Gary Barlow


Well, look at you.

You found it – your passion. You’re intoxicated by it. Cant get enough. And the funny thing is the more you get the more you want. I know how this started. Just a bit of fun playing around on a keyboard. But you can already see that is getting serious. You can make a pretty good living if you just keep on improving at the rate you’re going at.

Yes, I know you feel left out. You hide your musical life from your friends. You don’t see them at the weekends cos you’re gigging. You’re not included on the plans to all go to Ibiza next year. The fights with other schools you’re not invited to cos you don’t want to damage your precious fingers. Its ok to not fit in. Your ambition to leave this town is not because you don’t like it. Its because you won’t have to hide your other life from your friends. You’ll make friends who do what you do and you’ll be able to talk and talk about all the technical tricks , problem solving things that studio rats love to obsess about.

I won’t tell you to practice more because you already practice enough. I won’t tell you to try harder cos ive never seen anyone try as hard as you.

This new thing you’ve started, songwriting, is worth continuing with. Right now you’re just re-writing other artists’ standards but soon you’ll find your voice and write songs from the heart. Keep going.

I know you’re at the back of the stage right now – behind the singers and comedians you play for – but be patient, watch how they do it, study the craft of entertainment.

And when the time is right the spot light will be fixed on you at the front. My only advice I’d love you to heed is don’t take everything too seriously. Take a night off now and then. Go to the pub. Have a Sunday at the seaside.

Life isn’t all about work. Don’t feel guilty enjoying the fruits of what you’ve worked so hard for. I know you don’t do it for the material rewards but there’s nothing wrong in buying a new car if you’re worked hard for it. If you really do well at this you’re going to need the thickest skin.  Many people don’t like seeing success. It reminds them of all they haven’t achieved. When you come face to face with this retreat to your studio.

The answer to most of your problems will be found there.

Above all of this – find someone to Love who will Love you in return. Fun, success, achievement is nothing if you cant share it.

You have some fabulous years ahead. I wish I could be with you and see it all again. Even the bad bits.

Gary Barlow

Dear Young Me is whynow’s new editorial series where each month you will gain a uniquely personal insight into the retrospective thoughts and feelings of some of the UK’s most well known and influential figures including Michael Caine, Bill Wyman, and Stephen Fry.

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