Why must we be so invested in sounding "like" someone, or calling ourselves something we are not vocally?
Comparison is rampant in our business - perhaps began with would-be reviewers who could not (or cannot) review purely, but need to do so by comparison.
What has happened in both music theatre and opera, sadly, is that we have gone in directions that have erased the individuality of the singer! We have taken "type" past the role to the singer who defined it; Instead of saying "Ingenue type", it has become "Kristen Chenoweth type"; In fach, we have micro-fached, and started adding, (in seriousness) "baby spinto", "baby dramatic", et al!
WHO ARE WE???? RIGHT NOW????
Why have we eliminated individuality from the singer? Why must we continue to feed into the delusion of not being aware and clear with where we are/who we are/why we are and grow there? Why must we fall into the false sense of where we want to be/where somebody else wants us to be?
Who cares where you will be in 10 years if you can't be where you are right now?
Part of being on an artistic journey is the development of and settling at each stage. Artistic journey is not about refusing to pay attention to the reality of NOW.
Individuality is about discovering YOUR voice. YOU are responsible for that.
Discovering your voice does not mean easy. It means getting real and getting honest with yourself. A teacher doesn't discover your voice. YOU DO. A teacher, if worth his/her salt, will create an atmosphere and a unique form of study for YOU to discover what your voice will do and how it will do it.
A teacher does not create you. YOU DO. We often get voices that are "studio voices". You know those - voices that all sound the same from the same studio - same sounds, same issues, same problems. This is not singing. This is not artistry. This is factory manipulation. Shame.
Your reality is where you are NOW. Your ability to see clearly, acknowledge and work with that reality is up to you and you alone. Only when we are ready to see clearly, is when we are able to grow and discover the truth of our voice and our artistry.
This journey is not easy. It is not comfortable. It is not always direct. There are often pitfalls, detours, fatigue and confusion. There is nothing fair about it - it is tough, it is exhausting, and it is rewarding and exhilarating and true!!!
Your voice sounds like no one else. Your voice does not sound like it will in 10 years. Your voice does not sound like your teacher's. Your voice does not sound like what your coach likes to hear. Your voice does not sound like your best friend. Your voice is informed by your physicality, your spirit, your life experience, your honesty, your maturity, your technical behavior, your age, your intellect, your mentality, YOU! Thus, your voice is unique.
Your individuality needs to LEAD you - not your desire to be elsewhere; not your desire to impress; not someone else's desire for you to sound a certain way.
You are unique and you are responsible to that uniqueness. Unique is not about making excuses or trying to get out of doing the work. Unique is about self-discovery and finding and creating the voice that is innately there. Unique is about TRUTH.
Dare to walk in prepared, unique, and YOU. Dare to walk into that audition not as a "type" or a "baby" but as YOU RIGHT NOW. The uniqueness of individuality is what true artistry is all about. Compare yourself to your PREVIOUS self and live there for awhile. Be where you are - wherever that is and thrive there. The more you are true to self, the less "they" will compare you - how can you compare uniqueness????
Go get it.
Susan Eichhorn Young
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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