Finding success as a musician isn't always easy, but it does get better when you have a supportive network around you.
Many of the world's most famous musicians wouldn't be where they are today if it weren't for the help they received from others along the way. A few examples include:
1) Mariah Carey
With five Grammy awards, 28 songs in the US top 10 charts, and at least 200 million records sold around the world, American singer Mariah Carey is undoubtedly a superstar.
However, she did have humble beginnings in spite of her current status as an international diva. She worked as a waitress while trying to get her career on track by sending her demo tape to major record labels. But they all rejected her, and for a while, it seemed like she hit a dead end.
She finally got a jumpstart when she met pop singer Brenda K. Starr, who introduced her to Tommy Mottola, the head of Columbia Records. Mottola loved Mariah’s demo tape so much he signed her right away, preparing her for her commercial debut as the label’s top female pop artist. Mariah was Columbia's answer to Madonna and Whitney Houston at that time.
Heavily promoted by Columbia Records, Mariah’s debut album "Mariah Carey" reached the top of the Billboard 200 and stayed there for 11 consecutive weeks. Mariah also went on to marry Mottola in 1993 and divorced him in 1998. The rest, as they say, is history.
2) Calvin Harris
Outside of the EDM circuit, Scottish DJ and producer Calvin Harris isn’t as well-known as other famous musicians in terms of name recognition. Nevertheless, his music is ubiquitous; most people have listened to it without realizing it’s his work. His most-well known collaboration with Rihanna resulted in his first chart topper in the Billboard Hot 100, but he has also worked with other artists such as Kylie Minogue, Ellie Goulding, and Big Sean. It’s no wonder he was the world’s highest paid DJ for six consecutive years according to Forbes. He’s now at No. 3 after Marshmello and The Chainsmokers, but it’s still not a bad deal.
But like Mariah, Calvin (real name Adam Wiles) struggled in the early part of his career. He worked at a supermarket and a factory to save up money for DJ equipment. When he got his gear, he recorded demos and released two singles. He then moved from his hometown in Scotland to London, but the lack of success made him return to Scotland.
Still undaunted, Calvin posted recordings to his Myspace page which started gaining traction. As his popularity grew, talent Mark Gillespie came across him and asked him to be his new management firm's first signee.
3) Shawn Mendes
In 2018, Canadian crooner Shawn Mendes was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. But in 2012, Shawn was just learning how to play the guitar by watching YouTube tutorials. Shortly after, he started posting videos of various song covers.
His popularity took off when he switched over to the now-defunct Vine, a short-form video hosting service where users could upload six-second video clips. He first uploaded a cover of Justin Bieber song, and after that garnered many views and followers, he uploaded covers of other popular songs. Shawn became a viral Vine star in a short time.
His move from internet popularity to mainstream success didn’t happen until artist manager Andrew Gertler discovered him and signed him to Island Records. Of course, Shawn already had fans on Vine who definitely helped propel him the music scene, but releasing his first single "Life of the Party" was what made the world notice the up-and-coming star, especially when it first entered the charts at No. 24. In 2014, at the age of 16, Shawn became the youngest artist to debut in Billboard Top 100’s top 25.
Find Your Supportive Community on dreamOway
If there’s one thing to learn from the stories of these famous musicians, it’s that success isn’t truly a solo act. Success is built with help coming from different sources.
If you want to join the ranks of these famous musicians in the future, consider joining dreamOway, a social crowdfunding platform powered by a community of dreamers working toward their goals and visionaries providing the necessary support.
Using the platform's simple goal structure, a musician like you can ask for donations for instruments, lessons, equipment, and studio time, both to the in-app community or by sharing you campaign across social media.
Beyond funding, you can also get encouragement from the ever-growing community of other musicians. Simply share your story by creating and posting videos on the app, set your profile to the audience you want (either public for everyone or private for family and friends), and build relationships with visionary supporters to secure funding and establish networks.