The Walk of Fame

Allow me to introduce myself… I’m Frank. Technically, Johann Frank. But if you ask anyone who really knows me, they would tell you, I’m definitely as Frank as they come.

When your passion for music begins at a very early age, fame and fortune can oftentimes quickly come into the conversation as a possibility … a goal, even. I wasn’t yet 14 when I started making waves on the music scene in my native country of Switzerland. And when you’re a young guitar-playing kid and an icon such as Phil Collins discovers you, taking you under his wing, these concepts start taking shape in your head almost immediately.

Yet, alongside my own promising beginnings, I watched fellow peers quit school and become exploited on talent shows by blind parents and hungry managers. Within a matter of years, the often catastrophic results of this pursuit left legions of perfectly talented children with issues incredibly hard to overcome. No news for you if you’ve ever read a single bio about a child star.

Why do you want to pursue *insert dream here* and is it derived from an insatiable passion or perhaps, peeking beneath the surface, is it for what luxuries success can bring?

You see, I do believe it takes a serious calling to be famous. It’s not for everyone. Just like not everyone can be a CEO, right? I also believe it takes an even bigger skill set to stay famous and make a 40, 50-year career out of it. It’s no judgement of value; as a professional musician in Hollywood, I work on a daily basis with people who have achieved stardom in their field. Trust me, the majority of them gained very specific qualities, support, and skills permitting them to deal with it but on the other hand, I also see at what cost they do what they do and, more importantly, the time, resources, and energy spent trying to REGAIN some of the privileges that we should all have and yet oftentimes don’t value enough.

Privacy, for one. Authentic, genuine relationships. The ability to trust new people. The freedom to simply be ourselves. And for that one day a year you find yourself too tired to change out of your pajamas before you head to Starbuck’s, not having to worry you’ll end up as a cover story on the next day’s tabloids (I’ve literally seen it happen). Gratefully, and giving thanks to a variety of fortunate factors in my life (I’ll throw Faith and a very down-to-earth upbringing as the top 2), I came to realize early in my adolescence that stardom comes at a much greater cost than you would think.

Being Frank
Being Frank

So, this begs the bigger question of purpose: Why do you want to pursue *insert dream here* and is it derived from an insatiable passion or perhaps, peeking beneath the surface, is it for what luxuries success can bring?

To succeed in any artistic venture, your primary drive should always be centered in the passion for what you do and what you can give to others through it. Entertainment as a whole is such a challenging career path, with as many highs as there are lows. If you are driven by anything other than passion, chances are you will have a very hard time taking the failures and the setbacks inherent to this business.

This pursuit of “I must have it all” is engineered by our society to consume more, spend more, compete more. These things aren’t evil in and of themselves, but balance is key. We’re being told what our lives “should” be and how more is always better when, really, you can’t supersede the true happiness that comes from a sunset, good company, and a bonfire. The joy of a child’s smile. Letting someone go ahead of you at the supermarket and the genuine “thank you” as a result. Or simply doing what you love, not for what it may bring you but because it is what you are called to do. As for me, you couldn’t pay me enough money or offer enough exposure to give up a single item on this list. They each hold more than their weight in gold.

I came upon this eye-opening and quite humbling video on this very topic, spoken from the mouths of successful and recognizable entertainment figures themselves. It truly inspired me to share my story and ask questions that will hopefully help you discover your own motivations behind your drive to succeed in an industry that thrives on narcissism and accolades.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch this video. It brought so much into perspective for me and reinforced my own desire to focus on the truly important things in life; family, education, global awareness, environmental causes… Priorities that will actually make our world a better place. A little less Me, a little more Us. Less narcissism. More altruism. If you shift the focus towards the latter, you change the world…

—J.F.

The Frank Standard Podcast Coming Soon