I just finished reading Die Empty by Todd Henry. He makes the interesting point that “cover bands don’t change the world.”
I’ve heard many cover bands over the years. Many were not just good, they were EXCELLENT. Some seemed capable of playing famous songs even better than the original artists could. Most of those cover bands were populated by superb and skillful musicians and vocalists. Most had extraordinary stage presence. Many of them had skills that matched or exceeded those of the original artists.
There is nothing wrong with legally copying, mimicking, cloning the exceptional work of others. In fact, there are few new ideas, new combinations of notes, new arrangements of words, new efficiency processes, etc. We are wise to “copy” what works.
We are unwise, however, to bury our own creativity and innovation by investing ourselves only in replication. Few (of us) will “change the world.” Yet, we all hold the prospect of changing our world. That best happens when we spend some of our precious time/energy/effort chasing something we are passionate about. That's when we try something different, make ourselves learn something new, take a risk, or, in the words of an old song, “dance like nobody’s watching.”
Few of the iconic artists/artisans set out to change the world. Their work was/is almost always about the artists' attempts to fully express themselves.
We can do that. It's called living fully.