Yesterday I caught a video on Money Magazine’s Instagram feed that suggested I was living under a rock if I hadn’t heard of a new music artist and his hit song with over 70 million views on YouTube. And, apparently, I was, because I hadn’t yet heard the song Old Town Road by rapper/country music artist Lil Nas X.
Since, I’ve had the song and Lil Nas X in my head. And not just because Old Town Road is an incredibly addictive ear worm. Also, the story behind how the song became a hit is a lesson in taking a risk on something you’re passionate about.
Lil Nas X quit university to try to make it in the music business. He obtained the music to Old Town Road for $30, and practiced singing with country nuances. Once he had the song recorded, I’m sure he knew he had a hit on his hands. But he didn’t let not having a record label or big bucks for a music video stop him from getting his song out there. Just check out the low-budget original video for the song that he posted to YouTube below – click the image to be directed to the link. It’s actually made up of scenes from a video game!
After the first music video was online, the song blew up. Big-wigs in the music industry caught wind of it, and then Lil Nas X caught his big break.
The song now has a new remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, with a big-budget video with a cameo by Chris Rock. Lil Nas X now has a record deal and other profitable partnerships on the table too. Catch the slick new video below, just in case you were also living under a rock and haven’t seen it yet.
Ain’t that catchy?
So, the other reason that I’ve got Lil Nas X on my mind is this: He gambled that “done” was better than “perfect,” and he won. Big time.
He knew he had a hit song so to get it out there, he released it online with a lame music video. Lil Nas X took action, rather than waiting for the “perfect” moment. Because his song was so good, the pieces fell into place once it was public.
He also seems to be carving out a new niche with a hip hop and country hybrid song. He had no way to know this unique song would be successful, but he followed his passion anyway.
Not waiting for the perfect time to take action, and following a passion, are things that I’m sure many of us struggle with. I’ve recently written about letting perfection become an excuse. This story is motivation to act and stay passionate when feeling low confidence or after a setback. A similar approach can be used for crushing your personal goals, tackling projects at work, starting a business, or applying for your dream job.
Has Lil Nas X’s story encouraged you in some way? Share in the comments.