Success stories: inspiring adult musicians who started late

By lmt-editorDecember 22, 2023
Est. Reading: 9 minutes

Ever thought success was only for the young? Think again! Success can happen at any age. Let's explore this concept and see that age doesn't limit success. We're about to dive into stories of musicians who hit the big time later in life, proving it's never too late to make your mark. Forget the idea that success is a sprint—these tales show it's more like a marathon, and everyone's got their own pace.

Picture this: someone with loads of life experience striking gold in business or creating a masterpiece in their later years. These stories break free from the idea that success is a race against time, showing that the best victories come to those who keep at it, no matter their age.

Like a fine wine getting better with time, these late bloomers teach us that success isn't just for the early risers. It's for those who keep chasing their dreams, no matter what the clock says.

So, whether you're just starting out or finding your way later in life, these stories are here to boost your spirits. Success isn't about age; it's about sticking with your passions and believing that your time to shine is always around the corner. Join us in celebrating these victories that prove it's never too late to hit the big time!

Image of Charles Bradley singing

Charles Bradley

Famously dubbed the "Screaming Eagle of Soul," kicked-off his musical adventure at the age of 51. Initially working as a James Brown impersonator, Bradley's talent caught the right eyes, leading to his discovery. Remarkably, at the age of 62, he released his debut album, "No Time for Dreaming," marking the beginning of a soulful journey to stardom.

Bradley's captivating performances and his unique voice propelled him to fame later in life, proving that passion and talent can illuminate one's path, regardless of when it begins. His story serves as a potent testament to the timeless nature of success in soul music, emphasising that age is merely a number in this soulful journey to triumph.

Image of Sharon Jones smiling while singing

Sharon Jones

A powerhouse in soul and funk, kicked off her music journey at the age of 40. Leading the band Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, she quickly gained acclaim for their authentic sound and lively stage presence. Despite starting later than many, Jones became a respected figure in the soul music scene.

With numerous albums and Grammy nominations, her late start didn't hold her back from leaving an indelible mark in the world of music. Sharon Jones' story is a testament to the timeless nature of talent and the possibility of success at any age in the soul music industry.

Image of Leonard Cohen performing

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, the iconic Canadian singer-songwriter, began his musical journey at the age of 33. Despite starting later than many in the industry, Cohen carved a remarkable path, becoming a highly influential figure in folk and rock music.

Renowned for his poetic lyrics and distinctive voice, Cohen's late debut didn't hinder his ascent to musical greatness. His story underscores the idea that success can be achieved at any age, offering inspiration to those pursuing their passions later in life in the world of folk and rock genres.

Image of Susan Boyle singing

Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle rose to international fame at the age of 47 after her standout performance on "Britain's Got Talent." Despite early doubts, her powerful rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" captivated both the audience and judges. This remarkable moment served as a turning point, propelling Boyle into a successful music career.

Her journey is a testament to the idea that talent knows no age, and her story continues to inspire those looking to pursue their musical dreams later in life. Susan Boyle's impact in the music industry remains a shining example of the possibilities that can unfold even after a later start.

Andrea Bocelli

Andrea Bocelli, with a musical talent evident from his late teens, embarked on a professional career later in life - early 30s. Hindered by a soccer accident that resulted in blindness, Bocelli's extraordinary tenor voice and success in classical crossover genres began to flourish in his late thirties.

His story is a testament to resilience and the ability to overcome challenges, showcasing that one's passion for music can lead to significant accomplishments regardless of the obstacles faced. Andrea Bocelli's journey inspires many to pursue their musical aspirations, emphasising the transformative power of talent and determination in the world of classical and crossover music.

Image of Rodney Crowell

Rodney Crowell

Rodney Crowell, a Grammy-winning country music artist and accomplished songwriter, embarked on his solo career in his late 30s. While initially recognized for his success in penning hits for other artists, Crowell's solo endeavours brought him both critical acclaim and commercial success.

His late start as a solo artist serves as a testament to the enduring nature of talent and the possibilities that arise when pursuing one's passions in the country music scene. Rodney Crowell's journey inspires those entering the industry later in life, highlighting the potential for recognition and achievement in the world of country music.

Image of Bill Withers smiling

Bill Withers

Bill Withers, the soulful singer renowned for timeless classics such as "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Lean on Me," embarked on his musical journey later in life, commencing in his late 30s. Despite not following the traditional trajectory of a young, emerging artist, Withers quickly rose to prominence, leaving an indelible mark on the music industry.

His distinct voice and heartfelt songwriting endeared him to audiences worldwide, establishing him as a celebrated figure in soul and R&B. Withers' late entry into the music scene serves as a testament to the enduring power of talent and the ability to make a lasting impact at any stage in one's career.

Image of Bonnie Rait smiling

Bonnie Rait

Bonnie Raitt started her music career in her early twenties, a bit later than many musicians. Born in 1949, she initially pursued studies at Harvard College before deciding to follow her musical dreams. Despite some early challenges, Bonnie's talent and dedication eventually paid off.

It wasn't until her late thirties that Bonnie Raitt gained widespread recognition with her album "Nick of Time," released in 1989. This success story shows that age should not deter anyone from pursuing a career in music, emphasising the importance of perseverance and passion in achieving success in the music industry.

Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry, the renowned lead singer of Blondie, gained fame in the late 1970s with their debut album "Blondie" in 1976. The breakthrough came with the release of their third album, "Parallel Lines," in 1978, featuring the hit single "Heart of Glass." Despite initial success, Harry faced challenges, including a band hiatus and personal struggles.

Her resilience led to a comeback, emphasising the unpredictable nature of the music industry. Debbie Harry's story inspires musicians to focus on serving fans, leaving a lasting impact, and recognizing that success is a dynamic, ongoing journey in music.

Image of Rachel Platten singing

Rachel Platten

Rachel Platten is a singer-songwriter who gained recognition with her empowering anthem "Fight Song." What sets her apart is that she didn't achieve a major hit until her thirties, proving that age is no barrier to success in the music industry.

This inspiring track made its mark by reaching the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was also featured on the popular TV show "Pretty Little Liars." "Fight Song" has resonated worldwide and has been covered by artists from across the globe, showcasing the enduring impact of Platten's music and the message it carries.

Image of middle aged man and woman musicians playing guitar and keyboard piano singing song at music studio

Drawing inspiration from the accomplished musician mentioned earlier, here are some valuable tips tailored for individuals embarking on their musical journeys later in life.

Invest in Your Craft

Dedicate time and effort to honing your musical skills by consistently practising and learning. Regularly invest in your craft, considering lessons or workshops to refine techniques and broaden your knowledge. This commitment to improvement not only enhances your musical abilities but also boosts your confidence and readiness to navigate the dynamic music industry. By continually investing in your skills, you position yourself for long-term growth and success in your musical journey.

Build a Strong Online Presence

Establishing a robust online presence is crucial for aspiring musicians. Create a professional website and actively engage on social media platforms to connect with fans and showcase your music journey. Utilise platforms such as SoundCloud, YouTube, and various streaming services to share your music, enabling a broader audience reach. Building a strong online presence not only enhances your visibility but also provides a direct channel for fans to connect with you, fostering a supportive and engaged community around your music. This digital foundation serves as a powerful tool for promoting your work and expanding your influence in the music industry.


Networking is a key ingredient in your musical journey. Attend local music events, open mics, and industry meet-ups to connect with fellow musicians, producers, and professionals in the field. Collaborate with other artists to not only expand your network but also gain valuable exposure. Building these connections is essential for creating opportunities, sharing experiences, and finding support in the competitive music scene. By actively participating in local events and collaborations, you enhance your chances of making meaningful connections that can contribute to your growth as a musician.

Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals is a pivotal aspect of your music career. Clearly define both short-term and long-term objectives, providing a roadmap for your journey. Break down larger goals into smaller, achievable tasks to sustain motivation and effectively track your progress. This strategic approach not only helps you stay focused but also ensures a sense of accomplishment along the way. By establishing and pursuing realistic goals, you create a framework for success, allowing you to navigate the music industry with purpose and measurable milestones.

Embrace Technology

Embracing technology is vital for advancing your music career. Keep yourself informed about the latest music production software and digital tools that can enhance your creative process. Additionally, explore online platforms for collaboration and virtual performances to expand your reach and connect with a global audience. Adapting to technological advancements not only empowers your music production capabilities but also opens up new avenues for collaboration and performance, positioning you at the forefront of the digital landscape in the music industry. Stay tech-savvy to stay relevant and innovative in your musical pursuits.

Be Adaptable

Adaptability is key in the ever-changing music industry. Stay open to embracing new trends and technologies that emerge. Familiarise yourself with marketing, promotion, and distribution strategies to effectively navigate the modern music landscape. Being adaptable not only allows you to stay relevant but also positions you to seize opportunities that arise in this dynamic industry. Keep a pulse on the evolving landscape, and be proactive in learning and implementing strategies that align with the current trends and technologies shaping the music business.

Create Quality Recordings

Producing high-quality music is paramount for your musical journey. Invest in a quality recording setup or studio to ensure your recordings meet professional standards. Additionally, consider collaborating with experienced producers to elevate the production value of your music. Quality recordings not only showcase your talent effectively but also leave a lasting impression on your audience. By prioritising the production quality of your music, you enhance your credibility and increase the likelihood of connecting with listeners who appreciate the nuances of well-produced tracks.

Learn About the Business Side

Understanding the business side of the music industry is crucial for a successful career. Familiarise yourself with the basics of music contracts, royalties, and copyright to protect your work and ensure fair compensation. Seeking advice from a music attorney or manager can provide valuable insights into navigating the intricate business aspects of your career. By having a grasp of these fundamentals, you empower yourself to make informed decisions, safeguard your intellectual property, and establish a solid foundation for a sustainable and rewarding music journey.

Stay Persistent and Positive

Maintaining persistence and a positive mindset is essential in the journey of building a music career. Recognize that success takes time, so be patient and persistent in pursuing your goals. Embrace the joy of creating music and connecting with your audience, regardless of your age or current stage in your career. Cultivating resilience and a positive outlook not only helps you navigate challenges but also fosters a fulfilling and enduring relationship with your craft and audience. By staying committed to your passion and focusing on the creative process, you lay the groundwork for long-term satisfaction and success in your musical endeavours.

Image of musician with guitar at sunset field

In life, dreams change, grow, or become a reality.

If you've been working hard on all aspects of being a musician, not just the fun parts, your dreams can come true. Success in music has many paths, so don't feel discouraged. Make a plan for your music career and keep going. It's never too late to achieve your musical goals. Keep playing, and let your dreams become your song!

Discover the full potential of your musical journey at LMT Music Academy. Whether you're just starting out or a seasoned musician aiming for excellence, our customised lessons are designed for all levels and aspirations. You'll receive expert guidance, personalised instruction, and a friendly environment that helps you improve your skills and connect with your musical passion. Enhance your artistry, perfect your technique, and start an exciting musical adventure with LMT Music Academy by your side.

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