Michael Masser – The Man Who Broke the Rules

Michael Masser

I sometimes read the New York Times Obituaries! Here’s one today that provides some food for thought…

Today I read Michael Masser, Composer of No 1 Hits, Dies at 74”

Mr. Masser was a very successful stockbroker in New York who biked to work in Midtown Manhattan in the 1960’s. He often would detour to the Juilliard School to putter on the piano. He taught himself to play the piano, even though he couldn’t read music, but an inner muse was urging him to switch careers (he had earlier dropped out of law school).

He had the perfect life, or so everyone thought. He had a great job, a growing family, a wonderful apartment and a farm in Vermont.

Here’s his story:

He was unhappy, and someone he knew convinced him to see a shrink.

He walked in and told the doctor he wanted to write music. The doctor said, ‘What’s the problem with that?’

He told him that didn’t go over very well with his family. The doctor listened, took his money and said,  ‘Here’s a note of permission to write music. That’s all you need to clear your conscience.’


And it’s funny, he thought, because that’s all he was looking for…permission…He had been the dutiful son and husband for so long…He’d forgotten about living for himself. He found a mentor and soon began composing ballads with epic range and scope. Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Roberta Flack all recorded his famous songs.


Somehow, he said, people get very nervous about leaving the comfortable life of rules behind and never take the chance to develop their own internal voice to listen to their own consciousness!