102 Famous Musicians That Were College Dropouts

102 musicians that were college dropouts

Who were the Committee of Ten?

They were a group of college educators that, in 1892 established the American High School education system.

Their standardization would separate the college bound and working class students from the start. In other words this group created the grades K-12.

Their curriculum established how we think today as a society of automatons, brainwashed with the idea of: Go to school, get good grades, go to college, work for an employer for 40 years, retire and die.

Sorry, to be blunt. =)

Many working musicians today are also a victim of this insanity with mounds of debt. I’d like to state that God did not create us as slaves or automatons, but as free thinkers, and creators.

In God We Trust.

Not! In Government We Trust!

I’d like to throw out a list of known musicians that dropped out of school and still achieved success.

I’m not anti education I’m anti-unnecessary education tagged with a high price tag.

Our society as a whole has indoctrinated us to believe that we need costly college education in order to succeed as musicians, or songwriters and in general.

Far from the truth..

The current list of successful musicians proves my point.

102 Famous Musicians that were college dropouts.


  1. Bryan Adams, singer, songwriter. High school dropout.
  2. William Adams, aka Will.i.am, singer, songwriter, music producer, founder of the Black Eyed Peas, actor, entrepreneur. Never attended college.
  3. Adele, Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, singer. Intended to go to college but got signed to a recording deal just after her high school graduation.
  4. Trace Adkins, country music singer. Attended Louisiana Tech University but never officially graduated. Worked on an oil rig instead.
  5. Christina Aguilera, singer, songwriter. Never finished high school.
  6. Peter Allen, singer, songwriter, composer. High school dropout
  7. Rick Allen, member of Def Leppard. High school dropout.
  8. Billie Joe Armstrong, front man for Green Day punk rock band. High school dropout.
  9. Louis Armstrong, jazz musician. Dropped out of high school.
  10. Eddy Arnold, country music singer and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. He debuted at the Grand Ole Opry in 1943. Between 1945 and 1983, 145 of his songs made the country charts, with 28 of them at #1. He sold more than 85 million records.
  11. Chet Atkins, country singer. High school dropout.
  12. Mickey Baker, rhythm and blues guitarist. Did not finish high school.
  13. Count Basie, bandleader, pianist. Dropped out of high school.
  14. Natasha Bedingfield, singer. Dropped out of college after her freshman year to pursue a music career. Her Unwritten album debuted at #1 in England.
  15. André Benjamin, aka André 3000, rapper, singer, songwriter, member of OutKast. Dropped out of high school.
  16. Tony Bennett, aka Anthony Benedetto, singer, artist. Attended New York City’s High School of Industrial Art but dropped out at the age of 16.
  17. Irving Berlin, Oscar-winning songwriter, composer. When his father died when he was 8 years old, he had to work to survive. Wrote such long-lasting hits as God Bless America, White Christmas, There’s No Business Like Show Business, etc.
  18. Chuck Berry, rock singer. High school dropout, left in the 11th grade.
  19. Clint Black, Grammy-winning country singer, songwriter, record producer, actor. Dropped out of Stratford High School in Houston, Texas.
  20. Mary J. Blige, Grammy-winning singer, songwriter. Dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade.
  21. Michael Bolton, Grammy-winning singer, songwriter. High school dropout.
  22. David Bowie, singer, songwriter, actor, record producer. Sold 136 million records. May not have graduated from high school.
  23. Ray Charles, singer. Dropped out of high school.
  24. Kelly Clarkson, pop singer. Got several college music scholarships but passed on them to move to Los Angeles to pursue a singing career.
  25. Phil Collins, singer, songwriter, drummer, keyboardist. Never attended college. Solo singer as well as lead singer for Genesis.
  26. Sean John Combs, rapper, producer, fashion designer, entertainer, actor, and entrepreneur. Did not finish college.
  27. Harry Connick, Jr., Grammy-winning pianist, singer, actor. Has sold over 25 million albums. At the age of 18, he left New Orleans to move to New York City. Did study at Loyola University, Hunter College, and the Manhattan School of Music, but apparently did not graduate.
  28. Miley Cyrus, singer, actress. Did not attend college.
  29. Sammy Davis, Jr., singer, actor. Never finished high school.
  30. Jimmy Dean, singer, songwriter, actor. Dropped out in the 9th grade to join the Merchant Marines at the age of 16. After getting out of the Air Force, he and his band, the Texas Wildcats, developed a following in Washington state
  31. Snoop Dogg, rapper and actor. Never attended college.
  32. Bob Dylan, singer and songwriter. Dropped out of the University of Minnesota and moved to New York City to seek out his idol Woody Guthrie.
  33. Duke Ellington, bandleader, composer. Dropped out of high school.
  34. Fergie, aka Stacy Ann Ferguson, singer, songwriter. A straight A student and cheerleader in high school. Never attended college.
  35. Ella Fitzgerald, singer. Dropped out of high school.
  36. Caleb Followill, rock musician, Kings of Leon. Has not yet attended college.
  37. Nathan Followill, rock musician, Kings of Leon. Has not yet attended college.
  38. Lady Gaga, aka Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, rock singer and songwriter. Dropped out of NYU at the age of 19 to pursue her music career full time.
  39. George Gershwin, songwriter, composer. High school dropout.
  40. Dizzy Gillespie, musician, songwriter. Dropped out of high school.
  41. Benny Goodman, clarinetist, bandleader. Dropped out of high school.
  42. Beck Hansen, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist. Dropped out of high school to pursue his musical career.
  43. Jimi Hendrix, rock ‘n roll guitarist. A high school dropout.
  44. Whitney Houston, Grammy-winning singer and actress. At the age of 19, she was discovered singing in a New York City supper club by Clive Davis, who immediately signed her to a contract with Arista Records. Her first album, and the next six, all went multi-platinum. She is in theGuinness Book of World Records for being the most awarded female artist of all time.
  45. Gregory Isaacs, reggae singer. Did not attend college.
  46. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson III, rapper, entrepreneur, producer, actor, book author, amateur boxer. Dropped out of high school in the 10th grade.
  47. Etta James, singer, queen of R&B. Signed as a recording artist when she was still a teenager. Never attended college.
  48. Quincy Jones, musician, composer, music producer, music executive, and more. Attended the Berklee College of Music but left when he got the opportunity to tour with Lionel Hampton’s band as a trumpeter, arranger, and pianist.
  49. Toby Keith, country music singer. After high school, he joined his father to work in the oil fields.
  50. Alicia Keys, singer and songwriter. Graduated from New York’s Professional Performing Arts School at age 16. She enrolled at Columbia University but dropped out after a semester to sign with Columbia Records.
  51. Jewel Kilcher, singer and songwriter. Scored a major recording contract at the age of 18. Her first album sold 11 million copies. Has not attended college.
  52. B.B. King, blues musician, songwriter, and legend. Never finished high school.
  53. Chad Kroeger, frontman for Nickelback rock group. In aPlayboy magazine interview, he noted that “I didn’t go to school. I mean, after the eighth or ninth grade, I don’t remember going to school five days out of the week, ever.” He was a few credits short of graduating from high school when he left school and took to the road.
  54. Nick Lachey, singer and actor. “I was trying to be an athletic trainer. That’s what I was studying in school when I quit to do music.”
  55. Miranda Lambert, country singer. Began singing as a professional while still in high school. Did not attend college.
  56. Cyndi Lauper, singer, songwriter, actress. Left home at 17 to work a number of odd jobs and sing in bars until she was able to break through as a bestselling singer.
  57. Avril Lavigne, singer, songwriter. Dropped out of high school.
  58. Demi Lovato, singer and actress. Did not attend college.
  59. Bruno Mars, singer, songwriter, music producer. After graduating from high school, he moved to Los Angeles and signed with Motown Records.
  60. John Mayer, Grammy-winning singer and songwriter. Left the Berklee College of Music after two semesters to pursue a singing career in Atlanta, Georgia.
  61. Martina McBride, country music singer. After high school, she traveled around Kansas playing and singing with various bands. Did not attend college.
  62. Bret Michaels, rock singer, reality TV show star. Graduated high school with a GED degree. Has not attended college.
  63. Nicki Minaj, aka Onika Tanya Maraj, singer and songwriter. After graduating from high school, she worked as a waitress and other odd jobs while trying to land a record deal.
  64. Moby, author, rock star, tea-shop proprietor. Sold more than 15 million albums. A college dropout.
  65. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, classical music composer and performer. In his early years, his father taught him music, languages, and other academic subjects. He never attended high school or college.
  66. Sinead O’Connor, singer. Never attended college.
  67. George Alan O’Dowd, aka Boy George, singer, songwriter, fashion designer, photographer. High school dropout. Never attended college.
  68. John Michael “Ozzy” Osbourne, heavy metal singer, songwriter, and reality TV star. Left school at the age of 15.
  69. Charlie “Bird” Parker, jazz musician and father of modern jazz. Attended Lincoln High School in Kansas City, Missouri but left after a year and a half to join the local musicians union.
  70. Katy Perry, singer. Left home at the age of 14 to make it on her own in Nashville; then moved to Los Angeles at the age of 17. Did not attend college.
  71. Lisa Marie Presley, singer. Dropped out of high school.
  72. Usher Raymond IV, quadruple platinum singer. He won the Star Search male teen vocalist competition when he was 18. He was signed to a music label immediately thereafter.
  73. Trent Rezner, musician, Nine Inch Nails. Dropped out of Allegheny College after one year to pursue a career in music.
  74. Charlie Rich, Grammy-winning country and blues singer and songwriter. Dropped out of the University of Arkansas to join the Air Force.
  75. Rihanna, aka Robyn Rihanna Fenty, singer, actress. At the age of 15, she formed a singing trio in Barbados. At the age of 16, she went to live with songwriter Evan Rogers and his wife in Connecticut. At the age of 17, she signed a singing contract with Def Jam records. Has not yet attended college.
  76. Asher Roth, hip hop artist, I Love College hit song. Dropped out of West Chester University after being signed.
  77. Kelly Rowland, singer. Has not yet attended collage.
  78. Seal, aka Seal henry Olusugun Olumide Adeola Samuel, R&B singer and songwriter. He received a two-year associate’s degree in architecture. He struck out on his own at the age of 15.
  79. Shakira, aka Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, Grammy-winning singer and songwriter who has sold more than 50 million albums. Attended a modeling school for awhile.
  80. Blake Shelton, country singer, reality competition panelist. Left home right after high school and went to Nashville to try to make it as a country singer. Never attended college.
  81. Robert Sherman, Oscar-winning songwriter. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the Army. After World War II, he returned to write a novel but was soon encouraged to partner with his brother Richard in writing songs
  82. Harper Simon, musician son of singer/songwriter Paul Simon. Enrolled at the Berklee College of Music but quit before graduating.
  83. Will Smith, Grammy-winning rapper, actor. Did not attend college. As the Fresh Prince, he and DJ Jazzy Jeff released their first album before he finished high school. They received the first Grammy for a hip-hop act. Due to the success of that first album, Smith decided to forgo college for show business.
  84. Phoebe Snow, singer, songwriter. Dropped out of college to perform in clubs and coffeehouses.
  85. Britney Spears, singer, actress, youngest woman to have five albums debut at #1 on the Billboard list. Dropped out of high school.
  86. Jamie Lynn Spears, actress. Dropped out of high school.
  87. Rick Springfield, singer and actor. Never attended college.
  88. Bruce Springsteen, Grammy-winning and Oscar-winning singer and songwriter. Never attended college.
  89. Ringo Starr, drummer for the Beatles. He did not attend college.
  90. Gwen Stefani, singer and songwriter, No Doubt. Struggled in school. Never attended college.
  91. Barbra Streisand, singer and actress. Started her singing career at the age of 18. Did not attend college.
  92. Taylor Swift, singer and songwriter. Released her first album at the age of 16; left high school at the same age. Has not yet attended college.
  93. Ashley Tisdale, singer and actress. Has not yet attended college.
  94. Derek Trucks, singer and musician. Attended high school on the road while playing for the Allman Brothers Band. Never attended college.
  95. Donnie Wahlberg Jr., singer (New Kids on the Block), actor, music producer. Never attended college. Started his singing career at the age of 15.
  96. Lil Wayne (Dwayne Carter), rapper. Never attended college.
  97. Kanye West, rapper, record producer. Attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago for one semester and then transferred to Chicago State University, but dropped out to focus on his music career. Had a hit album called The College Dropout.
  98. Gretchen Wilson, country singer. Quit school after the eighth grade. Finally earned her GED equivalency degree in 2009.
  99. Lee Ann Womack, country music singer. Attended South Plains Junior College for one year. Then took a few classes at Belmont University. Never graduated.
  100. Adam Yauch, aka MCA of the Beastie Boys, rapper, songwriter, film director, Buddhist. He attended Bard College for two years before dropping out.
  101. Jay-Z (Shawn Carter), rapper, entrepreneur, owner of Rocawear clothing, co-owner of New Jersey Nets basketball team. Never attended college. “I’m a thinker. I figure things out. I don’t have a high level of education, but I’m practical–and I have great instincts.”
  102. Frank Zappa, rock musician. Probably dropped out of college. As he noted in liner notes for his Freak Out album, “Drop out of school before your mind rots from our mediocre educational system.


The purpose of this list is to show that expensive college degrees were not catalysts for their success.

The accumulation of the list was referenced from collegedropoutshalloffame.com

I will repeat. I am not anti-education. This monster list shows that all one needs is a true desire, and persistence.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:7

I should create a shirt with this verse on it.

You’re probably wondering why I’m I addressing this issue.

The reason is our society has endowed with fear and obedience and in turn controls our futures. We need to break these sacred cows.

Don’t hesitate to voice your opinion in the comments section below.

You guy are awesome!

And please let me know. Was higher education a key component to your success?

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Diana April 3, 2016, 5:45 am

    This list has helped me so much, thank you so much for posting!

    • Roland De Aragon April 5, 2016, 12:30 am

      You’re welcome, any questions don’t hesitate to ask. 🙂

  • Claire May 1, 2016, 1:43 am

    Everyone, including my friends and family, are telling me that I need to finish high school and I NEED to go to college, and it’s really putting me down…

    • Roland De Aragon May 2, 2016, 3:44 pm

      Hi Claire, Well I can tell you this, I’m a college dropout, not because I didn’t want to go, but because I was forced to take classes that had nothing to do with my goals. Pressure from family is always hard, go to school, get good grades, go to college, get a good job, be a slave for 40 years, retire then die. This will not make you successful, history has proven this. Passion and persistence is key. As for your parents I would say at least finish high school to make your parents happy, after that your an adult and it’s your decision. College debt has surpassed over a trillion dollars, tell that to your parents. If you’re a musician then you need to learn entrepreneurship in order to succeed.

      • Alohan Elvis February 23, 2017, 9:32 am

        Like seriously, am a young talented dude with just two career which are : An hip-hop dancer and a footballer but my dad is not really concerned about those career, he only cares about schooling stuff, but right am doing just too bad in school, no good grades…..I speak English but am learning and speaking with Italian and it’s really difficult for me, my dad keep pressurising me to do well in school bkoz most of his friends son’s and daughters are doing great…He doesn’t want to understand my part…….Don’t know what to do

        • Roland De Aragon February 23, 2017, 5:11 pm

          Hi friend, that’s very hard on everyone when your parents obviously don’t get it. My mother didn’t get it for awhile, until she started getting involved. The system and establishment that we both grew up in was created for us to think a certain way. Therefore anything contrary to that, is deemed unacceptable.

          I would say this, you need the tools in order to get ahead in life, it also depends on your environment. If there’s a certain skill you need to get ahead in your career, then you need to pick up your pants and learn that skill. Successful people are successful because they struggle through roads that block them and if it’s skill they don’t particularly like, then they learn it no matter what, because it will get them ahead in their dreams. If you’re in USA, then you need basic english skills, you don’t have to be a genius, just proficient. If I was living in Italy, then I would definitely learn the language.

          If you want something bad, you must do whatever it takes to get it. As long as you don’t harm anyone in the process, physically or steal from them. Your father was raised in that way of thinking he might change he might not. You can’t force him to change, only show him. As long as your an adult, you’re free to choose. =)

    • joe September 21, 2016, 4:29 am

      awww. God forbid you listen and take something to heart that makes sense because it’s not “fun” and bums you out. By all means, just do the “fun” things in life, don’t listen to common sense and logic. Who cares about bummers like life and reality? Ignore that. That attitude will get you far!

      lol. right.

      Hate to give you another bummer, but just maybe it’s time to grow up and see the world as it is, not as you wish it was. The time for fantasyland is over. Welcome to life.

  • Ishwor Pathak May 12, 2016, 9:31 pm

    This is my last year of my high school, I know already that I am not gonna make this at all. While my interest was and still is in music my parents made me to join science, because I was good in Science related subjects during my childhood. They still think I can. I write poems and song’s lyrics, but they think that it gives no fruit at all.
    Still two month to graduate but I have zero hope. In class I sit drawing some stuffs. At home opening book makes me write some poem or lyrics. I play guitar, not extreme good, but enjoy my song singing with guitar.
    I don’t how to convince my parents.
    Passion fruits, pressure fades.

    • josh November 7, 2016, 5:38 am

      same bro but it dont matter man,if jimi hendrix can make it then we can to,like eminem said,you can do anything you set your mind to man

  • Vineel May 21, 2016, 4:59 am

    Wow I honestly didn’t know that there were SO many artists without a college degree. Thanks a lot buddy! I’m an aspiring rapper and DJ, and I’d definitely show this list to my parents!

  • Besungu Nelson July 30, 2016, 5:08 am

    I Wanted To Be A Musician But I Was Thinking That Music Without School Is Useles Thank You Very Much

  • joe September 21, 2016, 4:31 am

    I think the vast majority of successful artists – in any genre – probably do not have a degree. That doesn’t mean it makes sense to blow off college, though. Your odds of getting a job – and a far better job – are much better (generally) if you have a degree.

    That however does not likely apply to a degree in music.

  • Hailey September 30, 2016, 10:52 pm

    Now I can prove to my parents that I don actually need to go to collage (all though it would be nice) to be a successful singer! Thank you so much!

    • Roland De Aragon October 25, 2016, 4:08 pm

      Glad I can help. =)

  • josh November 7, 2016, 5:32 am

    im a metalcore guitarist and i was wondering if you had any ideas as to what i can do to convince my parents that i dont need eccesive math or history, like seriuosly who even gives a fuck about buzz aldrin

    • Roland De Aragon November 7, 2016, 5:51 pm

      I believe history is extremely important, because if we don’t know the past we are doomed to repeat it. Buzz Aldrin was one the first men in space, I think that’s a basic fact the every american should know. But as far as the excessive unnecessary education american public education force us is totally useless for success. Convincing parents is hard, because we grew up in a system where we’re taught to go to school, get good grades, go to college, graduate, work for someone for 40 years, retire, then die. We’ve been lied to. Education is very important, but the question is which type of education? Clearly not American education, the World PISA exams ranked US education in the 30’s.

      China is number one in education. USA sucks! What musicians lack is business skills that is why parents think it’s hard to make it in the music biz. Musicians don’t want to learn music business and I understand, but it’s important for your success, especially in todays world. Show your parents this site, http://www.oecd.org/pisa/home/ and check out how USA ranks in education. Maybe that’ll help. =)

  • Shara November 8, 2016, 7:08 am

    i am 22 year old. i am in the last year of my engineering.. and i have a huge pile of backlogs to clear. i always knew that i want to be a musician but i ddnt have the guts to leave behind everything and pursue music. i dont go college but rather stay at home singing and playing my keys. i dont want to kill the musician inside me. and i dont want to screw my parents money and happiness. i dont even know how to proceed in life. i am so screwed and disheartened. i always wanted to study arts. but just because i had a good score in high school.. they admitted me to science and when i got into engineering, it got worse. i dont like to discuss technical stuff. i feel its so heartless.. and the subjects dont interest me at all. i hate learning about functioning of motors… please help. i need motivation in life.

    • Roland De Aragon November 8, 2016, 6:12 pm

      Hi, Shara. That’s a hard predicament, you don’t want to displease your parents. The thing, is your digging yourself in a hole, and it keeps getting bigger. At your age you need to make a hard decision. Pursue college and make your parents happy and yourself miserable or pursue music and become happy and your parents miserable. Either way someone is going to become miserable. At the end day when you lay your head to sleep are you happy? If not, do something about it, make a plan and put it into action.

      Will you make mistakes? Of course, everybody fails, but the most successful musicians ever, failed more than you think, but they wanted it more than anything.

      Click on this link https://www.nextbigsound.com/industry-report/2013. Here you’ll see that 90.7% of musicians are struggling. That’s 90.7%! Why is that? The answer is, musicians lack certain skills, which creates a cliche that says “If wanna be a successful working musician, then find a real job.”

      The skills that musicians and artists lack are relationship and entrepreneurship skills… If all music schools skills taught these skills, that 90.7% could come down to 50% or less and then becoming a musician a would be just another job. Not a dream, but a reachable reality. Learn these skills and watch your chances grow. This site teaches basics, just go through and start learning. Hope that helps.

  • Shesha December 14, 2016, 5:07 am

    Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, even Einstein never attended college! DO NOT let grades and level of education define you. Everyone has natural ability go find it!

  • Mike January 7, 2017, 6:33 pm

    I’m aspiring to be a musician/rapper. I just recently left college, because it was never something I wanted to do. The only thing is, aside from being a musician, I don’t know what to do for a living that I’d be able to support myself with(make a decent amount of money ti live off of). Any suggestions?

    • Roland De Aragon January 9, 2017, 2:02 am

      Hey Mike, thanks for commenting. You know I had the same issue, but there are tons of music industry type jobs that you can apply for. Here’s list of 44 music career choices that you might find interesting. http://thinkingmusician.com/44-music-careers-to-choose-from

      It’s always important to do something that you love and remember there are always pros and cons in every field. The question is, how respond to it and how badly do you want it?


  • Karthik January 25, 2017, 5:22 am

    I am 18 years old and im a good guitarist and singer. My dream is to be a singer , i love singing. But my parents forced me to join engineering and everyday i feel like drowning in a sea and loosing my hope on music – i fail in subjects and have 70% backlogs in just 1st sem. All i have in my mind to quit engineering and learn more in music but to convince my parents is always a big deal like they never gonna understand they say that no jobs are available in music and if i persue music as my full time and fail as a musician I don’t have a backup to survive. But im confident that i would succeed or if I don’t atleast it gives me a satisfaction of attempting a try in a passion what i love

    • Roland De Aragon January 25, 2017, 6:05 pm

      Hi there, I completely understand your dilemma. Grant Cardone a well known successful millionaire investor, has a book called “Be Obsessed or Be Average”. If you think about it all successful musicians from Michael Jackson to Lady Gaga or even Beatles were “Obsessed”. If that’s you then you need to pick up that book. I’m not plugging the book but it’s a great read.

      It’s tough when your parents are providing for you because if they are, then they can dictate your life and many young adults rebel against it. Just like myself I grew up in that same mindset because public schools teach us how to be employees not employers. This site teaches three skills all musicians need and that’s: Musicianship, relationships and entrepreneurship.

      There are many music jobs out there in the world, here’s a link to many different music jobs in different music categories. Check it out and let me know what you think. Click here.

  • J. Ray March 23, 2017, 5:31 pm

    Let me share some insight. I am 40 years old, and writing a song entitled “stuck in neutral”. Let me explain. When I was fresh out of high school, I took a year off to just find myself. During this time, I was in a couple different bands. I signed up for whatever I could to be the next big name. I did community theatre, commercials, stand up comedy, and every open mic I could to showcase my songwriting skills. At the same time, voices from all kinds of people around me kept emphasizing the importance of a college degree. I attended 2 semesters at a community college, paid for myself. I quickly learned that I was learning more outside of school, by getting the real life exposure to the stage and studios. Also at the time, to put food on my table and to pay for school, I began working as a pharmacy technician. ( assisting pharmacists). This does not require college, but requires a certificate. So I studied on my own and got certified. My girlfriend at the time was in college. Her parents were all about college. They were pretty well off as far as income. I was not. My parents always let me choose my own path. But my girlfriend, her parents, and my boss at work kept encouraging me to pursue going to pharmacy school, which is pretty much as much schooling as it is to become a doctor. I was flattered that they saw potential in me to pursue such a noble career. But here’s the thing…I couldn’t stand the college classes that I took for pre reqs. I struggled. I suck at math. I eventually dropped out and dumped my girlfriend. I joined a band and did a small gig in Vegas. But by now, I had financial obligations. A new truck payment, because I needed reliable transportation for gigs. I had rent. I eventually got sick of letting everyone’s voices influence every move I made. So I basically rebelled at that point, and lived a bit wild and careless from that point. I met the love of my life, got married and had children. I have absolutely no regrets. I provide my family the best I can with my job as a pharmacy technician. But here is my point. I got “stuck in neutral”. I never got into full gear with the pharmacist plan, and I never got into full gear with the successful musician plan. I am a pharmacy tech, father that gigs on the side in a band. I still write my own music. Here is my advise for you younger people trying to figure it out. Whatever you decide…rather it be college degree, or rather it be to not go to college…do it with your full heart. Do it 100%. Do not do something half ass because you let all the other voices push you this way or that. You cannot make everybody happy. Here is what I tell my 2 beautiful children on a daily basis. My son is a teen now, and has a passion for animals. He will make a great zoologist one day. He could be the next Steve Irwin. My daughter wants to own her own bakery one day. I tell my kids all the time. To harness your passion, and commit yourself 100%. If that means getting a degree, then go get it. If that means learning straight with onhand experience, then so be it. But do it with all you got. Make IT your full time priority. Michael Jackson said that no matter what you do for a living…if your a performer, then be the best performer ever. If your an engineer, then be the best engineer. If your a janitor, then be the best janitor. Don’t hate, or be ashamed of what you do, or like to do. Give it all you got.

  • Collins April 11, 2017, 5:14 pm

    Hi, Am so so passionate in deejaying, i spend most of my college time in a studio and gigs than in school and my parents don’t want me to do it full time instead they insist i finish my statistics course then work in a bank my uncle head’s.I feel like am doomed crushed in a corner.After reading this article i feel inspired and knows that there are other people who feels the same as me. Any advice for me?

    • Roland De Aragon April 12, 2017, 4:39 pm

      Hey Collins what’s up? Thanks for commenting. We all grew up in a culture where it’s been drilled into you since birth, that we need to go to school, because that’s they key to success. That my friend is a bunch of bull, for most people at least. It’s the wealthy people that created the K-12 schooling system in the 19th century, because they needed employee’s.

      Do you think the rich people teach their kids like public education does?? Heck, no!

      Just remember this if you intend to make money deejaying, than you’re gonna be broke for a long time. What you need is to learn how to market and sell your skills. That’s the key, sales and marketing. You can have the baddest album in the country but if you can’t sell it, than it’s just a hobby and you’re crossing your fingers that something will happen.

      Think like a music entrepreneur, (Puff Daddy, Jay Z, Paul McCartney, 50 Cent). That’s what this site is all about. Wealthy musicians know how to market and sell their product, that’s why their wealthy. Pick up those skills at school if they have them, most big schools don’t emphasize on sales and marketing, but if they do then master it.

  • Pratik June 13, 2017, 11:46 am

    It’s really motivating … But .. I’m still confused about my Goals .. what I really truly want .. I’m 23 and I’m a college dropout ..2years ago .. I watched so many motivational video .. or some videos.. how to find your true inner calling .. .. if u have any suggestions for me please reply me ..

    • Roland De Aragon June 13, 2017, 4:42 pm

      When I was 23 all I wanted to be was a professional bass player. Now, I’m a musician, educator, best-selling author, cartoonist and entrepreneur. There’s no way I could have predicted that. I did become a pro bass player, but after many factors I realized if I wanted to become wealthy or successful as a musician there were a lot of bureaucracy to go through.

      You have to really ask yourself what’s the one activity you could spend hours doing without ever becoming tired? Instead it makes you alive and energized. Hopefully, it’s not drugs or porn. 😉 For me it was music and entrepreneurship education, helping others gave me a high. I loved performing but the high only lasted awhile. When someone asks a question or needs helps I jump to the opportunity. Which is probably why I’m writing too much right now.

      I love music and art and I’m glad that what I do in life helps benefit others and that gives me a high. It may take awhile to figure out, and you may have to try out certain things they you have never tried before.

      Remember to ask yourself, what do you love doing that you can spend hours doing without tiring?

      Hope that helps.

      R.D. Aragon

  • Anna Hornback July 24, 2017, 7:01 am

    I am 20 years old I will be 21 in November 2017! And I’m at a crossroads, I’ve turned to many people for advice. I feel like everyone is right, I have finished one year off college, getting my associates degree, and also in the process of getting my personal trainers certificate too! But I’m loaded down with bills and to me I just want to take a year off and pay off some bills and focus of doing covers of songs and getting myself out there and focusing on music! It’s the only thing that makes me feel like me and alive! But everyone keeps telling me that “realisticly” that doesn’t happen! But deep down I believe I could make it if I really put my heart and soul into it! But at the same time idk if I should go ahead and get my associates and then try and do music! So they can’t fuss, or if I should say screw it and just finish my personal trainer certificate (which fitness is something I like) and just do that and focus on music! I’m just lost! But looking at this just confirms the feelings I have deep down that I’m right!

    • Roland De Aragon July 24, 2017, 4:48 pm

      I tried to get my associates in music over 15 years ago, they required me to take english, math, sociology, etc… What do these classes have to do with music??, I asked myself. Nothing! So I dropped the classes, and only took music classes. Did I get my AA degree? Nope!

      I dropped out of college and since then I’ve toured the world playing music, recorded several albums. I was a music professor and taught and influenced thousands of students at Yamaha Music Academy. Published 6 books, two have been amazon best-sellers. Am I stinking rich?? Nope, but I’m headed there very soon.

      I write about this on this entire site, the key skill added to your own music skills is “Entrepreneurship”. Learn it and master it.

      God Bless

Leave a Comment