I guess I’m writing to you because it’s so hard to find someone like you to talk to. I feel really weird because all of my vocal and life questions have come to a place where I realize they’re a search for an ideal that I’m trying to meet that never ever arrives. It’s like I’m always where I need to be with this idea that I should be somewhere else which makes where I am seem to “not be it” yet. I realize that all I really need to do in order to get the voice to its optimum place is subtract myself out of the picture and let it function as it naturally does… the more I want out of it, the more I manipulate the farther away from the natural functioning I get… so it’s all about removing my mental ideals and impositions from the equation.
The thing is, once I realized that this applies not only to singing but to everything in life I feel in a weird place… I feel like the “old me” that wanted to sound good and be good and do well in life, that was driven by all these voices in my head – that came from nowhere else than the conditioning I’ve been exposed to – is kind of a ghost that’s not being acknowledged anymore. My desire to become a “good singer” and to even “make it” have flattened out. I no longer feel this “drive torwards betterness” no longer this “competitive drive to go out there and make it.” It’s like I woke up from a dream. Apparently this “dream” was what fueled my “love for singing” and now that I feel like I kind of woke up from it, I no longer feel this “love.” I feel like the “old me” is peeling away more and more. Did this ever happen to you? I’m curious… I guess what I’m asking is what do you do when you realize that what you always thought you wanted all of this sudden is not what you want anymore… when you almost literally feel like you don’t want ANYTHING. It’s weird because it feels good and free because you feel like you have it all already, but it feels bad because you feel like you’re experiencing a sort of death of passion, of motivation, of drive.
Anyway, I just wanted to write and see if you had anything to say. I was and still am a huge fan of yours… I’ve bought all your material and even took a lesson with you about two years ago… I have a feeling you would probably have an idea of what I’m talking about. It’s just that from studying singing and discovering that less is more in that realm, I found it to be true in all realms. In a sense it feels like it’s all done and now it’s time to just live… instead of trying to do everything to then start living. I’m hopeful you would know what I’m talking about. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated. “G”
Thank you for trusting me with your feelings. I can completely relate and have struggled with the exact same issues many times in my life. It’s hard for singers to share this kind of stuff. It seems like you’re always supposed to have a passionate fire burning within if you’re a true musician. Well, the truth is: that’s not reality. Real emotions and passions ebb and flow like a slow motion surf; sometimes taking years between tides. One issue is that this is your first low tide, so it seems you will never swim in creative waters again. Another issue is that you were driving so hard and imposing mental ideals in the past in an effort to avoid your emotions — not bring them out. It’s not that you wanted to sing better, it’s that you needed to sing better to cure your vulnerable, insecure, awkward, powerless self. Now that you’ve matured a bit and can see that you are not the unlovable bub you thought you once were, well singing doesn’t seem like such a white knight anymore. I think this is fantastic news, because it means you are finally in a place where you can enjoy a real relationship with singing — if you want to.
Most teenagers mistake lust, and even co dependency, for love. Their emotions go through the roof when they meet someone new and then as soon as things calm down they feel the “love” is gone and move on. Some adults carry this mentality into later years with unfortunate results. Multiple marriages are almost always a symptom of unreasonable expectations. Young artists have this same relationship with art. They begin with incredibly high expectations; singing will change their lives. Because the imagined payoff is so high we are willing to work really hard to get better. The problem is, as you have learned, it’s not hard to sing well. Now that you realize this, you’re equating the reduced effort as reduced caring.
Now you can sing because you’re a singer — not because it’s going to make you rich and famous and fix all of your problems. True singers can go months, even years without anyone hearing their voices in public and still call themselves singers. My concern with you is that you’ll start to feel guilty for not pushing forward and decide that you are now a non-singer. There absolutely no reason to make such a declaration. You are what you are and the years ahead will play out just as they were always going to. I think it’s a mistake for people to deny themselves the joy of singing just because they’re not as obsessed with improvement as they once were or gaining public acceptance. Just as I think it’s a mistake for people to bail out of a marriage because it’s not cupids and month-a-versaries any more.
Please don’t feel embarrassed that you ever doubted your love of singing. Let things be for a while and if you ever feel inspired to sing — do it. Don’t deny yourself one of the great joys of being alive. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to post this email on my web site. There are thousands of people going through exactly what you are but don’t know how to express it. I think reading this will let them know they’re not alone. Ironically, this email is a great example of what makes for a powerful vocal performance. You are being open and honest, which are the most important ingredients for listeners to pick up on and start exploring their feelings and connecting with you. Isn’t that interesting that such a moment can be created from something you were originally disheartened over. Kind of makes you want to stand up and sing about it . . . ;)