“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” ― Anthony Robbins
Staying consistent as an artiste is very difficult when you have to meet the expectations of your listeners. When you come out with a hit single that leaves your audience asking for more; then it means you have to stay consistent.
Think of a few artistes you know started well, but couldn’t keep up with the demand of producing new albums for their listener. Such people are referred to as “Flashlights” in the industry. It means today you hear about them and tomorrow they are no more.
Talking about consistency, I’ll share a short bio of Diana Ross and show you how she wrote her name in the books of the legends in the R&B and Pop music industry. As a solo artiste, Diana Ross is one of the most successful female singers of the pop era. I maintain this position because if you factor where she started as a lead singer of the Supremes in the 1960s, she is arguably the most successful artiste that went solo from the group.
Diana’s Ross First Group – The Primettes
Diana Ross formed a group called the Primettes in 1959 with her friends Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and Barbara Martin. They were not well known at that time but they consistently performed at live events. This was until 1960 when they got signed to local Motown Records; thus changing their names to The Supremes in 1961. And this was where her journey into stardom began.
As we look at her journey, it’s important to know Diana maintained the following principles to keep her consistent.
1. She wasn’t ruled by emotions:
One major factor that affects the consistency of artistes is their emotions. It’s either they have a fallout with their relationships or personal issues their groups. When artistes get emotional, they make irrational decisions that affect their careers. Irrational decisions that make them fall into competitions making them lose their focus on the big goal. Diana Ross would have fallen into this trap; when Barbara Martin left their group. But instead, they continued as a trio. And over the next eight years, the Supremes was renamed “Diana Ross and the Supremes” in 1967, when Cindy Birdsong replaced Ballard. Ross focus kept the group going when Barbara Martins Left and Birdsong got replaced.
2. She launched her solo career
This applies to artiste in bands and groups. Most of the time, you see a member of a group not being serious and doesn’t come for rehearsals. It’s just as if you’re trying to push such people to do what they are not passionate about. You need to take a major decision to either remain with them or make the next move. The issue sometimes might be complicated issues of members disagreeing over roles or money. No matter what the case may be, make the final decision to either go solo or give a permanent solution to the issue; If not that may be the end of your career.
After “Someday We’ll Be Together” in October 1969, her last single with the group; Diana Ross launched a solo career. Motown initially paired her with writer/producers Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, who gave her four Top 40 pop hits, including the number one “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (July 1970).
3. She branched into acting movies
Don’t be surprised when you see musicians acting, this is one way to still keep them in the heart and mind of their fans. Apart from the money they making acting movies, it is also a strategy to keep them in the limelight before they release the next hit single. Diana Ross did the same; she branched out into acting, starring in a film biography of Billie Holiday, Lady Sings the Blues in November 1972. The soundtrack went to number one, and Ross was nominated for an Academy Award. She returned to record-making with the Top Ten album “Touch Me in the Morning” in June 1973 and its chart-topping title song. This was followed by a duet album with Marvin Gaye, Diana & Marvin in October 1973 that produced three chart hits. She acted other movies along her journey to stardom and became a prominent face in Hollywood. Diana Ross featured in movies like Mahogany, The Wiz, etc.
Listen to: “Diana Ross – Someone that you loved before”
4. She collaborated with other artistes
The easiest way to win new fans and listeners into your fan base is through collaboration. You can do this by featuring with popular artists. Collaboration gives credibility, increases your fan base and opens you to new opportunities. In June 1981, Ross scored the biggest hit of her career with another movie theme, duetting with Lionel Richie on “Endless Love”. It was her last big hit on Motown; after over 20 years as she decamped for RCA.
5. She worked very hard
Ross definitely had her own share of challenges in her relationships, finance and other issues of life. But it never stopped her from always working on a new album. She was consistent in releasing new albums amidst what she went through in life. Ross had life issues that were not hidden you can check them up on the internet. Even as she went through tough issues she was always working in the studio.
So as an artiste you have no excuse, you have to release that next album.
She kept on releasing albums that made a million sales and singles that kept her in the top of the pop chart in her time. Diana was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 by President Obama.
If Diana’s issues couldn’t stop her until she became a legend, what’s your excuse?