This question came up this weekend and I thought I would ponder it here...
What defines you?
Is it a role? Your mix? Your high notes? Your look? Your dramatic chops? Your comedic timing? Your low notes? A style? A genre? A language? A composer?
When you find that definition, it feels like you are home. People say "of course!" and all feels well in the world.
But if you continue to stay dishonest, not enquire, delude, pretend, hide, make excuses, the definition of YOU because obscured, and often obliterated.
Are you finding a defining factor and building on that, or are you caught in a book of 16 bar cuts, or a confused set of audition arias that is lukewarm at best and desperate at worst?
What defines you NOW may not be what will define you eventually. However, NOW is what matters to allow for the journey to continue. Definition takes time, observation, decision, and a large dose of reality.
Accepting WHAT YOU HAVE is enlightening - not disappointing. If you know what you have, you can develop it to its fullest. It can truly be YOU - not a watered-down version of something else;
YOU ARE ENOUGH if you develop honesty, work ethic and purpose to find it and develop it fully.
Don't deceive yourself! Just because you can sing the notes, doesn't mean you can sing the role!
Just because you think you can belt, doesn't mean you ARE.
Just because...just because...doesn't make it reality nor will it define you positively.
If the definition of you has become negative or has turned against you - please please PLEASE stop right NOW and re-assess. If you are trying to do something that isn't you - whether it's technical, voice type, true ability, attitude - it is going to turn on you quickly and define you in the business in a way that often cannot be changed. Even if YOU change, that definition can follow you for years!
If there simply is NO definition - then you are swallowed by the room. You are not standing apart. You NEED to find that definition and lead with it!
what defines you needs development. Again, the potential of definition is only potential unless you are willing to develop it.
This requires honesty, work, and no excuses.
If you could be a fantastic Queen of the Night, then why not define yourself with that? Why would you NOT work on that and BE fantastic? If the Queen could define you, why wouldn't you do it?
If your mix is textural, pliable, balanced and is developing colour and intensity - why would you mimic somebody else when YOU could set the standard and definition of mix with YOUR voice?
If your dramatic intelligence is naturally available and deep - why would you pretend to dismiss it and just play "jazz hands"? Why wouldn't you develop it, claim it, and LEAD with it?
If your are okay at certain repertoire and shine in others - why wouldn't you let that SHINE come on through? Why can't we work on things that need work, and polish the innate beauty and possibility to definition?
Dismissing is just as unhealthy as dishonesty.
A singer recently said to me, after over-singing out of fach "But it SHOULD be work, I shouldn't be relaxed and comfortable. It should hurt."
Yes, it's work - dramatically, physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, technically, - but once the work has been done, we DEFINE it with recognition!!
What's wrong with trying something on and letting it FIT?!?!?! Wear the size that FITS YOU!
Honesty and Definition walk hand in hand.
THIS takes work. Sometimes the answers are hard to deal with, but I promise you - the answers, once reconciled, will give you permission to DEFINE YOURSELF with ease!
If you can find definition and not wishful thinking, you are well on your way to discover where you need to be. Then it's a matter of discovering HOW to do that.
Don't get lost in hype, as there is no definition there.
Don't get wrapped in excuses, as there is no definition there.
Don't clock yourself in dishonesty, mimicking, pretending, as the definition is not yours.
Begin to discover your definition.
Where are you technically? What defines you here?
Where are you dramatically? What defines you here?
Where are you musically? What defines you here?
Where are you stylistically? Genre?
This is just the beginning of definition...
You will never be able to acknowledge the defining factor of YOU until you discover what YOU can do - honestly, without excuses.
If what defines you right now is confusion, excuses and whining - it's the perfect time to begin the real work.
If what defines you right now, scares you to death - it's the perfect time to release the fear.
If what defines you right now, makes you giggle or get excited, then perhaps you are on the right track!
Don't hide it - from yourself or from the rest of us. Claim the definition and release it!
Susan Eichhorn Young
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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