Ben Gibson, © HST Global Limited/ Courtesy of Rocket Entertainment
Elton John is always willing to advise young, up-and-coming artists like Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi. But back when he was first starting out, he received some very valuable advice that’s served him well throughout his career.
As part of Spotify’s video series “The Best Advice I Ever Got,” Elton reveals the words of wisdom that have stuck with him the most over the years came from his U.S. booking agent, Howard Rose: “Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re playing somewhere big too soon.”
Elton explains that early on, “I got the headlines pretty quick, and I could have played bigger venues than I was playing at the start of my career. But Howard said, ‘No, you have to go out and play second on the bill to great artists…in areas where you are not so popular. And you have to get the experience of playing to another audience that isn’t your audience.’”
Elton says Rose also told him early on in his career, “We’re gonna put you in smaller venues and create a ticket craziness, so you sell out straightaway and no one can get a ticket. That means the next time you come round, you’re gonna sell out a bigger venue.”
That way, Rose told Elton, “When you do play big venues, you will really relish it and you will be ready for it.”
Elton says now, 50 years on, he can vouch for the fact that “Playing somewhere…[when] you’re not ready is a disaster waiting to happen.”
“Just take it easy, know what you can do and then build up to play something special,” Elton cautions. “But don’t do it straightaway.”
Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.