We aren’t all Charlie Sheen. Charlie Sheen created an absolute phenomenon in our culture by endlessly flaunting his drug-induced mental illness with a tour and a social platform borne through Twitter. Creating more celebrity for himself through his vocalized hatred toward his former employer more so than his acting on his former show Two and A Half Men (which I’ve never seen), Charlie Sheen has debunked the myth that it is better to be seen and not heard when irate, angry and high. He’s cashing in quite nicely, right now. However, the reality is that Mr. Sheen is less known as an artist and more so known nowadays as a spectacle– an entertaining distraction in today’s crazy world.
But, chances are– if you’re reading this or typically follow my blog posts,–you are more interested in garnering positive attention from your artistic output than from your vices and personal issues. If that’s the case, then my thought is, if you don’t have anything artistic to share with your audience, it’s ok to be missing in action for a while until you do. If you are more concerned with bringing attention to your gifts, downtime is essential. I’ve been asked by performing artists to give them an idea of how much time is too long to go without sharing new product or new updates with their audience. I always say that there is no rule. It’s up to what you have to offer. But, whatever you do, don’t create unnecessary drama for the sake of buzz unless you want that to be attached to the message of your art conveys.
Here are some of my favorite artists who are known to be MIA from the spotlight for some time but when they return, they return in full-force:
Sade puts an album out every decade. In the interim between each album, we rarely hear and read anything about her. She said in a Washington Post Q & A: “I like that we may have encouraged people to do their own thing, not that they’re making music that’s anything like our music. If we give people the courage to say, ‘Okay, I don’t have to do an album every year… there’s no point in making music if its not the music I’m trying to make.’ If we encourage that slightly more punk mentality that’s less fixated on what will work and won’t work, then I’m really proud of us.”
Van Hunt hasn’t been on tour since 2008, but those of us who call ourselves fans have been waiting with bated breath for his return to stage and the drop of his new album. Van Hunt, during his absence, would drop an occasional message on his Twitter account to his fans, but, for the most part, he went about the business of living his life and creating his music. He’s currently dropping free downloads leading to his album drop.
Considered one of the best male actors of our century, Denzel is a stellar actor who has managed to keep his name out of the tabloids and off the lips of gossips yet maintain a distinguished career while having a private life out of the spotlight.
As an independent artist, you may be more afraid to disappear for a while to focus on your art or private life without periodically checking in with you fan base. For, you may feel that you will be forgotten if you’re not constantly on Twitter, Facebook or at the area venue. But, don’t be fearful. The quality of your art will speak for itself. If it’s art of value in your presence, it will remain so in your absence. You can take a break.
Khadijah “Moon” Ali-Coleman is a writer and an arts communications professional with significant work in theater arts, music, and youth development. She has performed nationally as a vocalist and theater actress for over fifteen years. Moon’s prolific work has positively impacted the exposure of numerous emerging artists through her various roles as a journalist, event producer and educator. To hire her as your personal Creativity Coach, contact her at KhadijahOnline@gmail.com