How many of us grew up believing (or still believe) that in order to be a successful artist, it’s necessary to perfect our vocal technique before we can allow ourselves to perform?
It’s just not true.
Here’s what I wish I had always known.
Being an amazing artist and performer is less than half technique.
The rest is truth.
I always thought I had to be a perfect singer before I could get up and command an audience. I thought I had to be world class in order to perform or record anything. I thought any misstep onstage would mean people would discount me immediately – my ability, my worthiness of being there at all. I thought that I’d lose fans before I had them to lose, and so what was the point of trying?
My formal training left me believing that technique was 90% of the point. That perfect vocal technique was not only necessary, it was required. It also left me with unhealthy, unsustainable vocal production, and the inability to actually sound the way I wanted to sound.
If I had known that I could go out and speak my truth (on pitch) and that it was the emotion in my voice, NOT the perfect amount of vibrato or the right vowel or the ability to move between registers without a break in my voice, I could be world famous right now.
Or maybe not. But the point is, I’ll never know now.
Of course technique is important. You want to use your voice in a healthy, sustainable way, so you can have a healthy, sustainable career. And we all have preferences to certain styles and genres, and when we can learn to connect our personal sound to the sounds that make us tingle inside… well, magic happens.
But ultimately the point of technique is to make a voice so strong, so flexible and agile, that you can just forget about singing – trust your voice to just make it happen – and get down to the business of telling stories. Telling the truth. Telling your truth.
And if you feel like your technique isn’t perfect yet (and might never be) – well, let me tell you, it’s time to go out and sing anyway. It’s time to find songs that mean something to you, or go out and write them.
Because when you can get in front of someone and be a real person with real feelings and you can communicate that… that’s when people pay attention. That’s when people realize they might have something in common with you. Might start to feel like they know you. Like maybe you get them. And that’s when they turn into listeners… into fans.
That’s what I wish I had always known.