Musicians draw their inspiration from just about everywhere. They may be moved to write after seeing a piece of art or observing nature. Or, their music may reflect their personal experiences.
While these things all inspire musicians, nothing inspires artists more than, well, other artists.
Musicians often turn to their idols for motivation. They want to replicate their passion, work ethic, and success. They may even incorporate elements of their style to create their own sound.
In this article, we cover some of the world’s most inspiring musicians. Their stories and success might just compel you to pick up an instrument – but at the very least, they’re bound to impress you with their achievements and scope of influence.
- Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is one of the most prominent figures in American pop culture. He used his music to make political statements, resulting in it shaping much of the counterculture movement. He also created a unique sound by combining folk, pop, blues, country, and rock elements.
He’s also displayed his work on the road through his “Never Ending Tour.” Since 1988, he’s toured nonstop, performing over 3,000 shows around the world.
- Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston used her background in gospel music to become one of the world’s biggest popstars. She charted seven consecutive number-one songs, making her the first in the industry to do so.
Whitney Houston influenced other major artists including Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, and Mariah Carey. She also helped break racial barriers; she was the first black female singer to consistently perform on MTV.
- Ray Charles
Ray Charles was somewhat of a prodigy. He taught himself to play the sax, trumpet, clarinet, and organ. But, he was most famous for his piano and vocal skills. Initially, his songs were heavily influenced by artists like Nat King Cole and Charles Brown.
Later in his career, he developed his own unique style. Fans dubbed him the “Father of Soul.” He pioneered the genre by incorporating country, pop, R&B, and gospel elements.
And, of course, he overcame many challenges he faced as a blind African American musician in the mid-1900s.
- Ringo Starr
As a member of The Beatles, Ringo Starr helped his band “conquer the world.” He later went on to have a successful solo career. Fans then and now admire and even study his intuitive playing style.
Ringo Starr has lots of accolades, including being a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But, his story is also inspiring because of his upbringing.
He had a rough childhood and didn’t start playing the drums until he was 16. Having to practice on a makeshift drum kit didn’t stop him from becoming one of the most well-respected drummers in the world.
This shows that getting your hands on some basic equipment (like the best used cymbals you can find) and putting in some hard work are more than enough for someone to make a big.
- Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is one of the biggest pop stars of the 21st century. With a huge following all over the world, it’s no wonder she inspires so many.
Despite some controversy surrounding her, notably about who she chooses to date and a few run-ins with Kanye West, it’s undeniable that she’s achieved every artist’s dream by making it big from nothing. She first rose to popularity as a small-town country singer. After earning a huge country following, she switched over to pop songs. Even though she changed genres, she retained her fanbase and became even more popular. Taylor Swift showed musicians that it can pay off to switch up your style.
Aside from her genre switch-up, people often refer to her as the Eddie van Halen of this generation. Taylor Swift is inspiring young girls to pick up the guitar (like Eddie van Halen inspired teenage boys to play).
It’s important to note that many of these greats were inspired by the greats before them. So, next time you need a little music motivation, don’t be afraid to look to these artists!
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