Continuing from last week, let me share with you the second part of our experience with Gene Simmons from KISS in the secretive and locked Electric Lady Studios in New York. It gets even
better than you think. Part 2. 

Do you know what my biggest fear is at this moment? That Gene asks me to sit down again (which happened to four others that day). The fear that I’m not good (enough), and I end up on a KISS song where my voice isn’t even heard. Do you think this fear helps me relax in this situation? No. “Pull yourself together, Norman. Come on.” I start tapping the beat loudly on my left thigh. It gets better. I get the cue and the verse right. Gene listens. “Good, let’s double that.” The playback starts, and who’s listening instead of singing? Me. “Damn, doubling means I have to sing the same thing again,” I think. Then I forget to tap the beat and go off, prompting Gene to rhythmically slap his left thigh until I get back on track. 

On Taylor Swifts carpet

After long 13 minutes, I finally nail it, and all I want to do is hug Gene. And you know why? Because he believed in me when I had stopped believing in myself. Standing where Taylor Swift stood a few months ago, singing into the same microphone, breathing the same air – there was a slight pressure. Did we have a time limit in the studio? Of course. Were we done with the song, and only my part was missing? No. Were there people who had to leave earlier due to their flights? Yes. Were there much better and more experienced singers in the studio than me? Yes. And all this crap weighed on my mind, creating a barrier between my ease and the tormented reality. Gene believed in me and supported me until the line was recorded. That’s a true mentor.

Gene Simmons loves personal development

After everything is recorded, and the day is winding down, Anke and I approach Gene. “I want to thank you,” I say in German and then switch to English, while Gene continues to respond to me in German. Knowing from his books how important personal development is to him, I brought along my book “I AM GRÄTER” as a gift. He looks interested, flipping through it at three or four places and reading a few lines. “Ah, Albert Einstein. A very smart German-Jewish man… and I like this too… (another quote). I’ll definitely read it.”

Gene Simmons success secret

I feel very honored because Gene is genuinely interested in my content. “Can I ask you three short questions?” Gene nods. “What is the most important thing to be successful in life?” I want to know from him. “That’s a very good question…” he says, pondering. “Be at the right place at the right time and meet the right people. For KISS, it was the right time, we were in the right place, and we met the right people. Because if one point doesn’t match, it’s silly. Imagine you want to propose to your lady. The timing is perfect. The woman is perfect. Only it stinks like crap where you are. Crap, isn’t it?” He grins. I nod. Right time, right place, right people. Perfect setup for my next question. “Gene, you told us about your latest film project earlier (he owns, among other things, a film production company). How should a script look and be structured for you to read it?” As I ask this, I put my screenplay right in front of him. Before I finish my question, Gene says, “I’ll read it.” I look somewhat surprised. “What?” Gene repeats, “I’ll read it.” Uh. Okay. I expected many things, but not that. It was easier than I thought.

 Sometimes it turns out better than you think

Did I honestly not expect that? If my assessment of the situation were correct, I wouldn’t have brought a copy of the screenplay with me. Don’t get me wrong—I presented him with my screenplay to have him write something from the perspective of his future self. What would Gene write if the film had already won two Oscars and been a global hit? That was my intention to hand him the script. And still, I brought another screenplay because I felt the impulse to pack it at home.

What did I learn from Gene Simmons?

What do I want to tell you with these lines? In this narrative, there are so many golden nuggets that it would take twice as long to highlight them all. Therefore, remember the most important points: 

– Follow your instincts (and always pack the extra screenplay)

– Have the courage to take the necessary steps towards your dream (even if it means taking 13 minutes for a single line)

– Stay on your path (even if you perceive failure after failure)

– Find the right mentor for you (who helps you achieve your goal)

– Continue to have the courage to ask this mentor for help or advice (ask if he can open doors for you)

And finally—don’t come as a beggar but as a bidder into the ring (offer to work with the other person instead of begging for something).

There are so many more stories to tell from New York. However, I’ll save those for another time. If you tell yourself every day that something will happen that exceeds your wildest dreams, I promise you one thing: It always turns out better than you think. And that, my friend, is just the beginning. It’s only the beginning. A day with Gene Simmons of KISS in NY. Unbelievable.