Why are we so afraid of creating honesty in our voices?
What is honest sound?
In a "musical" world that is more about mimicking than truth, I can understand why honesty would scare most young artists. If you don't sound like somebody, you won't be taken seriously!
Good god. Did you really fall for that crap?!?!?
Just because some from the business side and reviewing side can't HEAR and have to type/compare, doesn't mean YOU cannot set a standard for yourself.
I have many singers who come into my studio who honestly don't know how they sound. They don't have a honest sound. Their voice is so imposed upon and "trying to sound like" that the REAL self is completely buried.
When I ask "who are you trying to sound like?" - they answer with a clarity: Lillias White, Bernadette Peters, Linda Eder, et al"
But guess what??? There is only ONE Lillias White, Bernadette Peters, Linda Eder...THEY created THEMSELVES through the honesty of their sound and no one can BE them but themselves.
Then if I ask "What do YOU sound like?" I might as well speak "klingon". It hasn't occurred to so many singers that sounding like YOU and developing that honest voice can be MORE than enough.
Do you know your voice? What does it do? How would you describe it without typing it or comparing it to another singer?
Why must you try to be something that you are not?
This seems prevalent in music theatre and opera! In opera those of you who try to be a fach you simply are not. Why? Why wouldn't you want to move into a vocal fach that you truly can develop, than pretend to be a fach you are not?
As a listener, we KNOW when a voice is honest. It is unique, it isn't pretending. There is a visceral to it. It delivers, it speaks truth. It doesn't mask itself. It is simply true.
We KNOW these honest voices. They exist. Then why do you singers chase THAT honesty and try to impose someone else's honesty on their own sound?
Why wouldn't you want your OWN honesty?
Honesty will create an initial vulnerability true, but the result of claiming the honesty of your voice will bring you POWER and KNOWLEDGE. It will ALLOW you to claim what you do well, and give you the confidence to pursue that truth.
Why isn't your honesty enough?
Mimicking is just a parlour trick. Nothing more. Trying to "do" someone else's voice is a trick - not a reality. Why would you spend all that time and energy trying to be something you are not when you could spend the same time and energy DISCOVERING THE TRUTH AND HONESTY OF YOU?!
OF COURSE you are worth it!!!
Is the lack of honesty simply a cop-out due to lack of confidence? Perhaps.
Is the lack of honesty a buy-in to the corporation of the business of singing imposed on singers from a dishonest place? Possibly.
If you are going to be a singer, or call yourself a singer - you have a responsibility to find the honesty of YOUR voice. Honesty takes guts. Do you have them? Honesty takes a self-recognition. Are you willing to do that? Honesty takes asking hard questions, and ANSWERING them through discovery, work, realization. Are you willing to commit to that?
Singing honestly isn't a trick. Singing honestly isn't pretending. Singing honestly isn't corporation.
However, singing honestly changes the game. Singing honestly exposes the mimicking. Singing honestly exposes the pretenders. Singing honestly creates a response that only honesty can create.
Do you want to stand as you, or do you want to be typed into a slot?
Do you want to sing with honesty and YOUR voice in order to create a standard of your own, or are you so entrenched in the corporate bottom line that you just going to become a cardboard cutout?
Why bother? Seriously!
If all you want to do is the minimal amount and never know what you are capable of, then there are many minimum wage jobs that require nothing more than a pulse and showing up.
Why sing?! If you want to sing, then why?!?!? Why wouldn't you want to create a true standard and a true honesty?
Dare to discover what you do/what you can do/what you are capable of doing. Dare to explore what YOUR voice provokes. YOUR honesty in tone and resonance and intention will evoke a true response.
Be known for YOUR voice, not for a type.
If there is no honesty in your voice - you will never be more than a type. Types can be hired or dismissed. They are not potent, nor are they memorable. They are disposable.
Honesty and individuality in your voice is one of a kind. It DEMANDS to be heard. It DEMANDS to be reckoned with. It is memorable. It is unforgettable. It is unique and it resonates further than an audition or a show. The honest voice has something to sing. EVERY time. It demands it.
If you are unwilling to discover that honesty, why sing?
Dare to be YOU, not a shadow or a reflection or a watered down version of someone else who has honesty. Why wouldn't you want your own?
Delight in that. And go get it.
Susan Eichhorn Young
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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