In the twentieth century, authentic voices, whether speaking or singing, always possessed a uniqueness of timbre, size, color, and depth. The quality of those voices also told who they were as human beings. Because of the internet, social media, and the need for instant gratification, we as a society have shifted our focus. The idea of discovering who you are takes too much time. Therefore, the faster way to success is to please everyone, aim for perfection, and create a persona that sells. The problem with this approach is that it changes the quality of the voice, disconnects you from your body, and does not prepare you to sustain a lasting career.
In my recent research study regarding the singer’s breath, the participants’ top desire was to discover their authentic voice. The data analysis showed three major obstacles that were blocking them from reaching their goal.
Obstacle #1: Fear of Vulnerability
Have you ever watched speakers or singers such as that of Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King, Maria Callas, or Janis Joplin? Their voices touch you, they touch the core of your being.
Why is this? They rested in the ability to open all of who they were and to tap into something higher than themselves. In doing so, their voices move us in a way that helps us feel connected to them, but also helps us feel connected inside. They show us a mirror of what we are hoping to see in ourselves.
What is our job as a master communicator? It is to take the listener to a place in their body, mind, and spirit that they are often unable to reach within the daily hustle and bustle of life. In the end, people will forget your words, but they will not forget how you made them feel.
What is the one thing that makes the listener connect? The Voice.
What kept Maya and MLK at the top of their game? Yes, they had great writing, but when they spoke, their voices sang. There was a melody and flow about the voice that poured out of their soul; and the resonance vibrated every cell of their Being.
Why were Callas and Joplin vocal icons of the 20th Century? Their voices touched the listener in a way that surpassed all other artists. Their use of the voice and their lives may not have been perfect, but that’s exactly what made them authentic and desirable. The expression of the deepest essence of who they were became the driving force behind the music, text, and voice.
Obstacle #2: Lack of Self-Worth
I remember when I first started performing professionally, I was sharing the operatic stage with a tenor who had performed many leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera. I was amazed at how grounded his body, mind, and voice were. His presence engulfed the room; not by force, but with stillness. The way he carried himself inspired my own journey because I wanted to find that same grounded stillness in myself. Now, after years of performing and searching for the answers of how to be grounded in the body and how to express all of who I am through the voice, I understand what it takes. Here are a few answers I discovered along the way…
Besides having a good voice, what does it take to be a professional singer? Anyone who uses their voice professionally as a channel of self-expression needs to know who they are. Having a strong foundation of Self within a business that is based off of critique is essential. Surround yourself with teachers, coaches, and friends who believe in you, who will lift you up when you doubt yourself, and who will support you in your vision and journey.
Why is Self-worth so important? With any career, there are highs and lows. But within the performing arts, artists often get stuck in a belief system that does not support their complete growth. It’s easy to feel that your career lies in everyone else’s hands rather than your own. At the end of the day, you have to believe in you, you have to believe that what you offer has value, and you have to trust yourself.
How do you turn fear and anxiety into strength and inspiration? Fear and anxiety will disconnect you from your breath and body before you can make a sound. You have to let go of the fear and anxiety; if not, the pressure of the career will run you, and keep you from claiming your own power. That doesn’t mean you won’t have moments of challenge, but the strength and inspiration comes from getting back up.
What would your advice be to other performers? Know who you are and don’t let anyone else try to tell you who you are. You are the most powerful influence to your journey, don’t get in your own way.
Obstacle #3: Disconnection from the Body
The three most influential factors to help you connect with your body are…
- Understanding Emotion
- Understanding Structure
- Understanding Function
In the next newsletter, you will receive specific ways to connect with your body and learn what is stopping you from making that connection.
Here is an excerpt from the upcoming article…
“The voice is a mirror of our emotional relationship with ourselves. When we’re looking for
vocal authenticity, emotion wins over perfection every time.”
You will not want to miss this article, it’s full of tips to help you on your way to becoming a master communicator and owning you vocal authenticity. Sign up for the newsletter!!!
Copyright © 2015 by Bradley Williard. All rights reserved.