Role Models Are Important in the Growth of an Individual

Creativity does not occur in a vacuum. Today’s great opuses are instead inspired and molded by the pieces of art, literature and music of those who have come before. What past masters have produced provides a springboard that gives fledgling creators the wings to fly off in their own direction.

If you have any doubts about the truthfulness of this maxim, think back to the Beatles, rock and roll icons and pioneers extraordinaire. Their groundbreaking style was heavily influenced by rhythm and blues artists such as Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins. They, in turn, went on to forge a path for many who came after them, including Dave Grohl (Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, Joe Walsh (the Eagles), Nancy Wilson (Heart), Gene Simmons (Kiss), the Bee Gees and Bruce Springstein to name just a few.

The wide use of the internet and music streaming now allows today’s artists to gain exposure to a seemingly infinite selection of genres and subcategories of music. With the click of a mouse, someone sitting in his bedroom in Davenport, Iowa can expand his horizons by becoming immersed in HighLife or Isicathamiya from Africa, Tamang Selo from Nepal, Bulgarian folk songs or Cumbia music from Latin America. As he listens to and appreciates this global sonic stew, his own songs will be changed via a process that can only be described as alchemical.

Over the past three decades, musicians have also diversified in ways beyond the sounds they produce. An excellent case in point is Sean John Combs, a hip hop and R&B legend who is also known to his legion of fans as Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Pufffy and Diddy. Once his singing and rapping career took off into the stratosphere in the early ‘90s, he became a world-renown record producer, actor, executive and fashion entrepreneur. Many of today’s young artists look to him as a role model and an inspiration.

Nick Gross is an excellent example of this ongoing phenomenon of influencing followed by giving back. An accomplished drummer and current member of the alternative band Half the Animal, Nick’s talents don’t stop there. He is also the chief operating officer of Milky Agency, a Los Angeles-based creative and business development tour de force. Furthermore, he is the chief executive officer of Gross Labs, a music and entertainment studio also in L.A. In addition, he founded the Find Your Grind Foundation, an organization committed to supporting young entrepreneurs seeking non-traditional career paths.

Now that global communication and collaboration can happen in an instant, the future is even brighter for musicians, celebrities and entrepreneurs. Of course, there will always be a place for the solitary writer’s garret and the mountain retreat where an artist can find a sense of privacy and isolation that can often make it possible for creative juices to flow. However, there is also a warm, supportive and diverse community available to challenge and inspire any musician wishing to stretch a little further and reach even higher.