The Michael Grimm Conundrum


First let me congratulate Michael Grimm for winning America’s Got Talent. He did so with a soulful handling of classic material which is often attempted and rarely realized by most artists. He seems like a genuine, easy-going songster from southern Mississippi so anytime a good southern boy does well I get a smile.
Yet here is the conundrum.
I noticed at the end of the show, in a really quick flash, the terms of his “million dollar” win. Michael Grimm does not receive a million dollars right off the bat. The “flash” I noticed had to be paused, thank you DVR, and I read something along the lines that he was now eligible to the balance of an annuity which matures in 40 years. Or he could take the face value as it stands now.
For those of us who are not familiar with these terms it basically means that NBC will place an amount of money and in 40 years Michael Grimm can hope that it will be a million dollars, dependent on the terms of the annuity and how much interest it compounds and generates over that 40 years period. I did the math in my head and that would be roughly anywhere from 45,000 to 60,000 dollars. Just looking at him I would guess he is in his early to mid 20’s so when he hits his 60’s and is still alive he can receive his million dollars. Way to go NBC for the false inference.
But this is not my point it merely illustrates how this relates to you, the independent artist, the guerrilla.
In the sense of what NBC is doing we are all millionaires who have simply not redeemed our million dollar annuity. If someone works really hard and saves part of their money, puts it in an annuity in 40 years pretty much anyone can expect to collect one million dollars.
So what is the deal?
It shows you that you do not need to win America’s Got Talent to make it as a professional artist. Sure Michael Grimm can pretty much live on the platitudes he has gained by winning the contest if he follows through. And he definitely has the talent and the soul to do so if he makes the correct steps. These are two very big “ifs” which are applied to anyone.
Could Michael Grimm possibly fail after such a big win? Absolutely. I hope he gets some original material together, an ace producer, a tour, and makes his mark in the world because he is unique. The point which applies to the indie artist is we all have the capability to accomplish these things with the proper work, granted not at such an accelerated pace but there in also lies another conundrum.
Michael Grimm is under the gun so to speak. There will be an enormous amount of pressure laid on his young shoulders. Does he have the talent? Most assuredly. A voice which is uncommonly real and good. But he is at a precipice which his learning curve has shrank drastically from a guitar player doing one nighters to a national celebrity expected to make good doing songs besides the ones already made famous by others years ago. He can’t do live Karaoke and expect to be anything other than the dude that won America’s Got Talent.
The point to you the artist is this. And while it might seem like a weakness in the light of the instant start status Michael Grimm has been thrust into it is actually a great strength.
Imagine the artist you are now. The songs you know and the work you are prepared to put in to grow and become 5 or 10 times the artist you are now. When the time comes for you to “show whatcha got” you will be prepared, a veritable catalog of songs at your disposal, a great understanding of the industry and its changes, and the confidence to fulfill your self as an artist. Not to say any of this is lacking for Michael Grimm. But if it is this may be a one shot deal where failure is hard to overcome. The point is as simple as the old children song of the wise man who built his house on the stone. I hope this is the case for Michael Grimm because the world can never have too many soulful singers who sound so authentic. I also hope he gets his million sooner than 40 years.