Some of you know that before I got into DJ-ing I was heavily involved in acting and theatre. So these days, I dream of one day having the time to go back into acting. I was reminded recently of this when I read Greg Rollett’s post on using music to launch another career. Who has done this better than most? Will Smith. You know him from DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, the first Grammy winners in the rap category. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was his highly successful TV show.
Then he had several successful movies in which he was the main star. Independence Day, Men In Black, Bad Boys. In addition to that, he had a successful solo artist career during the time he was in these movies. However, I didn’t really like his latest movies. I keep waiting on something that I’ll really care about.
But look at DJ Jazzy Jeff. He’s also a Grammy Winner. Also had a recurring role in the successful TV show. He went back to music; releasing records, rockin parties. He has been producing other artists, like Jill Scott and Maxwell. He also has been judging DJ competitions, helping the up-and-coming class. He’s also been an unofficial spokesperson (maybe he IS official) for Ableton Live.
What I like about his career, he’s still DJing and doing shows. At these shows, he’s seen as a legend. A LEGEND. I guess Will Smith would get a lot of people out to his shows if he went back to rapping. But would he have legendary status? Maybe he should, but I don’t think he would. What’s the difference? I think more than Will Smith, Jazzy Jeff has invested his time downward. Meaning, he spent some time being involved with other people who were learning to DJ and produce.
Investing down is a surefire way to build your legacy. Maybe it’s your kids. Maybe it’s ALL kids. Maybe it’s a beginner in your field of expertise. I suppose that Will Smith is investing down into his kids’ lives. That is admirable. However while Will Smith is seen as a star, Jazzy Jeff is seen as a hero.
So the question is, would you rather be a star? Or a hero? Let me know in the comments. If you liked this post, please share or retweet.
Quiet Entertainer (that's me) is a DJ/Producer that blends ambient electronica with hip-hop. I'm based in Nashville, TN.
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