Looking for musical role models
January 28, 2010 2:01 PM   Subscribe

Help me find info on musicians who got their start at later-than-typical ages (especially over 40, especially women).

I'm in my early 40s and teaching myself guitar and voice. I may also take private lessons as I can afford to. Best of all, I'm writing a lot of songs. I'm having fun with this and would like to go further with it (on an indie, self-produced level). My SO is an arranger/producer/accompanist/collaborator worth his weight in rare LPs. All I lack are confidence, experience, and role models. Bring on the pep talks!
posted by xenophile to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Susan Boyle?
posted by Oktober at 2:04 PM on January 28, 2010


I hear Paul Potts did it too.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:12 PM on January 28, 2010


Definitely not a women but: http://www.musicianguide.com/biographies/1608003562/T-Model-Ford.html
posted by Erberus at 2:22 PM on January 28, 2010


while they often start their disciplines early, something that got mentioned over and over again during the Daniela Dessi hullabaloo was that female opera singers mature into their voices, thus most of them aren't famous/well regarded until they are considered elderly by the clock of popular music.
posted by nadawi at 2:24 PM on January 28, 2010


She wasn't quite 40, but Mary Gauthier didn't just get her start at 35 - that's when she wrote her first song.
posted by bunglin jones at 2:33 PM on January 28, 2010


Cesaria Evora. She is fabulous and you should check her out too.
posted by Go Banana at 2:54 PM on January 28, 2010


I have nothing to contribute but ¡go you!

can you post back and let us know how it's going? can we organize a meetup when you get a gig somewhere?
posted by toodleydoodley at 5:06 PM on January 28, 2010


Malvina Reynolds.
posted by shinyshiny at 11:13 PM on January 28, 2010


Thanks, all. Keep it coming! I'll be heading to the library & Zia Records today.

Toodleydoodley, thanks for your kind words of support. I will post my mp3s on Metafilter Music when I have them done, and keep the hivemind apprised of gigs too.
posted by xenophile at 8:07 AM on January 29, 2010


This list of Late Bloomers may give you some inspiration.

You should also read the works of Natalie Goldberg. She's famous now as a writer, zen buddhist & writing teacher, but didn't set foot in a buddhist monastery until she was almost and didn't write her first book until she was about 35, and even then it was a flop and she didn't really find her voice until she was about 40.

I'm 34 now, and throughout my naive 20's I always found comfort in that. I also find comfort in my sister, who is 9 years older than me and still living a full life - I realize that life doesn't "stop" at any age, and we can have all the same dreams and ambitions - and accomplish them - no matter what artificial limitation we may think is holding us back.

Personally, I think at 34 I'm more confident & skilled, and no less talented than I was 10 years ago when I was out gigging & recording all the time. What I have that I didn't then is a mortgage, etc. If there are fewer success stories in the arts later in life (but more in business) it's probably mostly due to a lack of willingness to take that leap of faith & cut the financial tethers.

That said, I'm a firm believer in taking an honest assessment of yourself & your abilities, and planning a solid financial future for yourself. Are you making art because you want to make art, or are you making art because you want it to make you money?

If it's the former - excellent. The world needs more artists. If it's the latter - just exercise caution, you don't want to be a wal-mart greeter at 65 because you didn't save for retirement.
posted by MesoFilter at 12:49 PM on January 29, 2010


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