Take all the reality-show and game-show contestants out of the mix as they are all fame-chasers looking for quick paydays and some notoriety.
For everyone else who has ever picked up a guitar, jotted down lyrics or sang into a microphone, they did it as an artist who wanted to express themselves musically.
The fact that any of them became famous was a matter of circumstance, not part of the plan.
Such is the case with Sophie B. Hawkins, who comes to The Bull Run in Shirley on Thursday, April 11, for a show starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and available at www.bullrunrestaurant.com.
Hawkins hit it big right from the beginning, when her 1992 debut album "Tongues and Tails" earned her a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1993. (Arrested Development won the award, topping a field that also included Billy Ray Cyrus, Kris Kross and Jon Secada.)
That album produced the megahit "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover," which reached No. 5 on the Billboard pop singles chart.
She gained so much notoriety that Hawkins was asked to perform Bob Dylan's "I Want You," which she covered on the debut album, for the 1992 Madison Square Garden concert honoring Dylan's 30th anniversary as a musician.
Her second album, "Whaler," came out in 1994 and featured the top 10 single "As I Lay Me Down."
"I never looked for the attention," Hawkins told me in a phone interview earlier this week. "I just wanted to create music.
Her career then stalled a bit over some squabbles with her record label, Sony Music, that led to the delay of her third album, "Timbre," which came out in 1999. Unfortunately, Sony wouldn't promote it. She left the label and founded her own, Trumpet Swan, on which she released her fourth album, "Wilderness," in 2004. She released her latest album in 2012, "The Crossing."
She'll be coming to the venerable Bull Run with just her and a guitarist, rather than a full band show.
"I like the idea of just being there with the audience, getting closer to them, and letting them get closer to me. I'm able to connect with them much better than in a full-blown show."
Expect all her biggest hits, plenty of her favorite songs by other artists and some new songs.
"I'll probably play six or seven songs, but it's stuff I've played elsewhere and gotten a good reaction from the audience so I know it's stuff that most audiences like," she said of her new material.
That's the secret to a long-lasting career -- have great songs, listen to your audience, adjust accordingly.