Keith Olsen On Success In Music: ‘Being Good Isn’t Good Enough. You Have To Be Great’

BBelow is one inspirational quote I found in this Keith Olsen interview Ultimate Guitar writer Joe Matera did not so long ago… If you do not know who Olsen is: he has worked with some of the biggest names in rock and metal of the past such as The Scorpions, Fleetwood Mac, Whitesnake, and Ozzy Osbourne.

Keith Olsen

Keith Olsen continues to work in the industry today and has seen the changes the recording industry has undergone over the ensuing decades.

When asked, “What’s the best advice you can offer about the music business?“, Olsen said:

It is dog eat dog business and remember that nothing is over-night and you have to be great at what you do. I gave a talk once in Amsterdam for musicians’ day Europe, and there were thousands of people in the audience and I asked them, “how many of you are professional musicians?” and they all raised their hands. And then I asked, “how many of you practice eight hours a day?” And it went to dead silence.

Then finally one guy in a corner raised his hand and replied, “I do”. And I pointed to him and looked at him and said, I’ll see you on the charts”. And that is what it takes, it takes dedication, it is not a part-time, software driven career. It is all about knowledge, art, and expertise. And being good just isn’t good enough. You have to be great.

While I don’t agree that all you need to succeed is practicing, this is a very powerful advice for sure. It is too often forgotten how important and how difficult it is getting “through the dip” (as Seth Godin calls it).

You can read the full interview at this location.


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  • I realize that it’s two months overdue, but you can’t just make a good song overnight. It takes years of practice to really hone your skills, and actually know what your doing. Overnight success is a term the general public use.

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