one of my best friends in the world for close to 20 years and this quote is reminding me that when I met him, he was "just" a really good bass player who happened to be a ridiculously nice guy.
He wasn't one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the music business. (yet)
He wasn't a household name for bass players. (yet)
He wasn't living in a huge house with an awesome wife and two beautiful children. (yet)
The fact that nobody starts on top is always most easily brought into focus by thinking of the people we have known for a very long time who happen to be very successful. Not only do you know firsthand that the Ranaan's in your life didn't start out on top but you also know they weren't "overnight sensations" (whatever the hell that means.)
I remember getting a call from Ranaan telling me about Time for Three when they had just started out. He was full of joy about it. But he certainly didn't call to tell me he had formed a band a week ago and that they were already booked to headline shows in Australia the following month! There was a very slow build to their seemingly meteoric rise.
Hell, 95% of all success stories I know in the music business sound something like Ranaan's story. Supremely talented and motivated musician who works his or her ass off eventually finds the right fill in the blank (people to partner with, their niche, their dream job, whatever) and the rest is history.
Unless you are longtime friends with Ranaan or Sara Bareilles or Jacomo Bairos, you first hear about them when the rest of us do. When they've already "made it." But we always have to keep in mind that just because we weren't hip to their long journey before they made it onto our radar doesn't mean it wasn't a long journey filled with lots of stepping stones.
So focus on the next stepping stone and the next thing you know you might be lucky enough to work your ass off until someone labels you an "overnight sensation."