This makes me so mad:
Erica Abi Wright (born February 26, 1971), known professionally as Erykah Badu (/ˈɛrɪkə bɑːˈduː/), is an American singer-songwriter, record producer and actress. Badu’s career began after opening a show for D’Angelo in 1994 in Fort Worth; record label executive Kedar Massenburg was highly impressed with her performance and signed her to Kedar Entertainment.
I don’t know a ton about Erykah Badu, but I know a lot about the kind of path that got her opening a show for D’Angelo in 1994 in Fort Worth.
That performance wasn’t the beginning of her career. These were:
- When she risked embarrassment or rejection by singing in public for the first time (social risk).
- Every time she chose to spend time developing her career instead of easier things (socializing with friends? being somebody else’s backup singer?).
- Every time she stretched in practice, trying something new over and over again until it was rote (listen to every live version of “Tyrone” you can find and notice how nearly identical her phrasing is every time).
- Every time she did something unpopular or weird or on the fringe of the mainstream (“The Sign” by Ace of Base was the #1 charting song the same year Badu opened for D’Angelo).
Taking those risks and investing without immediate payoff over and over again was the beginning of her career.
The record deal was a lagging indicator of all of that risk-taking and investment.
The next cohort of The Expertise Incubator begins Jan 13, 2020. If you’re interested, let me know.