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Staying True to Your Vision with Ben Folds

Episode Summary –
In this episode, we sit down with the incredibly talented musician and artist, Ben Folds. Known for his pop albums with Ben Folds Five, solo projects, and collaborations, Ben Folds has left an indelible mark on the music industry. Through his unique experiences and unwavering commitment to his art, he offers valuable insights into finding authenticity and perseverance in creative endeavors.

“Your business is an extension of who you are. Treat it as a form of art and always stay true to yourself.”

Here are some key takeaways from the episode.

1. Respect Your Business as an Art Form:
Ben stresses the significance of viewing your business as an extension of yourself and treating it as its own art form. By maintaining authenticity and integrity in your work, you can attract and resonate with the right audience. Avoid changing your vision to cater to a failing business or perceived demographic, as it compromises the essence of your art.

2. Hone Your Craft and Be Patient:
Success rarely comes overnight. Ben spent ten years refining his skills and mentally preparing for the music industry. Take the time to develop your expertise and create truly remarkable work before expecting the business aspect to thrive. Persevere through doubts, adjust based on feedback, but always remain true to your artistic integrity.

3. Embrace Challenges and Overcome Barriers:
Ben shares anecdotes about overcoming logistical challenges to bring a piano to venues not equipped for one. His determination and problem-solving mindset prove that with creative thinking, even seemingly impossible tasks can be achieved. Don't be afraid to take risks and find innovative solutions to obstacles that arise on your journey.

4. Share Your Ideas and Pursue Your Passion:
Turn your ideas into something shareable. Bridge the gap between what you envision and how you communicate it to others. Ben suggests that living a happy and creative life is more important than conforming to others' expectations. Share your passion with the world, and don't be afraid to pursue your dreams, even if they seem absurd or impractical to others.

5. Beware of Misinterpreting Success Signals:
Ben cautions against misinterpreting raw data and making assumptions based on limited success. Whether it's a hit on a ballot or sudden internet attention, it's crucial to critically analyze these experiences and not rely solely on external validation. Stay grounded and true to your vision, seeking guidance from experienced mentors when navigating success.

6. Stay Authentic, True to Yourself:
With the changing times and evolving societal expectations, staying true to oneself has become increasingly challenging. Ben encourages individuals to hold onto their own beliefs, vision, and artistic expression, regardless of societal pressure. Authenticity leads to personal happiness and fosters genuine connections with audiences.

Ben Folds' insights from the “Work From Your Happy Place” podcast remind us of the importance of embracing our artistic integrity, being patient and persistent in our pursuits, and staying authentic to ourselves. The journey of blending work and artistry is a lifelong pursuit that requires dedication and a strong sense of self. By embracing these lessons, we can cultivate fulfilling careers and make meaningful contributions to our respective industries.


About the Guest –

Ben Folds is widely regarded as one of the major music influencers of our generation.

He’s created an enormous body of genre-bending music that includes pop albums with Ben Folds Five, multiple solo albums, and numerous collaborative records. His last album was a blend of pop songs and his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra that soared to #1 on both the Billboard classical and classical crossover charts.

For over a decade he’s performed with some of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras, and currently serves as the first ever Artistic Advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

In addition to solo rock and orchestral touring, Folds released his first book – a collection of interrelated essays, anecdotes and lessons about art, life and music – in 2019, which debuted as a New York Times Best Seller, and is currently hosting a podcast series spinoff of his book entitled “Lightning Bugs: Conversations with Ben Folds.”

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