“Their first album was their best.”
It’s likely that devout fans of music have experienced the familiar feeling of their favorite artists being unable to recreate magic from times past. Their new songs sound overproduced; inorganic. Their interviews unrelatable; their mannerisms off.
The famous wrestling with fame’s traps is a theme as old as fame. It’s a story that’s been told enough times to become a rule. The cream rises to the top, but always seems to spoil before too long.
This article aims to explore why fame is such a difficult cookie to keep from crumbling.
The Special, but Relatable, Rise to Fame
The role that relatability plays in propelling any one individual to fame is habitually underrated and seldom thought about. The things that shine brightest are these people’s traits, skills, attributes, and talents. It’s understandable that our attention would point that way.
Those who captivate the collective gaze shine brighter than their local neighbors. They sing nice melodies, create useful things, and think of novel concepts. They’re special in every sense of the word, but they’re relatable too.
The special people we relate to are those who grew up in conditions similar to ours. They’re the ones who also rode the subway to work before anyone knew their name. They were once unknown to masses, just like we are now.
Public interest in the skilled and famous seems to have a very selfish source. That source embodies vicarious visualization. Interest in fame is interest in the things that fame provides. It is the visualization of owning the same cars, being with the same women, and crowds parting as you walk through.
Fame’s growth compounds as one experiences it.
The more famous an individual becomes, the more intriguing it is to visualize ourselves in their shoes, so the more people want to do it.
That vicarious observation of those who experience fame and fortune is grounded in the knowledge that they were once just like us. Their success not only seems attainable, its progression from rags to riches is easier to parallel with our current trek to attain those riches.
The Problems You Solve Dictate Your Relatability
Relatability is difficult to define in this context.
What makes someone relatable to us? A similarity in appearance can be a factor. The values we identify with can be as well. There are a myriad of factors.
If every one of the factors of relatability is sourced down to a common thing, then the tribulations that riddle life seem to be a common theme. We relate most to people whose difficulties we’ve also felt.
It feels good to learn that our favorite actors once drove the same model of inexpensive car that we drive today. We relate to those similar in appearance because of vulnerabilities and self consciousness we feel surrounding ours. They’ve grown successful despite possessing similar shortcomings. They’ve pushed past barriers keeping us back today; a fact which provides a deep sense of motivation.
Fame’s First Trap
Fame’s initial trap, is an introduction of unique difficulties that riddle the lives of the famous.
Cancelled arena tours, public relations mishaps, and hoards of yes men aren’t issues the average person comes across day to day.
Slowly but surely, fame starts to influence the issues those touched by it need to deal with on a daily basis. They no longer have to wait in a frigid car as it warms up prior to setting off to spend 9 hours at the office. They forget how much a bus fare costs.
Fame prevents the famous from feeling common troubles that enticed the average person to relate early in their journey.
Relatability Can’t Be Faked Until You Suffer Relatable Afflictions
A famous person’s “downward spiral” is a common trope. Drugs cross the line from being fun to being needed and money goes from giving freedom to demanding protection.
Unrelatability’s poison paralyzes.
It keeps you from going out because you’ve solved most people’s common problems. They plead, beg, and holler for a mere picture with you because it’ll place them one step closer to solving their common problems.
The clout they earn from a picture with you will get more eyes on their profile online. They’ll experience a rush, and attention will come their way. A few more instances seen with you, and they’ll amass ten thousand likes. They’ll launch a blog soon enough. Your simple word can change a life, and those with potential lives to be saved know it fully.
You start needing to hide from public view because the vicarious involvement crosses lines. You have new things to worry about, and see yourself drowning in problems very few on Earth have ever come to understand. You’ve become lonesome, unrelatable to others; your thoughts and feelings too.
You’ll be pressured to be more relatable. But how… What problems can the average relate to you by? What would introduce familiar feelings to the picture? Perhaps an admission of your struggles with drugs and mental health will do.