How to Become a Rockstar: Interview with Manafest

Attending a live concert makes you wonder what it’d be like to stand on stage, surrounded by your band, playing to a crowd of screaming fans. Few people have never fantasized about being a rockstar in their own way, but how is it possible?

How to Become a Rockstar: Interview with Manafest

In a world saturated with distractions and noise, it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd. With barriers to entry in every industry nearly obliterated by the Internet and social media, everyone has a voice. Which is both a challenge, and an opportunity.

This week’s guest on The Portfolio Life is no stranger to life as a struggling artist. After landing a contract and leaving his day job to work full-time as a musician, he actually went into $30,000 in debt.

But just when he was about to quit on his dream, Chris “Manafest” Greenwood caught an unexpected break from a surprising source. From there he continued to build an effective platform piece by piece, leveraging his background in business, and exploring creative methods of distributing his music.

With 10 albums released, a self-published book via Kickstarter, and a thriving business teaching other artists how to make a living from their music, Manafest has a lot to share with us.

Listen in as we discuss how he “blew up” in Japan, the parallels between the music and publishing industries, and my own rockstar moment in Taiwan.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you’re reading this via email, please click here).

Show highlights

In this episode, Manafest and I discuss:

  • Understanding the business behind your art
  • Transitioning from IT to music
  • Treating your art like an asset
  • Exploring new markets and creative ways to diversify
  • The semantics of copyright ownership
  • Where the real money is for all kinds of artists
  • How it works when something “blows up”
  • Why you can’t manufacture a hit
  • Using Kickstarter to self-publish a book
  • A secret tip to find a great editor
  • How to know if you have a good song
  • The benefits of being an artist in the digital age
  • One investment every artist can’t afford to miss

Quotes and takeaways

  • Avoid signing away everything for quick money and false prestige.
  • Create something beautiful that feels special for readers to hold.
  • Whatever you spend on making art, you’ve gotta spend double on marketing it.
  • “Action fuels success. Superman isn’t coming to save you.” –Manafest
  • “If you have fans, the labels will come.” –Manafest
  • Remember why you’re making art in the first place. Money and fame isn’t sustainable. Do it to make a difference.

The worst thing someone can do is quit their job before the art is ready.


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Who are you creating for? What would it look like to be a “rockstar” in your art form? Share in the comments