An inflated ego can KILL your career

(The original version of this article was first published on the Mp3 Backing Trax website circa 2006 – 2012)

It’s rife in the entertainment world, probably more so than any other business in the world. I’m talking about an over inflated EGO. It’s dangerous and has been one of the biggest hurdles preventing new singers and entertainers making it in the entertainment and music industry.

Nobody likes a “big-head”, so don’t be one and don’t hang around with people who are big-heads.

Don’t confuse having a big ego with being an extrovert. Many of the biggest stars in the world are extroverts – they have to be flamboyant to keep up their showbiz image. But rest assured, it’s well known in showbiz circles that the bigger the star, the nicer they usually are. Big stars have nothing to prove so don’t need to boast.

So the people I’m talking about who you should avoid – and avoid being like – are those entertainers who mill around the bottom to middle rungs of the showbiz ladder. Entertainers with inflated egos.

You’ve probably met a few of them already – they are the types of entertainers who are full of their own self-importance. They seriously believe they are better than you, better than me, better than everyone. They even think they’re better than the big stars but they just didn’t “get the break”. They always moan that only they’d got the break, they would be sitting in a Hollywood mansion instead of <fill in the name of big star>.

And they really do believe it!

If you’re in the entertainment business or just starting out in the entertainment business you may already hang around with one of these big-headed entertainers. You may even be one yourself and you’re not aware of it.

Why ego can kill your career
When a new singer or entertainer starts out in the entertainment business, one of two things can happen if he’s not careful.

  1. The new singer or entertainer starts off his career with an inflated opinion of himself as an artiste. His ego makes him believe he is actually better than he really is. He’s just setting himself up for a fall. Just look at the attitude of some of the contestants who audition for US TV’s American Idol and UK TV’s X-Factor. They are CLEARLY not as good as they think they are and they come crashing down to earth with a bang when they are shown the door.
  2. The new singer sometimes listens to advice from other so-called “seasoned professionals” who, rather than helping the newbie, they just want to impress on them how good THEY are instead. This makes the newbie entertainer feel inept or inferior and is often enough to make a newbie give up his dreams of a career in the entertainment world before he’s even got started.

Both the above examples show how an over inflated EGO, whether it’s your ego or the ego of a fellow entertainer, can ruin a career. If you want to make it in the music business and want longevity out of your career, keep your ego under control and don’t listen to or hang around with other acts who are egotistical.

Here’s a story of an experience I had recently with an egotistical entertainer.

I was in a club a while back visiting a fellow entertainer who was performing at a gig. Just before he went on stage, we were speaking about the recent economic downturn and how it was affecting live music and entertainment, not just the banks and the High street shops. We were discussing how entertainers like us have been affected because the public are not spending as much money going out to see live shows as they were, say, a year ago.

While in mid-conversation, another fellow entertainer walked in and joined our conversation (and this guy is well-known in our circles for his BIG ego).

He started to inform of us of how good an entertainer he is, how much work he had, how he was “doing fantastic” and basically how he was so in demand there was no recession for him and his act. The inference from this egotistical idiot was that if we were as good as him, then we would get lots of work too and so if we were experiencing a downturn in the amount of gigs we were getting, then clearly we’re just not as good as he is.

He missed two important points though.

Firstly,, he was at my friends gig, which means my friend was working at a gig that night and earning money…the egotistical guy wasn’t!

Secondly, he didn’t know that I know his agent really well. I supply his agents acts with backing tracks and I’ve been personal friends with his agent for years. So I know the TRUTH…and the truth is the egotistical guy isn’t getting as many gigs this year as he was getting last year, PLUS his fee per gig is less than it was last year!

The above story has an important lesson for the new singer and entertainer…

Lots of entertainers out there suffer from inflated egos. Try to recognise who they are early on and take everything they say with a pinch of salt. It’s usually those with the least amount of talent who tend to shout the loudest about “how good they are”.

So don’t be put off by the ego maniac. Just ignore him. I’ve been in the music business for many years and I’ve seen these kind of entertainers come and go. Believe me, if you decide to venture in to this fantastic world of entertainment and you can keep a level head, you’ll still be successfully working as a professional entertainer years from now and earning a good living while “Mr Big potatoes” will have long since left the music scene and will probably be sweeping your street.

It’s sad but true that some entertainers attempt to make themselves look “big” by trying to make you feel “small”. Don’t be intimidated by these guys. They should be pitied rather than taken seriously. However their put-downs can be enough to discourage a beginner from getting involved in this great business we call show business…and that’s nothing short of a crime in my book.

There’s an old showbiz saying which goes “Be nice to people on the way up, because you’ll meet them all again on the way down…”

Memorize the above saying and repeat it to yourself every day.

If you’re new to the music/entertainment business and have just started out singing or playing an instrument, then you will have met a few nice fellow entertainers by now, especially if you’ve already performed your first few gigs. Perhaps you’ve seen someone you admire perform and are using him or her as a role model.

You may even have an experienced entertainer mentoring you. That’s good.

But just be aware that there are more than a few sharks out there, so be on the lookout for them. It can be a cut-throat business and not everyone who offers to help you on the road to stardom may be as well-intentioned as they may seem.

Don’t be a big-head, no matter how good you think you may be, and don’t surround yourself with fellow entertainers who are that way inclined either. If you do, you’ll find yourself with a very short career and an unhappy ending to your venture in to the world of “showbiz”.

Success in the entertainment world isn’t as difficult to achieve as people think. If you have talent and a good attitude, you’re already way ahead of 90% of the others…