I Asked Myself This Question Many Times as I Started Approaching Middle Age
And my answer is: No, I don’t think so.
It’s mainly because I am not sure that my idea of a “rockstar” even exists anymore.
Before the internet and social media, the rockstars and pop stars at that time had a certain mystique to them. Sure there was some gossip about them in the media but you didn’t really know everything about their daily lives. Their inaccessibility made them seem larger than life.
When I ready about the crazy stories of what bands and musicians like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix did on tour or behind the scenes, I can’t help but think that people nowadays could never get away with that.
Cameras are now in people smartphones, in every building, the streets, in the sky… everywhere. If someone famous does something like smash a hotel room or do drugs and get drunk in a club, you will definitely hear about on social media.
One can argue that it’s still good press but it seems most musicians and artists would definitely choose to avoid that kind of exposure to maintain a certain image. I think the rockstars of the past could get away with a lot more!
Let’s Ditch the Word “Rockstar”
Okay so can someone still become a hugely successful “mainstream” musician in their 40’s and beyond? I think it’s possible but extremely difficult.
Maybe I’m just jaded from own experience and struggles but it seems like the mainstream machine is designed to monetize the young. Older musicians can still find success but on different terms.
If you’re an older musician you have to be independent. You have to be an entrepreneur. You can make a good living that way but I’ve yet to see or hear of someone in their 40’s or older that broke through as a musician in recent times and became as famous as people like Bruno Mars or Justin Bieber.
Am I missing something? Is there someone who made it to that level that I just don’t know about? Let me know!