I just got off the phone with a brilliant singer whose career has been dying a slow death over the last few years (goes back before Covid). She has a wonderful instrument, tons of talent and so much passion. But her recordings don’t make an impact, she has no real fan momentum, her live shows don’t get her any traction…….and it’s killing her career. Thing is, she’s working her tail off: Practicing every day. Writing/recording/releasing new material all the time. Networking. Auditioning for opportunities. Posting on Instagram six times a day. Grinding out YouTube videos. Doing everything she can to get noticed……but she just can’t seem to rise above the noise. Like so many other talented singers, she’s stuck in the talented singer burnout spiral. With so many singers out there all fighting to be relevant, she’s twisting herself into pretzels just to get noticed. But in doing so, the game is over before it’s even started. The bottom line: it all comes back to the voice. If you’re not performing in a way that makes an impact…your story, your music, and YOU will never break through the noise to get the attention you deserve. BUT…what if there were another way?
Ever wonder why singers feel burnt out? Let me know if any of this sounds familiar: “Start posting covers on YouTube”, they said… the fans will come rushing in. “Play out, book as many gigs as you can”, they said. Better yet, do FREE gigs for exposure. No, wait….PAY to play! If you’re an opera singer or musical theater singer: “Change your repertoire” or “Loose 10lbs” they said, ” Just move to NYC!” Give away your best stuff. Free downloads for an email address then cross your fingers those people come to a show. Post on social media 12 times per day.And I love this one… “Try to be authentic”. (I mean seriously . . .if you have to try, then is it really authentic?) All that and you’re no closer to being at the level you want in your career. All that to barely earn anything back. All that time, money and energy spent pursuing this passion and still coming up short. Ugh. If you’re like most singers, you think “I got into this so I could connect to people, move them and create some meaning in this world with my voice on a large scale….not to spend my
I want to share a little piece of business advice for singers I learned later in my career that I WISH I’d learned from the very start. It’s not the kind of business advice that has to do with managing your dollars and cents. Rather it’s a foundational concept to managing your mindset around the business of your career as a singer. It is this: I am not just a performing artist, I am a business. Tattoo this on your forehead so that you see it every time you look into the mirror, it’s that important! Say it out loud: I AM A BUSINESS I’ve noticed that the mindset most of us start out our singing career with is not a business mindset, it is a “starving artist” mindset. It is a mindset of lack. It is a mindset that doesn’t generally take risks or invest in growth, and those are two of the most important predictors of success in any field. My own experience as a young singer and my experience working with all of you has taught me this: When we are in the “starving artist” mindset, we have a really hard time taking risks and investing in
Every so often I am asked what my best advice for singers is, and I always find the answer hard to articulate – as if one sentiment could possibly encapsulate all that I want to say! The question came up again recently and has been on my mind. And then it came to me. . . . . The best advice for singers I can possibly give is SO macro. It’s not about the specifics of breath support or finding resonance. It’s not about learning the right repertoire or understanding your voice type. It has to do with perseverance and dedication. The art and craft of singing, whether you are doing it at the professional level or as a passionate recreational singer, is a process that is and will always be evolving within you. To be a great singer and a great artist is to embrace that process. Become a lifelong learner of your craft. That, my lovelies, is my best advice for singers. So as summer comes to an end and we’re all back from our lazy summer days (hopefully a little rejuvenated from any travel or vacation time we took), it’s the PERFECT time to get rededicated and
Have you ever noticed that so many of the tools and ideas I give you to help you sing without tension have a component of mindfulness in them? I realized recently that I don’t always explain why I do that, or why mindfulness plays such a big part in reducing tension and the way that I teach. So today I really want to circle back to the “why” of it all and also give you an exercise for how to sing without tension in your own practice. So why is mindfulness so important to help you sing without tension so you can sound better and feel better singing? As singers, our body is our instrument. You’ve heard me say that about a million times, right? And just like a trombone player or a cello player makes sure that their instrument is in good working order, we too need to make sure our instrument (our body) is set up to work our technique as efficiently as possible. For singers, the main thing that compromises our instrument and our technique is tension. I know so many of you deal first hand with the discomforts of tension in your singing and would do
Let’s be honest. . . . if there were a pill that could magically improve your singing, I’m pretty sure all of us would take it. Who wouldn’t want to skip the periods of self doubt and angst we go through as we struggle to improve our singing? But what if I told you that it doesn’t have to be such a struggle. The more time I spend working with the mind/body effect on singing technique, the more I am convinced of this: The “magical pill” to unlocking the consistency and growth we all want in our singing is in understanding how to use Present Moment Awareness to step out of the old story of what’s wrong and into what’s possible for your voice. Watch this “Before and After” video to see how Present Moment Awareness works in action with my student Carly. The difference in her sound, in how she is able to use her technique and in the way she feels when singing this way is truly wonderful. There’s a quote that I love: “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present”. We singers are SO very good
Halloween this past week got me thinking about the relationship between fear and singing technique. Ghosts and zombies have nothing on the kind of fear that the opening of Gilda’s aria from Rigoletto used to elicit in me. Seriously. . . . there was a time I would rather walk through Haunted Harbor alone at 2am then to have to sing that passage one more time because it exposed every single insecurity I had about my voice and every weakness in my singing technique at the time. So what do you do when you come to a place in a song that exposes the weakest part of your singing technique? What’s your reaction when you have to sing in the part of your voice that you are really insecure about? Most of us do one of two things: we play defense and pull back to lessen the impact of what we perceive as bad, or we play offense and plough through, trying too hard in an attempt to force a better outcome. Both are totally normal reactions to avoid the discomfort of feeling “less then” in the moment. But here’s the thing, these totally normal reactions to our fear and