Is there a middle ground between selling out and staying true to yourself?
I'm talking about the music and film industries specifically. Is it even possible to keep your integrity AND make mad money when you're working in show business? Did Dave Chappelle have it right when he left the spotlight?
What a great question. As a musician for the last 22 years, it's a question that comes up a lot. I think it's hard to "stay true to yourself" and make money for one reason: if you want to make money at it, you have to please people, not yourself. If you solely want to make art for yourself, you will most likely be the only fan. I think that once you establish yourself as an artist you can step out and take more risks you couldn't in the beginning but you have to build credibility first.
In which case, what is - or ever was - the real goal, the art or the money?
The original goal is usually the love, the art. But then it gets hard gigging, writing and working an unloved job all at the same time. A choice is made of whether I want to do this or not and adjustments and compromises made.
I'm thinking there's a vast middle ground. The only thing is: it's simply degrees of selling out, in any scenario. There are no degrees of staying true, to oneself or anything else. It's either/or; true/false. But the slide away from true has degrees and seldom comes in a lump sum, which gives it its power. One would hardly notice it at first; but it's unmistakeable as it graduates from level to level and reaches its nadir.
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