Recently I saw a tweet from UCB that said “When the spotlight moves from you just serve faithfully in the shadows” and these words instantly resonated with me. It’s January 2016 and I’m one of many who try to get over January blues but I’ve never been one of those who are sceptical of new years resolutions. I always believe in taking any opportunity for fresh motivation and UCB’s word of the day really helped trigger my new year motivation.
As a Hiphop artist I would like my creative efforts to sit in the spotlight FOREVER and when it doesn’t, it gets discouraging. A couple of years ago I had a song get to No 7 in the UK Christian Chart. A year later I had another track shortlisted for the chart but sadly didn’t make the Top 10. Very discouraging! Questions like, why am I still doing this? start to creep up in the back of my mind. A month later one of my songs was included in the ‘Best of 2015’ Very Encouraging! The journey is a rollercoaster of ups and downs but it’s normally in the downs when the real life questions get asked.
I’ve been reminded through that experience that the spotlight should never be the basis for why we create.
It can be a by-product but should never be the reason. We create to help people. People can still be helped as effectively in the shadows. As long as people are being helped I will continue to make this music faithfully.
Society sells us this lie that your best life is when you are young and as you get older life gets less exciting as you fade into the shadows. This couldn’t be any more true than in Hiphop where historically rap careers expire after an artist turns 30 years old because the music industry targets the youth. So we end up seeing an industry with 40 year old rappers trying to stay in the spotlight by behaving like they are still 17 or tragically hearing that rappers in there 40’s are retiring because they feel irrelevant to our culture. The truth of the matter is that life outside of the spotlight is still worthwhile, there are many opportunities to stay relevant with those who we seek to help.
I think of rappers like Chuck D who is 55 years old (almost my Dad’s age). He is not in the spotlight of Hiphop but still has a powerful impact on youth and older generations alike. We need older rappers like Chuck D to share the wisdom that comes with age. We need rappers who act their age and make music that’s true to their situation. Our culture desires authenticity regardless of age.
If it’s hot, people will dance, if the rhyme is tight, the heads will nod. Age brings better lyricism and musicianship. Age allows you to perfect your craft. Don’t give up if the passion is still in you. If you have already given up, it’s never too late to get back into the game.
#Help people in the shadows
The pressure to give up because of age, limelight, failure etc. are never beyond the help of God. He empowers us to be creatives, to serve in the spotlight and the shadows. It starts with overcoming the addiction for people’s approval and seeking after God’s approval and direction for your life. It’s easy to look around at our peers giving up and think the party is over but the world still needs us to keep the music alive and live with that dream that God has for us all.
So if you’re a rapper or a doctor, keep helping people with your gifts and talents. I hope these stories will help you find inspiration to take bold moves of faith in the shadows of your life!