Every year thousands upon thousands of people queue up for a chance to be the next big thing on TV talent shows like The X Factor.
It’s an excruciating business – the young hopeful either gets a nod from the judges or is sent home in tears.
Even those who go on to win the overall show are not guaranteed fame and fortune, as a few previous winners will testify.
For Lucien Jack, a 22-year-old singer songwriter from Pipewell, this wasn’t the path he wanted to take.
He has released three albums, funded himself, and enjoyed some success, albeit fairly limited. His highest chart position was number 7 in Russia with his 2009 single I’m Not Afraid.
He has also appeared on a reality TV show and was invited to represent Andorra in the Eurovision Song Contest.
But within just a few years, his career took a fall and he was recently working in a call centre in Wellingborough.
Now he is back to where he began – making music just for pleasure.
Lucien himself admits he is not a fantastic singer. He is a talented pianist and classical guitarist and he loves music, which is what drives him far more than a desire to be a star.
He said: “I never intended to be a singer, I came into it by accident really.
“It was never my intention to become a star.
“What I have managed to do by myself is to carve a music career, a low-key one, but doing all the work myself without a record deal.
“I am very lucky to have had the opportunities I have.”
Lucien, who works under the recording name Jack Lucien, released his first EP while he was doing his A levels at the highly-respected Winchester College.
After finishing his A levels he embarked on a European tour, visiting Austria, Germany, Spain and Slovenia. He funded the trip himself and earned money along the way from gigs.
After returning from Europe, he went through clearing to get a place at Nottingham University studying Russian and Spanish.
His first album New 80s Musik was recorded during a summer abroad in Russia and released in 2008. He doesn’t know how many copies have been sold but he says his earnings were enough to pay off his university fees.
In 2008 he appeared in a T4 show called Je Suis Un Rock Star, which took 12 young people and gave them the opportunity to work as a ‘fixer’ for the band The Wombats on tour.
Lucien was evicted in the first week and says it was not a good experience.
Also during his time at university he was approached by the Andorran television committee who had heard his music and wanted him to represent the country in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009.
He wrote a song for the competition called Marxaré, which means ‘I will go off’ in English.
He received strong feedback and stood a good chance of being chosen to represent Andorra in the competition, watched by more than 100 million people in 50 countries.
But Lucien made the difficult decision to pull out of the running because he wanted to focus on his university studies.
He said: “I would probably not have won because it was not a very good song, I was not very proud of it. I would love to do Eurovision one day but I wanted to concentrate on my studies.”
Later that year he released his second album EuroSceptic, followed by the third – EuroSceptic 2 – last year as a free download on his 22nd birthday.
Later that year he retired from music after failing to make an impression with the release.
“I ended up applying for normal jobs but like many graduates I couldn’t find anything at all,” he said.
“For the past three months I have been working for a call centre in Wellingborough. It was so sad to think this is where I ended up.”
Now he has decided to return to his music and is working on a new album.
Professionally he is about to start a job in PR and is talking about plans to do a course in broadcast journalism which he hopes will take him into TV.
He said: “I like performing but I don’t want it to be my career.
“Music has always been my bit on the side. I am happy to continue doing it for many years and see how many albums I can push out in my life. If I get to the point where only one person is downloading my music and it’s my mum, I’ll still be happy.”
Lucien is offering his Facebook friends a chance to download his new single State of Mind.
You can also follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jacklucien