Around this time last year, Phil Collins' autobiography 'Not Dead Yet' came out, and I just had to have it. I grew up to his music playing in the radio and I had never read a biography of a musician before, so I decided this is one for me!
Reading his biography was a very chilled out experience. First, because I was sitting at home like a massive stranded whale, waiting for the baby to finally make an appearance. And, it had so many details as to how particular songs had come about that I would play the songs on my computer and listen to them as I read the chapters. Reading his autobiography was a sort of multimedia experience because it also includes many pictures from his childhood and throughout his life.
The early years
Phil Collins opens up about his early passion for playing the drums, his childhood home as well as his own family life later on and it just feels as if you know exactly where he's been and what he's done for decades in order to get to where he is now. He is brutally honest about the mistakes he has made in his life and some pages are very sad to read; but at the same time, he writes hilarious jokes and anecdotes where I couldn't help but laugh out loud.
What is difficult about his writing, though, is the fact that he is a musician who also has a lot to say about music and playing instruments and I suspect that only musicians can fully grasp and enjoy this book - but since I've never studied music or learned to play an instrument, I stay on the 'consumer' side of his music. There are many inspiring things about this autobiography, starting with his journey as a teenager when he would advertise in newspapers and magazines to find a band to play in and how he himself had numerous setbacks and had to work hard for years before the big success.
For example, when he was very young and just starting out in 1970, he had the chance to record with George Harrison of the Beatles on his first solo album. Ultimately, the recording in which he played percussion was cut out and he never found out why. This disappointment bugged him for years, and not even George Harrison himself could remember why it had been cut out when asked years later. It's a sort of unsolved mystery, that stuck with me.
Having a passion and giving it your all to achieve your goals often requires making sacrifices in other aspects of life along the way. And mostly, it requires constant work. This is the main lesson I take away as an aspiring writer. Every one of us needs to decide for themselves what they are willing to give up or delay in order to become the person they dream about becoming.
Do you know what you would be willing to sacrifice in order to become a successful artist?