Generation Y seeks stardom with a safety net
SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Australian lawyer Tim McDonald leads a double life. By day, he wades through legal jargon at a Sydney law firm; at night, he thumps out beats with an electro-punk band that has played alongside Snoop Dogg.
McDonald, 26, is one of the many members of "Generation Y" who have dismissed the starving artist reality of the 1960s rock stars that came before them, to demand something more: the lifestyle of an artist with the income of a professional.
"I don't think we feel like professionals," McDonald says of his band, Pomomofo, where he is the lead drummer. "I don't think the word professional and band really go together."
Generation Y expert Peter Sheahan says 20 and 30-year-olds who have been constantly told they can do anything now have the qualifications and the technology that allows them to get high-paying jobs as well as become independent artists.
"The idea of being a lawyer and a rock star, or an accountant and a famous actor is a typical Gen Y thing," says Sheahan, author of the book "Generation Y: Thriving (and Surviving) with Generation Y at Work".
Attaining celebrity is also something that some Generation Ys crave, and thanks to Web sites such as You Tube and reality television programs such as Australian Idol can achieve, and has helped fuel this double-identity trend.
"It's possible to be an artist in Australia and develop a following around Europe and America without going there," says Bernard Zuel, music reviewer for the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Thirty years ago you had to go through a standard route. Now you can put the record out yourself, you can get on the Web and if you're lucky get a presence somewhere."
Combining fame with a high-income profession provides artists with a safety net in the fickle music industry.
"I think if I don't ever give music a shot then I'm going to regret it when I'm older," says Shamini Morgan, 24, an account manager and one half of R&B duo "Shamini and Shasti Morgan".
"I can own a property, two, three years down the line, its not going to make a difference. But when I'm 29, jumping around in a (music) video clip might look a bit weird," she says.
Shamini and Shasti's big break came when their Myspace page was discovered by a producer of Idol contestants. Together they created Missing which gained commercial airplay. But the R&B duo prefer to work independently, using their day jobs to fund the software needed to produce songs at home.
"It gives you that competitive advantage if you can do everything yourself," says Morgan.
While there is little statistical research, the Y generation are known for being dissatisfied with their careers, with employment researcher Manpower estimating over a quarter of those over 25 years old plan to change jobs this year.
"I look at the partners that I'm working for and I don't aspire to be doing what they're doing at all," says McDonald. "They go on holiday and they spend the entire time on their Blackberry doing work anyway. I'd like to have more of a life."
But leading a double life leaves little time for anything else: holidays are spent recording or performing music.
McDonald ends his working day at 7 p.m., followed by weekly band rehearsals and performing in gigs every second weekend.
"Sleep?" he asks, running his tongue over the word as though testing it out. "No sleep!"
But like most of the realists that make up his generation, McDonald knows this is just a passing phase.
"The longevity of rock bands predicates that I won't be in it (the band) in 10 years time," he says without hesitation, shifting his skateboard in the crook of his arm.
(Editing by Miral Fahmy)
- Target confirms major card data theft during Thanksgiving
- UPDATE 3-Saab wins Brazil jet deal after NSA spying sours Boeing bid
- Facebook, Zuckerberg, banks must face IPO lawsuit: judge
- As Modi storms into India's election, a quiet alternative emerges
- U.S. prosecutor defends treatment of Indian diplomat |