Its true.  I’ve never known of a cover band that’s changed the world with their talent.  That’s not to say that all cover bands are bad. In fact, I’ve worked with several groups over the years through Orange Thread Live  that seem to perform an original song down to the tiniest little musical nuances.

Many cover band groups have a healthy fan base. Some, like the one my dad is hiring for a fundraiser this fall, actually has shows where over 10,000 people purchase tickets. That’s amazing to me, because 10,000 of anything generates a lot of buzz and creates a great platform to make a really wealthy living!

But at the end of the day this cover band makes their living playing other people’s songs. And they’ll never truly change the world.


In the realm of creativity, there’s a difference between being original and being great. It’s not enough to just be great. If creativity doesn’t have a specific amount of uniqueness and originality, it will never be mass consumed. It will never change the world.

[bctt tweet=”there’s a difference between being original and being great. It’s not enough to just be great. ” username=”lukemcelroy”]

The people who play in cover bands are some of the world’s best musicians. But being the best musician from a technical skill standpoint isn’t enough. Jimi Hendrix didn’t just know how to play, he was able to create some of the best known guitar riffs in music. Elton John doesn’t just play the heck out of a grand piano, he has written some of the most amazing songs in the modern era. Because each of them put a little bit of themselves into their craft.

This brings me to my own creativity.

I can’t just be good at something.
I have to be original at something.

Excellence will only get an artist to a certain point. The reason we appreciate a good song, or a beautiful piece of art is because it’s rare.  It’s unique and its something we’ve never seen or heard before. Most of the time it includes a bit of the artist within the creation. So I can’t just resort to being great, if it’s just another replica of what already exists.

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The more unique something is, the more rare and treasured it becomes. And we’ve got to pour our own uniqueness into the things we make or they’ll never be treasured as much as the art that is rare and beautifully unique. So excellence isn’t enough to be successful. A creative has to be willing to put themselves on the canvas. They have to own it, and they have to bring in an ounce of originality.

[bctt tweet=”Excellence isn’t enough to be successful. A creative has to be willing to put themselves on the canvas.” username=”lukemcelroy”]


So the next time you’re tasked with creating something… for work, family or your friends… try to put a little bit of originality into it. It doesn’t have to be 100% one-of-a-kind, use some inspiration somewhere, but don’t just copy. You yourself are a unique work of art, so put a little bit of you into the things you make.


Our world allows access to amazing creativity and great art through easy to access curation websites like Pinterest, Behance, Vimeo and blogs. They’ve made the ideation process easier than the execution process, and that takes uniqueness out of art. But the more you take an idea that’s already been done, and try to re-create it for your context, you’re just another cover band in the world trying to change the world.

And that’s an inevitably impossible task. Because cover bands never change the world.

[bctt tweet=”Cover bands never change the world. ” username=”lukemcelroy”]

Luke McElroy's Creative Potential: Principles for Unleashing Your God-Given Calling

I just finished my most recent bookCreative Potential: Principles for Unleashing Your God-Given CallingIt’s without question my single favorite project I’ve ever worked on. I’d encourage you to check it out and see what other’s have to say about the book as you explore how to maximize your own creative potential.

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