Jul 12

Are you ever too old to succeed?

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Are you ever too old to succeed?

What do you do when the phone rings with an offer that almost seems too good to be true? This was the dilemma that faced 71 year old ex-musician, Mick Ware, who now works as an antique furniture repairer.

The Intro

In 1966, a band called Tuesday’s Children was founded in London. The band featured keyboard oriented rock and whilst they had prog rock influences were primarily promoted as a pop group. They had some success, playing well known venues and toured extensively with some well know bands, such as Pink Floyd. In 1970, they changed their name to Czar, released an album and then went their separate ways.

The Verse

Fast forward to 2019 when US rapper Tyler, The Creator (who’s songs have been streamed more than 100 million times) was working on a new song called Puppet which was to feature lyrics written by Kanye West.

The music industry employs people to sift back catalogues of music to identify song samples that can be used on new material. As part of the sift, one of the tracks on the Czar album attracted some real interest. At the time, the Csar album was only accessible on vinyl so it is a mystery how the researchers became interested in this particular song.

Mick was contacted by a lawyer in the US claiming to represent a musician and initially thought it was a “scam”. He recently told the BBC that:

“We had a name given to us, which was Tyler, The Creator, which we hadn’t heard of because we are too old”.

This was an exciting and unexpected opportunity for him and he was offered an outright payment. The artist had clearly found “the sample” was “the one” hence Mick was able to negotiate hard for a share of the royalties, and to get his name on the credits.

The Outro

The song features on a new album called Igor, which recently went to number one in the US. The track, Puppet, has been streamed 15 million times.

The Reprise

In the same BBC interview, Mick said:

“I’m now 71 so I didn’t think at this age I was ever going to be associated with any type of music.”

Where you have a clear idea of where you want to be in later life, are you following the right path? Sometimes you have to sit back and reflect and plan the 37th move, because that is the critical step that will enable you to take the 100th! Shame to completely miss the opportunity…

Think about it this way, at 22, Mick Ware was a touring musician who had worked with artists such as Jimi Hendrix. Following dreams of stardom, Csazr recorded an album that they clearly hoped would help them realise this goal. For whatever reason, it didn’t work out and the band split.

Nearly 50 years later, Mick receives a call that eventually catapults his work into the US charts, albeit in an unexpected way.

How did this happen? First of all, you have to do the work. Success rarely comes to people, in the words of Marva Collins:

“Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it.”

This wasn’t a case of a random call, someone had ‘found’ the bands early work and hence the opportunity materialised. When opportunity does knock, take your chances and do what Mick did, play your hand well. He had to wait 50 years for his ‘opportunity’ and what his story highlights is that you are never too old to realise your dreams. What his story also shows is that opportunity and success often come in very strange ways. Who’d have thought in 1971, that an obscure prog rock band would be contributing to the creative output of Tyler, The Creator in 2019? Lesson – stick with it and don’t ever give up!

If you feel that you are not getting the success you deserve, ask yourself this question “are you trying hard enough?” or even “are you making the most of the opportunities that life is throwing at you?”. Only you will know that…

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