Key Points:

Gray is fiercely independent, resourceful and determined. He is frustrated and content, young at heart, but eminently wise at the same time. His passion for his music and business really shines through and is one of the reasons he has survived and thrived for so long in a cut-throat industry. Often against the odds, he has relied on his entrepreneurial spirit to create his lucky breaks for him.

You've got to have great belief in yourself. Mentally, I call on my father. I come from a very poor family with eight kids, and we had to just work hard and pull together. We grew our own cabbages, had a quarter-pound of butter a week.

My father would tell me I could do anything, and I used to look at him and think, hang on, why haven't you done anything? It was my nagging doubt. Later in my life it all became clear. He couldn't do anything because it was all to support us - all these extra jobs. He didn't have leisure time because he needed to sleep for work. He invested that in me. He was bright, a radio technician, but he had to do all these other things to earn a crust. That's where I got my drive from, and his words stuck in my head.

Advertisement

My biggest driving force is the belief that there are no limitations to what you can do. What frustrates me is that I look at people in difficult situations - not in poverty, but middle New Zealand earning reasonable money and still struggling their asses off. Something is wrong in our economy when hard working people can't live. I mean really live.They don't have time for pleasure.

Sir Edmund Hillary came to Auckland Grammar when I was there. He said, "Never make the goals too lofty, and in periods that are too unattainable." If you tell a kid 'five years' they will think that's a lifetime.

Teaching guitar, I learned from Jose Gonzalez that you've got to watch little kids, and as soon as you see their eyes drift to the window, you know they're not with it. I always ask a kid, what's your favourite song? Start with that song, and immediately the eyes are there. There's a psychology to teaching. Get them to "metalise", hum along with the chord, and you're on your way.

I was a politician for 12 years. What ignites me at the moment is that I detest this outfit in Government right now. I detest what they stand for. There are a lot of nice people inside -but something is wrong. I am determined to get to know all these buggers, and I'm going to use my 50th anniversary tour this year to help the National Party, ACT and others who see that we need a change of Government. Unfortunately Don Brash, an old mate of mine, was the wrong choice. I actually told him, "Don, this is not you." I have a huge respect for Don.

You can get like-minded people together to make changes, but they've got to be changes for good reasons, not greedy ones. There's a tipping point coming.

My success stands for itself. I discovered Hayley Westenra - 12 million albums - and Yulia, who did triple platinum here. I've got the best media people and photographers, the best contacts in the UK, the presidents of all the major record companies trust me.

I've done a few speaking gigs. Most of them ask me how I found these people and made them into stars. They want to know the ins and outs.

I believe that we can all re-invent ourselves. I have. Quite a few times.

Advertisement

Music is the greatest gift our planet has. It creates a longer and happier life. It re-energizes, restores faith, gives rise to great passion, and makes you happy. Music is better than most medicines for re-charging the batteries.

I believe in a monthly break, even for three or four days, then a holiday of three or four weeks once a year.

Music has a non-ageing effect on me. It keeps my mind receptive. I always listen to young people, what makes them tick? I just like to be around enthusiasm.

The beauty of music is that it comes in all different styles, perfect for the way you feel, or want to feel. Music has made my life a wonderful journey, and in music I see all the vivid colours of sounds.

I'm a great believer in visualising - colours, numbers. I learned that from my mate Tommy Orchard, a hypnotist. I use colours when I'm playing. A colour will identify a song; ballads are blues and soft, dark reds. Yellows are vibrant; they go with rock n' roll, or bright reds, flashing colours. I get the colour in my mind, and the look of the song. I explain that to people when I'm teaching. The emotional pull of that is fantastic.

Young people should listen to and play as much music as possible, and imagine themselves as a new star ready to break out. They must be given encouragement along the way, to instill the belief that they can achieve anything that they want. The key is they must want it to happen.

Advertisement

I am fully engrossed in the mammoth task of preparing my 50th anniversary double CD with EMI. This is due for release in late April, followed by my anniversary tour around the country with a large group of fellow stars.

To do anything, you need to feel good about yourself. Always confirm with your soul that you are a great person, and are unique, and can do anything you desire. You must want to achieve your dreams.

Reinventing yourself is quite simple. Be brave. Try the new idea in a small way - test it with a group of friends and a few new people and get their reactions. I face myself in the mirror, on my own, and asking questions of myself. No excuses then. You have to believe in yourself.

I do something called career design, mostly for people in the music industry, but the odd person has come to me out of the blue - I've designed careers for people in from the US, Ireland and Russia.

Hayley started it. I didn't realise how strong the internet was, and I started getting all these calls from people who had seen me on the website of Universal Decca Records in London, and read all about me and got my CDs. A couple of people came to New Zealand from Florida and St Petersburg. The problem was they wanted me to go back with them for three or four months.

Everything got overly successful, and I've had to disperse my time correctly so my wife doesn't get upset that I'm 65 and doing all these things for people. Hey, she wants to go to Paris.

Advertisement

All successful people experience failure. I brought a country singer out called Hank Lachlan from America on a whim because I love that stuff. I split the tour with a guy in Invercargill who ran the country music awards down there. I had a moment of stupidity. I thought he would handle ticket sales for Invercargill, Christchurch and Dunedin, and I would manage the three northern ones. I used to ask,"How's the bookings going?", and he'd say, "Oh, she'll be chocka," and I'm thinking, great. It was ticking along - Auckland average, Wellington okay - and I've never forgotten, when I asked him what the exact figures were, he said, "Oh, we've had a bit of a problem." We were 10 days out.

I went down south - my spine was tingling. Finally he tells me we've sold 64 tickets for a 1000-seater. It was ridiculous, disastrous; he just didn't have a clue. We had to cancel the show, send Hank back and lose the deposit.

I drove all the way back to Auckland from Christchurch, and what got me was that I knew that I was going to be out of money. I knew it had to come out of my bank account. But when I got back and looked at my account, it was just a number. I was still here. It was just a digit.

That's how I made my money, to be quite frank. I've always believed you do all the work, but if you're in the red it doesn't matter, as long as you don't keep making the same errors. That rule was the best lesson I've learned. I was euphoric when I got back and thought, it's just a bloody number, I'm still alive, and I've still got food."

We went through a period of making a lot of money annually and when we sold the business, we had a feeling of abundance. We gave the kids some money that year, but I'm also clever enough not to give them too much.

If you try to sanitise emotion it doesn't work. Harnessing emotion has a multiplying effect on people - they want to grab onto your strengths. People hang around because they're attracted to what you do. I have had to learn to give myself time.

Advertisement

It's tough in our business. You have meetings, and you have to convince people you're not going to run away with their money and let them down. I learned in my council years to always research the product thoroughly. Research the person - what they drink, where their kids go to school.

I tell my kids they're going to inherit 'whatever', but that they're not to think along those lines. They're to enjoy life and be happy, and look after what they've got, and build it themselves.

Gray Bartlett - At a Glance

* Entrepreneur & director of 3 companies.

* International guitarist, musical director, composer, producer & concert promoter

* Gray has sold in excess of a million units of his music through 30 albums and 20 singles.

Advertisement

* He has performed in Tokyo, Japan, UK and toured NZ and Australia with Rolf Harris.

* Former City Councillor (9 years)

* Husband & father, hails from a big family (4 brothers and 3 sisters)

* Awarded an MBE in Queen's New Years honors list for service to music & community.

* Discovered & career strategist for Hayley Westenra (No.1 New Zealand Charts), Ben Morrison (No. 15 New Zealand Charts), Yulia (No. 1 New Zealand Charts) , Will Martin (signed to Universal UK), Annabel Fay (Top 10 Debut Single) and now Elizabeth Marvelly who is just hitting the market.

* His company has represented Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Billy Connolly, Bollywood stars and many others.

Advertisement

* * *

Goalgetting Tips for Today

* Listen to music that inspires you - everyday. Use it to get into the right emotional "state" to win.

* Believe in yourself-even when you are in the minority. Perseverance is often the difference.

* Test new ideas out with a group of trusted friends who will give you the truth.

* Find something that you can be grateful for in your current situation.

Advertisement

* Set a combination of big powerful stretch goals and smaller, reachable mini-goals along the way towards the big one.

* When you have a setback - keep it in context. Ask yourself, what can I learn from this situation? Then move forward intelligently.

* Take regular smart breaks through the day, week, month and year. Use this time to propel your energy levels and idea creation. Ideas are income waiting to materialize.

*

Dwayne Alexander, our goal guru is founder of LiveMyGoals the social network for goalgetters.