Most people know Nicki Minaj for her bright and elaborate costumes, vulgar song lyrics, and unusual alter-egos and voices. However, Nicki Minaj is also an incredibly inspiring artist who can teach young musicians many lessons about finding success in music and in life. Here are three things that young musicians can learn from Nicki Minaj.
1. Persevere through adversity and channel your emotions into your music.
Nicki Minaj had a very difficult childhood, with an abusive father who had severe substance addictions. Even though her life was incredibly hard, she later said that her struggles helped fuel her drive for a better life and pushed her to be successful so that she could help her mother and siblings. She also created her alter egos and started writing raps as an “escape” from her difficult life, and she reflects on her early struggles in some of her new songs as well (such as “All Things Go,” featured below).
From this, Nicki teaches aspiring musicians that they don’t have to let their life struggles hold them back. Young musicians can actually channel their struggles into motivation to succeed, and channel their emotions into their music.
2. Be independent, assertive, and confident.
One thing that has set Nicki Minaj apart and made her successful is her strong sense of self. She prides herself on being independent, assertive, and confident, and she encourages young people and aspiring musicians to be the same. She particularly encourages young women to keep pushing and to not be afraid of demanding respect in the male-dominated hip-hop industry.
During a concert in Manchester, she told the female audience members, “Promise me that, ladies, you won’t rely on any man to take care of you, ever in your life… because you’re the boss.” She attributes her success in the music industry to her confidence, and she teaches young musicians to have a strong sense of self in order to succeed.
3. Stay in school.
Even though Nicki Minaj is an accomplished musician, she always encourages her fans to put their academics before music. When Nicki surprised the adorable Sophia Grace Brownlee and Rosie Mclelland on the Ellen show, she told them, “Music is beautiful, but I want you to stay in school. Put your books first and singing second.” Also, when a fan tweeted that she might skip a class period to see Nicki in concert, Nicki personally responded, “No u will NOT ma’am!“ Even though all musicians should follow their dreams and passions, Nicki reminds musicians that they cannot be successful in anything if they sacrifice their education.
Overall, Nicki Minaj is an inspiring artist who empowers young musicians by teaching them to persevere through adversity, to have a strong sense of self, and to stay in school. By following in Nicki’s footsteps, young musicians can pave their own paths to success.
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David Yaghutiel is a Bay Area native who enjoys traveling, theatre, playing the ukulele, and learning as much about the world as he possibly can. He also occasionally daylights as a senior at UCLA.