Most professional men and women turn to mentors to take their careers to the next level but who knew that a Rock ‘n Roll God like Robert Plant would need help too??
Last week, I watched the one hour CMT (Country Music Television) Crossroads performance by the unlikely duo of Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant and country/bluegrass sensation Alison Krause. I could not peel my eyes off the television screen (and I’ve been blasting their CD Raising Sand throughout the YSN office ever since). The combination of their voices (hers sweet, his smoky) was eerily intriguing but, honestly, part of me was really anticipating Robert Plant breaking free of those country music restraints and letting loose one of his signature screeches and jumping around like the rock God he is. (It never happened.)
But during the show, I was momentarily pulled out of my reverie when he introduced producer T Bone Burnett as their mentor. I don’t know why I was so surprised; singers often work with vocal coaches to nurture their talent. But, somehow, it just never occurred to me that Robert Plant – the Robert Plant – would need a mentor.
When I thought about it during a commercial break, it made perfect sense. Like other people transitioning or advancing their career, Robert Plant needed to learn the secrets of the trade, which in this case was country music. He was branching out into a completely different musical genre and learning to sing, as he put it, “without projecting masculinity,” which is so much of what rock ‘n roll is all about. That aforementioned country music restraint wasn’t an easy thing for him to adhere to – it just wasn’t his natural element – but it’s what made the performance so mesmerizing and unique.
That’s one of the beautiful things about working with a mentor: the possibility for genius to emerge. A mentor isn’t there to give you a job or help you replicate their exact career path — they might not even work in your same industry or have their entire career figured out. But by sharing knowledge, experience and lessons learned, mentoring can give you access to a new perspective, skill, idea or path that could potentially result in something more successful than you ever imagined.
Jovie Baclayon is the editorial director for YSN.com and an expert in the experiences faced by emerging adults. To learn more, check out Jovie’s YSN portfolio and feel free to e-mail her! She blogs every Wednesday and Friday on Waste Time Wisely.