Macklemore, he of Ryan Lewis, wrote a post on the group’s tumblr. It’s titled, simply, “Sam”, after a young fan suffering from Leukemia. Macklemore went to visit Sam in the hospital and reflected in a way that’s rare. It illustrates the difficulty of keeping a clear head on your shoulders as an artist in the spotlight, and avoiding the diva attitude, when your entire life and that of many other revolves around you.
Being a rapper is one of the most narcissistic careers in the world. You are surrounded by yourself: interviews, Twitter, Facebook, Billboard charts, YouTube plays, shows, the crowds, awards etc. Fame suffocates the spirit and consumes you if you let it. You wake up thinking about you, and go to bed thinking about you. That’s not a good place to be.
With over 200 shows booked for the year, I barely get to see my family and spend time with the people that remind me where I come from and what’s really important. Getting outside of myself, even for an hour, and doing something like meeting Sam this afternoon gave me a small opportunity to be of service to someone else. I am able to realize that my problems are NOTHING compared to what him and his family are going through. And hopefully the visit made his day a little better and got him through another 24. That’s what matters in the end.
The challenge of remembering that life is not actually about you, extends beyond the realm of artists. The startup scene has it’s own rockstars, as does the VC world, journalism, sports, etc. Every universe has planets around which many others are satellite. The more satellites surround you, the bigger the chance yes-men will start blocking out those who keep you grounded. Having a strong homebase with people that tell you like it is, is necessary to be able to combine continued success with long-term happiness.
Read Macklemore’s full post, here.