What can we learn from David Bowie?
If you love inspirational stories then watch the BBC documentary “David Bowie, Finding Fame.”
I watched in amazement as the challenges, obstacles and failures were revealed on his journey to becoming a superstar.
As a child Bowie experienced a harsh home life. His mother and father were desperately unhappy, and as a result his mother never laughed, was cold and rarely displayed any affection. His father, on the other hand, adored David but their closeness made his mother jealous.
In 1962 at the age of fifteen David kept firm to his dream of doing something important with his life, so he started his first band “The Konrads” This was the start of an eleven year quest for stardom.
However the path was not going to be easy. By the time he was eighteen he was playing in his fourth band. The critics were scathing. After a BBC audition for a music program the panel of judges reported that the band and Bowie’s performance was B grade, noting they sang wrong notes and were out of tune, lacked polish were devoid of personality and possessed no entertainment value.
Bowie was sensitive. The criticism hurt but he always took responsibility for any situation he had put himself in. He had a wide range of interests, was a deep thinker, a talented storyteller who loved reading. He was always thinking about how to be different. But he had a short attention span, he got bored easily and moved from one thing to another. In the mid sixties he developed an interest in Buddhism and even contemplated becoming a monk.
In those early years Bowie played in bars and clubs, wrote and recorded his music and released eight singles that all failed to make an impression. While scrubbing kitchens to make ends meet David continued, trying to develop his own performing style by observing other actors and singers. At one stage he took mime classes and spent time performing on London’s West End.
Eventually in 1969 he had a breakthrough with his hit Space Oddity that went to number 5 on the UK charts. He was now on his way. He had a taste of success and started to think act and feel like a star.
There was still one last hurdle. The music industry was littered with one hit wonders, so without another chart topping song he would be another statistic. It took another 4 years before he hit the big time in 1973 with the Ziggy Stardust tour. The rest is history.
So what did it take? 11 years, 9 bands, 8 failed singles, several failed albums, persistence and a dream to do something important.
Worth Thinking about next time you have a challenge.
There are 3 ways that I can help you.