Contact Us

Rodney Crowell on Art vs. Commerce: ‘I Want to Be an Artist’

Rodney Crowell
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

It’s obvious that the music industry has changed a lot since Rodney Crowell got started in the ’70s.

In an interview with Yahoo Music, Crowell says that the atmosphere around songwriting has shifted drastically, with more of a focus now on earning rather than artistry.

“Songwriting in 1972 was less about making money and more about finding your voice — finding the poetry,” he states. “No thought to what the earning power of any given song was — we all assumed if we wrote a good song, the money would come in the mail — and it did. Whereas now, whatever you write has gotta earn that money pretty quickly. If it doesn’t, the shelf life of songwriting is very short.”

But Crowell’s advice to artists hoping to break into the scene hasn’t changed from the advice he was given when he got started.

“Someone once said to me when I was a young man, ‘Look. you’re talented — you can pursue stardom. It’s a good thing. There’s nothing wrong with stardom. Or you could pursue artistry. Stardom is fleeting — the shelf life could be short, it could be long,’” he says. “It just so happened the person that was telling me that, at that time, was an artist. Somebody I admired very much. And I said, I want to be an artist … I’m going to dedicate myself to the process of realizing I want to be an artist.”

Crowell may have gone into the business solely seeking artistry, but he’s also achieved a level of stardom that most don’t.

“I think my 15 minutes of stardom happened 20 years ago — and, to be honest, was not as fulfilling as the notion right now that I’m getting better at what I do. Certainly better at what I do now than I was in that 15 minutes in the spotlight,” he says. “So the artist path was the right one for me.”

Next: The Top Country Love Songs

Best of the Web

More From Around the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://theboot.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on The Boot quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on The Boot quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!