Bruce Springsteen has shared some insightful advices to young musicians at this year's South by Southwest music conference and festival. Taking the podium inside a packed ballroom at the Austin Convention Center on Thursday, March 15 afternoon, The Boss delivered a rousing keynote speech that stresses on hard work and humility.
Encouraging aspiring musicians to open their ears and hearts, the 62-year-old rocker advised aspiring musicians, "Don't take yourself too seriously, and take yourself as seriously as death itself." He continued. "Don't worry. Worry your ass off. Have unclad confidence, but doubt. It keeps you awake and alert. Believe you are the baddest ass in town - and you suck! It keeps you honest."
"Be able to keep two completely contradictory ideals alive and well inside of your heart and head at all times. If it doesn't drive you crazy, it will make you strong. And, stay hard, stay hungry and stay alive. And when you walk on stage tonight to bring the noise, treat it like it's all we have - and then remember it's only rock 'n' roll."
Springsteen took the stage after being introduced as "the Boss of rock 'n' roll". Greeted with a standing applause by the audience, he first cracked, "Why are we up so f**king early? How important can this speech be if we're giving it at noon? Every decent musician is still asleep, or they will be by the time I'm done with this speech."
The "Born to Run" hitmaker then noted, "We live in a post-authentic world. Today authenticity is a house of mirrors. It's about what you're bringing when the lights go down." For the next 50 minutes, he took the audience on a journey through his own musical influences and delivered small performances on an acoustic guitar to punctuate his points.
Recounting his personal history, Springsteen began with a story of when he first saw Elvis Presley on "The Ed Sullivan Show" at age 6. He also spoke of being influenced by Phil Spector, The Beatles and The Animals. He strummed a few verses from Animals' "Gotta Get Out of This Place".
After singing, "We gotta get out of this place/,'cause girl, there's a better life/for me and you, " he pointed out, "That's every song I've ever written. That's all of them. I'm not kidding, either. 'Born to Run.' 'Born in the USA,' Everything I've done for the past 40 years, including all the new ones," he said. "That was the first time I felt I heard something cross the radio that mirrored my home life, my childhood."
Springsteen delivered his speech after making a surprise appearance at the 30th annual Austin Music Awards on Wednesday, March 14 night. After Joe Ely performed "The Highway Is My Home" with Alejandro Escovedo and his band the Sensitive Boys, the veteran rocker joined Ely to perform "The Midnight Train" at the Austin Music Hall.