Dear Singer...What is it about the Business?

Dear Singer,

First,  you have to identify the difference between making music and being an artist AND making a living making music.   You have to know how to separate those two.  They are not,  nor have they ever been the same.

There are rules that apply to each of those facts,  and you have to find them and acknowledge them and follow them.  You haven't done that yet or you wouldn't be feeling they way you are feeling.  Acknowledgement of rules,  prevents you from taking it personally.

Even if you were Equity,  the stats are 95%  unemployed at any given time.  This is BUSINESS of show.

You have chosen a profession that has a ridiculous unemployment rate.  You have to want it badly enough to stick to it.

Knowing how your voice works, or  how to be an actress and all the craft associated,  is NOT how the business works.  The two are not the same, nor do they necessarily go hand in hand.

You have to learn how the business works and the time it takes to figure out the game and how to play it.   You have to be prepared to be in this game long enough (sorry sweetie - 2 years is no time - or 6 months or even 5 years...)  to find out whether it's what you want to be bothered with long term,  or simply walk away and find another way to keep making music for your well being.

Just wanting something doesn't make it so.

We work not because we are good enough,  but because somebody thinks we are,  and sees us playing the game to their reasoning.

The game is often bullshit and it has NOTHING to do with craft or artistic integrity - but it is what has to happen in order to work.

So - prepare to learn the game.  That takes time. A lifetime really.  There are no assurances in this business.  None.

There are no answers but the ones you discover for yourself,  about yourself and about how you function or not, in the business.

The level of the business doesn't matter:  same game, just another day and another process.   Community theatre, regional professional theatre, Broadway - ARE ALL THE SAME.  The players and venue change.  The stakes may change.  Learning to play the game in the venue you are in is what the business is about.  Discover your game.  Play it.  Get good at it,  or walk away.

I am just trying to be honest with you.  The work you do on your artistic self will always be there;  don't misunderstand that.  Artistic self has NOTHING at all to do with BUSINESS self.

Learning the business,  learning the game,  and how you navigate those land mines - is up to you, and takes more time than you realize.  If our artistic selves continue to evolve and develop over a lifetime, then so,  do does knowledge of the business and the business self within the business of show.

Chin up!!! Your path is your path.

Accept it,  experience it,  walk it - or choose to walk elsewhere.  Wherever you,  BE THERE.  Fully, honestly, and completely.

Sending you good wishes,


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

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