leave your inhibitions at the door
I was just giving some career advice to a much younger cousin who was entering a graduate program in the same field that I’m in. As with many recent college graduates he had the lofty goals of changing the world and making a lot of money to live the dream. I don’t doubt he’s going to be successful, but I pointed out to him how important it was to do something that he loves and success will come. By following his passion, not only will he attain his goals, he’ll have a more a funner, more fulfilling life doing it.
And in light of the two-hit wonders New Radicals, I may have been completely full of crap.
They were only around for two years in the late 1990s, but that was enough time to come out with two monster hits. I still hear “You Get What You Give” at least a 2-3 times a week on the radio –
While that was the bigger hit, I liked “Someday We’ll Know” better –
What’s interesting to a TV junkie like me was that the co-writer of that song was Danielle Brisebois, who was in the sidecar of the motorcycle when Archie Bunker jumped the shark.
Anyway, New Radicals wasn’t so much a band as it was a person. Gregg Alexander wrote, produced and sang their songs in addition to playing various instruments. The rest of the band was a collection of his and Brisebois’ friends who rotated in and out of the band. Alexander’s voice, pop sensibilities, and lyrics drew a lot of comparisons to Todd Rundgren – the 60s/70s icon who went on to a huge second career as a music producer.
Alexander didn’t like the whole process of performing and promoting so he broke up the band. Instead he wanted to – just like Rundgren – follow his passion and concentrate on writing and producing songs for other artists.
Admirable, yes. Successful? Nope.
The only thing post-New Radicals that reached any kind of critical or popular success was “The Game of Love,” a song of his performed by Santana and Michelle Branch. It eventually won a Grammy but, other than that, there’s nothing. He should’ve stayed with putting out his own music a little longer to gain more fame and credibility. No one wants to put their livelihood in the hands of a two-hit wonder.
There’s something to be said about working in a career that you’re good at, even though it may not necessarily be personally fulfilling. Hell, it works for me – I kick ass at my “paying” job, which gives me the time and energy to do this “non-paying” blog. Does my job entail soul-crushing work? Often times yes. Is it sexy, important, or noble work that people know and admire – like a fireman or professor? HELL NO. But it allows me to try new restaurants, drink expensive wine, and travel to cool places.
Maybe I should call my cousin…
Do you remember New Radicals? Or Danielle Brisebois? Are you following your passion or funding it?