I am writing this article especially for older singers, but you singers who are just starting out may also be interested in this story about the "struggle to be discovered."
I heard from several older singers (in their 50's and 60's) over the past week who were planning to do big-scale auditions and competitions.
Three of them wrote to me with a similar theme.... They were wondering aloud "why" they were still pursuing the wild dream to sing so late in life. One person in particular seemed to be having quite a struggle with her need to be finally recognized for her great talent.
I think it is a common feeling among musical artists.
If you have enjoyed some singing success early in life, you understand the enormous pleasure that comes with performance: the great joy of singing with deep feeling, the thrill of filling a packed room with musical energy, the excitement that comes with the sound of spontaneous applause, the nearly unmatchable feeling when waves of love and admiration pour over you from an appreciative audience. You give your all. And it comes back to you with powerful immediacy.
You imagine that this could be your life! Here is the unique opportunity to do something you love with all your heart, while enjoying some measure of fame and fortune.
It's a powerful and seductive tug at a person's heart. Especially if you are pretty certain that you have what it takes - if only the "big break" could come in time...
Few of us ever hit the "big time." And sometimes, it is not for a lack of worthy talent. Instead, it could be due to a combination of other issues that were beyond our control: bad timing, wrong location (we did not live in the right city), family pressures, lack of funding, ill health at the wrong time...
It could also be due to early-made decisions: a reluctance to be constantly on the road, the fear of taking a major risk, the desire to be free of "big-time" artistic constraints, or even the fear of eventual success.
And one day, perhaps many years into the career struggle, you realize that you must get practical. You shift gears and move on. Your life changes and it may be a great life! You do well in another job - have a wonderful family. Your life is full and deep. But somewhere inside, the dream of vocal stardom still sits and waits.
And then the opportunity comes once again. Auditions are announced. Other older singers have recently made it big. Your family is grown. You have the time, the energy, the richness of life inside you. And you wonder, could this be MY second chance?
So what now? How do you approach this fresh opportunity?
A RENEWED MEANING OF SUCCESS
I have been thinking about this over the past week. And I spoke with some colleagues who are also singers. As we discussed what it means to seek singing success later in life, we realized that what singers may be seeking at this point in their lives, is clarity about the meaning of success - for their unique needs - at this point in their life.
Auditions may be absolutely the right way to go for one person. While another may need a more do-it-yourself solution.
I made notes on my discussion with my two singer friends. I offer them to you below:
SEEKING CLARITY ON A RENEWED MEANING OF SUCCESS
• Looking back, what would your life had been like if your singing dreams had come true, many years ago? What did you expect? Try to describe in some detail what you yearned for.
• Do you want the same thing now? Does that vision make sense for your current life?
• Perhaps the "person" (that is, YOU) has grown up over the years, but the "artist," who never had his or her due, is still a striving teenager.
• If you still hunger for the youngster's dream, but you know in your heart that it is not right for you now, is it possible that you need a period of grieving in order to let go of the old dream so that a new vision can emerge?
• If you cannot attain the great fame that you once were seeking, what other kind of singing life would satisfy your hunger? Can you describe it in some detail?
• Can you create short, mid and long-range plans for yourself that do you scare or worry your family?
• Can you be more creative about the new ways to become known? (Internet-oriented, for example.)
• Do you feel that you have a message for an audience that is your age? If so, what is that message? What can you offer NOW through your mature talent that an audience is eager to hear?
As I wrote in a recent message about auditions: "I try always to keep in mind that: “The present is the point of power!”
In other words, NOW is the only time you have. And NOW is the time to become what you want to be. So if you have a deep need to sing, get clear on your personal meaning of success - and get singing.
Please take a moment to tell me what kind of information you are most interested in these days.
If necessary, may you discover a new meaning of success! I Wish You Great Singing!