The other night as I waited for the Academy of Country Music awards to air, I sat down to watch GAC and got caught up in Blake Shelton’s Back Story. Being a writer, I’m always interested in back story, or a person’s past that directly reflects either by change or going the course, how that person became the person they are today. Really, I was killing time, and I think Blake Shelton is cute, funny and a pretty good country artist. But I didn’t think hearing his back story would send inspirational shivers down my spine.
Wow. Writers all have back story. We have successes, struggles and even failures. I’m sure we’re not unlike millions of people out there, who have fallen down several times in their lives only to bring themselves up from the bowels of the earth, to become a success.
We can debate what success really means another time, but for me, it’s a feeling of satisfaction that I’ve met and/or exceeded my goals. I’m an optimist at heart, yet it’s hard for me to not get down on myself when I don’t meet my own expectations.
Blake Shelton’s story cured me of that. He inspired me. He taught me that sometimes taking a risk and going for broke, while hard to do, is a route one must take to be truly happy.
His story is simply a case of taking one step forward, then two steps back. When he landed a record deal back in 1998, it took four years before the label, Giant, to put him out to the public. He watched as other artists who came before him and after him, were hitting it big, while he waited on the sidelines. Finally, his record was scheduled to be released and that very week his record label went belly up. Yep, he was an artist without a company behind him. Can you imagine how he felt after 4 painstaking years of waiting? Luckily, Warner record label took him on. His first song was a moderate success and then the next two fell flat. The recording label didn’t want to produce his new song into a video or give him any financial backing. He knew without a video behind his song, he’d be crushed by the competition. He made them a gutsy deal…if they produce the video of Ol’ Red, and the song falls flat…he wouldn’t hold them to his contract. Basically, he said, if I don’t produce a chart-topping song with that video, I’m gone.
What a gamble that was! He believed in himself, his talent and his goals enough to enter into that Make or Break deal. As he looked back on that now, he realized what a risk he took. He was that determined…that stubborn.
The video he banked everything on was a HUGE success and became his signature song. But all this took years of hard work and dedication. There were more up and downs in his career, a divorce from his first wife, along with the death of his father. Blake was not an overnight success. It was over ten years in the making. He stuck true to himself and knew who he was. Perhaps he was driven by stubbornness, love of the craft or simply belief in himself. Now, Blake Shelton, once a tall, cute, unknown cowboy with long hair and a Stetson, is less rough around the edges, clean-cut and a household name who also co-judges The Voice.
I enjoyed that hour of television…I was truly inspired. I think it nudged me to think out of the box, to take more risks with my career and to be true to myself. What about you? What inspires you? Have you ever taken a big risk where you didn’t know the outcome? Has anyone inspired you lately?
***And on a side note: did you watch the ACM awards on Sunday night? Three performances stood out, Tim, Taylor and Keith Urban doing Highway Don’t Care, the tribute to Dick Clark with Garth and George Strait and then closing the show with Stevie Wonder!!
I’m happy to give away a 2 in 1 Desire today to one lucky commenter.
Look for Charlene’s new Desire — SUNSET SEDUCTION –part of the The Slades of Sunset Ranch series, coming in June.