I’m probably the most impatient person in the world lol. I saw your questions and absolutely loved what I saw, so I wanted to answer sooner than later! This question was from Tim Scott:
A lot of us dream of fame. What has been the most difficult thing you have to deal with? Also, what do you do to keep yourself so grounded and down to earth?
Such a good question, Tim. It’s something I think about from time to time since it’s a part of what I do for a living.
Let me start off by saying that when I finally decided to veer off the path of medicine and become a musician, fame was never really in the picture. All I knew was that life was pushing me in the direction to do music, and I absolutely needed to follow that call. Since that fateful spring break moment in April 2009 when I made that decision, this entrepreneurship has helped me build my personal character, given me a chance to hone my craft, and ultimately allowed me to share my music with people who will listen. This love and passion for what I do is what keeps me going; it’s what gives me strength to chase after this crazy dream and what makes me very, very happy.
I think that’s why the idea of being famous, to be completely honest, will always be a bit weird to me. On one hand, it’s an honor to be recognized for the talent, the risk-taking, the unique vision, and the hard work you put in to become successful. Oh how absolutely beautiful that is! On the other hand, that recognition can turn into constant adulation for who you are, sometimes to the point where people make you out to be a person who can’t do any wrong in your life. And unfortunately, there are some famous people that believe the hype. There’s also another angle to fame not based on talent but external factors such as how “well”you dressed for the big award shows, how “hot”your Snapchat picture was or how “funny”you were in 140 characters or less.
Pentatonix has risen to fame very quickly and I can’t tell you enough how fortunate we’ve been to have garnered such a massive and loyal fanbase. That’s always going to be amazing to me. But these parts of fame I didn’t really know how to handle in the beginning. Now, I think I’ve gained more experience to handle it more gracefully. I’ll leave you with four things that have helped me deal with fame and kept myself grounded:
1) I realize that there are so many people blessed with gifts and talents (some people with more gifts than I could possibly imagine). The difference is that I was lucky to have figured out how to combine my talents in a way that people would find it interesting enough to follow, and that I found the right people (members of PTX and our crew) to grow with. In another day, another time, it could have been someone else, not me. When I keep that in mind, I really have nothing to boast about.
2) I’ve finally come to terms with understanding that those external factors I talked about are just a part of the job. I’ve never really been one to pay attention to those things, and may be the reason I didn’t partake in social media a lot or be particular in how I dressed because in the beginning my sole focus was to be the best musician I could be. But now I know that even though those factors may not be the basis of who I am or what I root my value in, they are an important part of my industry, and I want to do it well.
3) I keep in mind that because of the visibility I now have, I have much more of an obligation to be a good role model and a man of character to our fans, and I don’t want to squander that opportunity. People now look up to me and follow me, so I must set the best example I can. But with that, I also have come to terms with the fact that I’m 100 human, and that I make mistakes all of the time. That grounds me and keeps me striving to be the best me I can be.
4) Honestly…(and probably the most important one) I just don’t think about the fame. As a famous dentist Dr. Bill Dorfman once told me, just stay focused on the WIN (what’s important now). That’s your friends, your work, and doing things to better others. When you focus on just being the best at what you want to be, you’ll get an amazing product. Fame is just the aftermath of your success.
I hope this helps.