So, last month, I received a message from a very kind fan who wrote this:
I'd never received a question like this before. And it took me a whole month to answer.
You see, I've actually never thought about how to get famous, and I don’t see myself as “famous.”
You might be thinking, “Whatever, Pagnia!”
See -- the word famous is defined as “known about by many people.” Yes, I know that fame can come with the work that I do, and it is often seen as having a glamorous life. And that makes people interested in what I do. But that’s not how I define myself.
Let me be clear.
Fame has never been a goal of mine. From the very beginning, I've simply set out to do what I love and share it with those who happen to be in the same room. It started with a Hmong children’s choir where my first fans were my own choir members. They rooted me on every time I got a solo. And then it grew from choir members to community members to singing judges to music producers to...YOU. All because I stuck with what I love to do and shared it.
Today, when friends congratulate me on my “fame,” I see it as an indication that my work is impacting others in a positive way – not a goal that I set out for.
In other words, fame is a byproduct of doing what you love and by doing that, it helps others, which then attracts people to you and your work.
A real-life example of what I mean by this is The Kong & Shu Project.
I believe TKSP is one of the most successful bands in Hmong music history, making them one of the most famous bands as well.
With three original albums all in Hmong, TKSP has shared many gifts with the Hmong community and beyond. In 2011, they created the “Hmoob Yuavtsum Hlub Hmoob” collaboration project that now has over 1,000,000 views on YouTube and created unity across the international Hmong community. Also, through their inspiring music, super adorable elementary kids of all colors across the nation have sung their songs for show. And most recently, TKSP performed on the MN Historical Center stage in St. Paul -- being the first Hmong American band to ever play that stage in all of its history.
They're "known about by many people" and they’re only eight years old.
On a recent road trip, I was flipping through the booklet of their latest album, “Carolina Tseem Nco.” Inside were the song lyrics and a timeline of their music history.
In the timeline, it was clear to me that they started out simply doing a hobby, and then sharing it with others. No strings attached.
You see, Kong and Shu are the last guys on earth looking for fame. They're two of the most humble music artists I know -- they don’t use the word “fan” to describe their fans, because they see them as friends. And giving TKSP a compliment is like handing them a $100 bill for no reason -- it's hard for them to accept.
TKSP -- two brothers, from a small North Carolina town, who decided one day to make music, put it out into the world, and then let it take its own course, never saw fame coming.
It just happened to be a part of their path; not something they set out for.
So how do you get famous? My answer to you, dear fan, is:
Don’t let fame be the goal.
Do what you love.
Share it with the world.
And then let it be.
What do you think about fame? Have you had a moment of fame? Or do you have a question you want me to answer? Leave me a comment below and I might just answer it in my next blog! Thank you and until next time…