In light of the horrific and tragic passing of Whitney Houston, an icon who gave so much to the world through her incredible talent during her very short and often troubled life, I can’t help but once again think of the poignant message of Barry Manilow’s latest album *15 Minutes.
The inside look at the perils of fame Barry shares with us in this concept album, the interviews and videos he’s done on its behalf, all share how difficult it is to maintain sanity, strength and dignity when you’re faced with a life most of us will never know. Obviously he speaks from a place of knowing as he’s been on that side of fame for nearly forty-years and has survived unscathed. I personally believe Barry deserves tremendous credit for maintaining his integrity and discovering early on what really matters to his life at the end of the day when the curtain drops and the audience goes home.
Those of us living a regular day to day life, might believe glitz and glitter is a dream come true. Many of us have an inner need for notoriety and would love to have cameras flashing, parties to attend every night, the house, the cars, the money. Yet we forget in our perfect vision of that life, there comes the downside; loss of privacy, temptation and trappings best left to the imagination.
Perhaps the people who lose their way, would have, famous or not. But I think it’s a safe bet the fame didn’t help and perhaps exacerbated their weakness. Maybe people like Ms. Houston, Micheal Jackson, Amy Winehouse, to name just a few of those whose talent is driven by a passion that’s palpable, have emotions so near the surface, they’re prone to their own demons and need extra care in keeping them at bay.
We’ll never know what really happened or how she suffered even at the peak of her career when she smiled for the world, while being torn apart internally. It’s horrific for any of us to judge Whitney, her family, friends or the circle who protected her. Each of us is accountable for our own destiny, and there but for the grace of God goes each of us.
All we know for certain she was a mother, daughter, niece, friend, who will be missed and mourned by all who knew her. They must go on with her memory bringing them peace and solace in the days and years to come.
Going back to Barry’s album… I hope celebrities who have made it, those aspiring to make it, and pretty much anyone who struggles to find their way in life no matter what the path, will take an hour to listen and truly grasp the message of 15 Minutes. It’s not just a beautiful compilation of music and words. There’s a lesson within from which we can all learn and take to heart.
Maybe 15 Minutes will be the inspiration to destroy one of those demons before another victim is claimed.