Hearing of the death of Witney Houston this morning has prompted me to write on a topic that has been brewing in my head for some time: the role of love in success, particularly in the music industry. There are two types of successful musicians – those who approach their talent as a business asset and those who see it as a means to self-validation. The first would never do anything to harm their ability to sing and perform. The second can’t help but do so as their quest for validation is never fulfilled. The scenario goes like this. A child feels unloved by her parents and becomes confused when they discover a talent appreciated by others. But the applause and acclaim are never enough because the people who should ‘get it’, just don’t. Hence the self-medication and decline into self-destruction. If the people who matter to me the most don’t care, why should I? The spiral of success and self-destruction continues because the public is not the real target of their energies and efforts. Like a lab-rat they eventually fall off the treadmill out of exhaustion.
Of all the undignified and puerile details that emerged of the private life of Michael Jackson, one stood out for me: “I just want to sleep. Where is my milk?’