Substance or Stylized?

Substance or Stylized?
after an amazing jazz voice class that was offered yesterday by Thomas Young (who happens to be my husband!)  many things came to the fore again.

I would like to respectfully suggest to all of you to keep studying,  keep taking classes and keep finding some inspiration.  Our discipline is so solitary sometimes, that when you get an opportunity to come together to work and explore with like minds and have an opportunity to stand in front of a Master,  DO IT.

So, today's blog offering is simply ongoing realizations that were brought into higher relief yesterday.

An artist is simply about SUBSTANCE.  Substance isn't "put on".  Substance reveals itself from the internalized knowledge and sight.  It dares you to step forward and take a look.  It reveals itself as you begin to take a look and actually see it.

STYLISTS do everything from the outside in.  Illusion and deception.  And simply puts on,  instead of exuding from.

There are TRUE jazz singers - and then there are jazz STYLISTS.

There are TRUE opera singers - and then there are opera STYLISTS.

There are TRUE music theatre singers - and then there are theatre STYLISTS.

True singers in ANY genre study the TRADITION of that genre.  They INHABIT that tradition.  They dare to breathe, eat, and sleep that tradition until they can live it faithfully, authentically from the INSIDE OUT.

Stylists simply dabble.  Stylists aren't about tradition, truth or inhabiting.  Stylists are are about themselves, not about the art form.

Look around you.  "Stylists" are everywhere in EVERY genre.

Some of them are great illusionists.  Sometimes they can confuse you for a minute.  But as the great Sondheim song,  'Ah But Underneath' says: "Sometimes when the wrappings fall,  there's nothing underneath at all."

Stylists are about themselves.  The "look at me look at me" syndrome.  True artists are about the work;  they are about the truth of the music,  the language,  the tradition of the style they are singing in.

True artists DARE to discover the naked truth of their instrument,  their technique,  their breath,  their tone,  their language,  their narrative.  True artists create, paint, mold, flex, stretch from an internal realization of what IS and what WILL become.

Stylists have no depth. They have created such an illusion, that they themselves are locked into an impossibility to be reached or TO reach.  Stylists often appropriate language to again, give the illusion they are artists.  However, very quickly, what they SAY they are about, or what they do,  is shown to be nothing but smoke and mirrors,  illusion, delusion,  and jazz hands.  Everything is pasted on,  and nothing exudes from everywhere.

Stylists want you to look at them, but not see them.  Artists want you to see the TRUTH of the work;

Artists are not afraid to allow the truth to reveal itself, or be revealed.  Artists are,  as Thomas continues to say,  arbiters of truth.

Stylists are scared to death of ANY truth.  They just want to be the centre of attention.

Artists reveal.  Revelation allows us to consider, think, and make decisions.

Artists make decisions that allow the possibility for the audience to find a truth.

Stylists think they can tell you what to do and how to do it.

Wow.  Amazing isn't it?

And of course, the universe can have a sense of humor.  Sometimes true artists don't have beautiful instruments naturally.  Sometimes stylists have lovely instruments.

Isn't it interesting that even that reveals another truth?  I would much rather listen to a voice that is about something real - lovely or not - than a voice that is pretty but completely self-absorbed.

Our gut reactions need to be trusted.  Artists' spirits are drawn to each other.

The others find their level too.

Sadly,  the stylist pretends so carefully,  they are revealing the facade to those who truly see.  And the only one they pretend to is themselves, and those who need to pretend along with them.

Artistic commitment takes TIME.  It takes work.  It takes journey.  And it takes the willingness to go where it takes you and inhabit those places for as long as necessary.

Artistic substance is often not pretty.  It is not clean.  It is not comfortable.  However, what it reveals is an undeniable honesty and truth that is beyond awesome.

Stylists, continue among yourselves...

I am an artist.  I choose to commit to THIS journey,  no matter the time, energy, effort.  The reward of truth is beyond worth it.  And when I get discouraged or tired,  I'll just sit down and breathe for a minute.

Thank you Thomas for reminding the artistic spirit of that through your teaching, your example and your dedication to revealing truth.

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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