Are You Too Old to Make it in Music? – SpeakStick

Are You Too Old to Make it in Music?

04. June 2016

Most of us believe that only the young generations have the power to “make it” in the music industry. We’ve been hearing news of teens who amassed millions of following and fans just by posting songs on YouTube. Concert venues were swamped with the Beliebers, Arianators, and Directioners.  Then you think, they are young, you’re old, and you can’t make it.

Who Says You're Too Old to Make it in Music?

My question now is what do you mean by “make it”? Is it going platinum, getting signed, earning a million monthly, sustaining your family, entering the vogue, making a living? What? How do you define it? 

Related: 9 Famous Musicians with Disabilities to Inspire You

Age is not a measurement for good music. You don’t need to be young just to make it. All you need are confidence, perseverance, and consistency on what you are doing. Here are 10 musicians, who made it in their 30’s or older, to inspire you that music success doesn't only happen to the young. 

Cyndi Lauper- 30


Who Says You're Too Old to Make it in Music?

Lauper started as the vocalist of Blue Angel band. Not long after, the band broke up and their manager filed a lawsuit against the band members. This triggers Lauper’s bankruptcy. Her vocal cord suffered from an inverted cyst, which temporary disabled her to sing. Without being able to gig, she was forced to work in retail stores and restaurants.

She started singing in local clubs and fortunately met David Wold who became her manager. In 1985, her first album, “She’s so Unusual”, became a worldwide success. She was 30 years old back then. 

Wayne Coyne- 32


Who Says You're Too Old to Make it in Music?

Wayne Coyne formed the Flaming Lips at age 22 but their first hit made it after their 10 years in the business. The “She Don’t Use Jelly” from the album Transmissions from the Satellite Heart amassed public attention in 1993. He was 32.

The song was featured on Beavis and Butt-head, which boost the songs popularity a year after its release.

Related: 11 Most Listened Music Genres in the United States

Debbie Harry- 33


Who Says You're Too Old to Make it in Music?

Harry and her band, Blondie, released their debut album when she was 31. Although gained attention in the UK, the band was still regarded as underground in the United States.

After releasing the Parallel lines, their 3rd album, in 1987, it became an immediate success topping the United Kingdom charts in 1979. The album reached number 6 in the United States and had sold over 20 million copies.  She was 33 that time.

John Ondrasik- 35


Who Says You're Too Old to Make it in Music?

Also knows as Five for Fighting, Ondrasik first released the “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” on 2000. It became the second single in his album American Town released in 2001.

“Superman (It’s Not Easy)” went at number 38 on Billboard Hot 100 just in October 2001 and climbed up to number 14 afterward.

Amanda Palmer- 36


Who Says You're Too Old to Make it in Music?

Cabaret Indie rocker, Amanda Palmer, had her debut album at age 27. She only gets into the mainstream on the year 2012 after announcing the Kickstarter project on her blog.

The project amassed a total of $ 1,192,793 from the support of 24, 883 backers. It is actually the most funded music project on Kickstarter.

Her album, “Theatre is Evil”, was released in 2012.

Related: How Music Technology Evolved Over the Years?

Michael Fitzpatrick- 40


Who Says You're Too Old to Make it in Music?

Fitzpatrick started as a recording engineer until he formed The French Fitz and Tantrums several years after.

Their first album “Pickin’Up the Pieces” has topped the Billboard Heatseekers chart. And they have performed their hit single “MoneyGrabber” on Conan, Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!

He was 40 years old when their debut album hits the chart.

James Murphy- 40


Who Says You're Too Old to Make it in Music?

Murphy’s third studio album, “This is Happening”, has received worldwide attention when he was 40.

It ranked third in Exclaim! and hailed by Pitchfork Media as the second best album of 2010. It also ranked at number 10 out of the 30 Best Albums of 2010 by Rolling Stone.

Related: 5 Things Every Band Website Should Have

Andrea Bocelli- 41


Who Says You're Too Old to Make it in Music?

Bocelli’s first album has debuted when he was 34. However, he only received critical acclaim after the release of his third album, “Sogno”.

“Sogno” or Dream in English cracked the top 10 country music charts and has sold 2.5 million copies in the United States. And over 10 million copies worldwide. The song was also released internationally in a variety of languages.

He was the first classical artists to be nominated for the Grammy’s Best New Artist.

Thelonius Monk- 46


Who Says You're Too Old to Make it in Music?

Monk has been in the industry as a jazz piano legend working with great singers and artists. However, he has not achieved personal success until his “Monk’s Dream” was recognized in 1963. He was 46 years old that time.

Related: 11 Ways to Generate Money from Music

Leonard Cohen-50


Who Says You're Too Old to Make it in Music?

Cohen did not trump in his fiction writing career so he turned to music. His first album was released when he was 33 but only his song “Hallelujah, which was released 17 years after his debut single, strikes the crowd. The song was covered by over 200 singers and musicians in different languages.

Hope you have fully regained your confidence in your pursuit of music. So, whenever you are crashing down because you are too old to make it in music feel free to scan through these artists and get inspired. And remember this: good music doesn’t age.

If you know someone who must be on the list, feel free to comment below.

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Comments (5)

Lisa Sanders on June 09, 2016

At fist read I thought"40 old! Unh oh"! Lol I’m 57 and I got my first independent record deal at about 37. I’ve been on my on record label for quite some time now. I’m just getting started, sort of speak. Loved the post but 40 come on! :)

Cate Shaw on June 09, 2016

I am ageless as are all my musician Friends. We sing from life and experiences and we love it. MuSic does not care about the numbers of years in your life It is magical, healing and fun and makes us all happy. Never let age stop you creating there are no rules.

Bill Curreri on June 08, 2016

As a 67 year old singer songwriter who began his professional music career at the age of 63, i find some of the ages depicted in this column as “old” somewhat disturbing!!! (lol) nonetheless, after two critically acclaimed albums, one #1 hit on U.S. adult contemporary commercial radio, two #5 hits on both U.S. adult contemporary and top40 commercial radio and my music continuing to be played on both commercial and internet radio around the world, i can safely say that you are truly never too old to express yourself musically. In fact, i have found that today i have many more life lessons to pass along to audiences of all ages via my music than i did as a young man. So keep on ’rockin on regardless of your age!!!

Bill Curreri

SpeakStick on June 06, 2016


Bruce Kaplan on June 06, 2016

Leonard Cohen wowed the world long before “Hallelujah,” with the song “suzanne.” So I’m not sure he’s a good example. But, I would add Fantastic Negrito, led by Xavier Dephrepaulezz. his star has been rising ever since the band won the nPR Tiny Desk COncert. He’s 48 years old.

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