Over the years I’ve known a number of singers, actors, and artists that have clearly fallen out of love with their gift and have grown weary of furthering or pursuing a career in music. Some have even walked away completely, and a few will even become bitterly defensive when asked about singing. I have known a couple of singers that were so deeply hurt they’ve stopped listening to music altogether.
I’m not talking about singers, songwriters, and musicians that are marginal. These are talented, sensitive, self-aware individuals; and several are profoundly gifted. For me there is no greater tragedy than abandoning a gift. Sadly, this can happen in part because you get out of touch with why you sing or lose sight of why you write and play songs you love to share.
Out of Touch
Getting out of touch with why you sing is often a symptom of a bigger issue in your life. One of the dangers that can come from devoting so much time and energy to developing your craft is that many vital areas of your life that need attention are either ignored or neglected. For some, even a sense of play can be discouraged to the point it’s bound and gagged until it’s numbed and silenced.
One Size Should Not Fit All
Another issue that comes up for many is related to the physical image. I’ve known one amazing singer that put her gift aside because there was so much pressure and focus from management and label personnel to make her into a perfect petite when she was naturally more full-figured. The focus was shifted from her incredible voice to her size. After a few healthy and unhealthy attempts to comply she walked away very hurt, very angry, and is now very silent on the issue.
Defend + Deliver
I bring this up because it’s important to honor your unique gift and to nurture and affirm your role in serving and sharing your gift to its fullest. Stand up for it, defend it, and protect it. There will likely be sacrifices on the way and changes you’ll be asked to consider. But these should not be self-destructive or life-threatening. Your response to reasonable adjustments and sacrifices should focus on healthy, positive care for your gift. Sacrifices and adjustments must resonate with loving care for the development and delivery of your gift – period.
Positive + Playful
This is why it’s important to maintain relationships with people you love and to allow yourself time to rest, relax, have fun, and indulge those things that give you positive energy. You must also take time each day to give thanks and to celebrate the things that matter most to you.
In a previous posting we talked about creating a playspace. It is vital that you maintain a safe haven for self-indulgence, for rest and recreation, and for simply being reminded of the things you love about life and the role these activities, ideas, people, and places play in your love for singing and making music.
Take time to make a list of ten of your favorite songs. You don’t have to spend a lot of time sorting through your vast music collection. As a favorite song comes to mind, it will likely trigger another. You want to draw from those songs that you carry around in your heart. But, of course, if you’re stuck, check out your stash, stacks, and files. Once you have your list, ask yourself the following questions.
How does each song make you feel when you hear it? What’s your first memory of the song? What images come to mind when you hear it? When you sing along or sing the song yourself, who are you singing for?
Once you have your answers for each of your favorite songs, see what feelings, thoughts, imagery, themes, or impulses are common to these songs. Then, ask yourself what these mean to you in affirming or reinforcing your passion for singing and sharing music.
Three Times Weekly
Take time at list three times each week to check into your playspace and listen to or sing one of these top ten songs. Put together a playlist of these songs to carry with you in your Ipod or similar player, and have it with you in your car to listen to while driving. Make sure these songs are always readily available to nurture and reaffirm what you love about singing.
Share your top ten songs with others in the singingsuccess.tv forums. Talk about your reasons for singing and nurturing your gift. Offer positive support and encouragement for other singers, singer-songwriters, and singing musicians. If you’re asked to make a change that you’re not comfortable with or give you cause for some concern, share those feelings through our forums.
Keep your love for music and life playful, respectful, grateful, and faithful. It is not only vital to your survival; that love is one of the most powerful keys to engaging and driving your true singing success.