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One of the tenets of Brett Manning’s coaching is to discover, develop, and build upon the qualities that define your unique voice. The goal isn’t to change you or make you into something you’re not. The goal is to free up and heighten what defines you as a singer, so that you become the very best version of “you” in terms of various textures, tones, and nuance.

The challenge comes with marketing you as a singer, singer-songwriter, singing musician, or performer. It’s a fact of life that if you want to be successful, you need something that clearly defines you that can help distinguish you as a viable force in the market.


Whether we like it or not, marketability is a fact of life in the music business. For you as an artist, it requires taking a good hard look at what you can live with in terms of how your image is defined and the marketing package is designed. This will obviously impact the material you sing, and there may be choices to make that are uncomfortable.

To help you live with these choices, you have to know yourself well, have a clear sense of personal vs. professional boundaries, and be confident and comfortable with who you are on the inside. Otherwise you may turn to self-destructive behaviors because you’re representing something that works against what drives your heart and renews your spirit.

Stay Committed

If you’re talented, grounded, driven to succeed, but won’t compromise for the sake of marketing pressure, you will most likely have to travel a much longer, even lonelier road to success. On the positive side you’ll have a career you can live with, not be ashamed of or embarrassed by, and the bumps in the road won’t come from issues of self-abuse.
As long as you stay committed to your gift with integrity and are talented, you will succeed to some degree at some point!

Constant Comments

If you resist change or are opposed to constructive criticism, you stand a strong chance of not being taken seriously or promoted. Now this doesn’t mean that you need to make adjustments based on every bit of criticism you receive. However, if you receive the same or similar comments or criticisms from a number of people, you should make the effort to learn more about what it is they don’t like and what they would like to see more of in its place.

How You’re Perceived

Making adjustments will be fairly easy if you know your strengths, have a clear, strong sense of self emotionally, and have a strong spiritual base to operate from. But, again, do not make any changes that you can’t live with in the long run. Always seek a second or third opinion on making a change that has you feeling a bit uneasy or uncomfortable on the inside. We’re not talking about changes that require extra work or additional training. These are changes that impact how you’re perceived in terms of the image you project and any message you are sending.

Avoid Destructive Behaviors

The danger with not knowing yourself, or being so caught up in the drive to be a star with benefits, is what happens to you on the inside. If you instinctually do not agree with what you are putting out in the public arena as a performer, it will manifest itself in your personal and private life through negative, self-destructive behaviors. The joy and love that comes from singing will give way to resentment, arguments, and you stand to lose your passion for performing.

Know Why You Sing

One of the things that will help you avoid negative behaviors is to stay focused and very clear on why you sing or perform or write – whatever your gift or gifts. You need to set aside some quiet time to consider motivation, desire, personal beliefs, and other contributing factors that serve as reasons to share your gift. You want to identify these factors so that you can objectively consider the pros and cons of any consequences and circumstances.

Critical Q’s

There are several questions to ask yourself that will help you get a read on what you want, what you need, and what it may cost you. These questions are: What do I love the most about singing (or performing or writing), and what does it do for me? What do I want my audience to take to heart from what I offer? Who are the key people that have had the greatest influence in the pursuit of my singing success, and how can I please them?

One Day At A Time

Respond to each question one day at a time. You can write out your thoughts or speak them into a recorder, whichever works best for you. It’s important to set aside separate days so that your responses don’t influence or feed off of each other. But you must take time to honestly answer each daily question as completely as you can. It’s also vital to make note of any specific memories or key real-life examples that support your responses.

Wait Then Review

When the last question is answered, don’t go back and review your responses until a full week has passed. Resist the temptation to go back and change your responses during the week. You want to give yourself a break from responding so that you’ll be in a position to review what you’ve written or recorded with fresh eyes and a little distance.

What these questions reveal gives you a sense of your personal inner truths and values. But it also makes you more aware of external factors that appeal to wants, needs, wishes, dreams, hurts, hopes, cravings, and goals.

It gives you a clearer picture of who you are without the influence of image consultants, market research, product development, stylists, booking agents, managers, other singers, and everybody else that will have a hand in shaping your career.

Know What You Stand For

The bottom line is that you’ll never rise to the top if you don’t know who are you and what you stand for. It’s important to see where you stand in terms of what you’re willing to compromise in terms of being popular. It will make you aware of potential sensitive spots, areas where you’re especially vulnerable or at risk. With these areas you want to be able to take the right stand, one that you can live with, and even build on.

A Practical Balance

How it feels to share your gift will give you a clearer sense of any internal career driving forces. For example, if you can be perfectly happy singing and not making any money, or feel fulfilled as a singer by playing to a vitually empty house, you’ll survive emotionally, which is a good sign. But, the bottom line is that you need an audience and a vocal, adoring, demanding, loyal fan base, in order to have a viable career. And you want that fan base to continue to grow.

You need to look at those people that have been most influential in the pursuit of your singing success, and consider where they’re coming from, so that you can connect with what appeals to your reasons for singing. You need to look at what you want your audience to receive because it’s key to the bond of communication you’re hoping to form and play to. This says a lot about those real motivating factors in you.

Share What Matters Most

Share your responses via the forums at and talk to your voice teacher or vocal coach about what you’ve discovered. By sharing your responses you reinforce what you stand for, where you’re coming from, and what you hope to accomplish with your singing career.

Look for video clips here at that reinforce the skills you need to work on most in order to have the greatest impact as a dynamic, viable force in the music business. Book sessions with the Brett Manning certified associates that appeal to you most strongly. Let the strength you build vocally feed your love and passion for singing. Let it bring out the best in everything you want to represent as a public figure and performing artist.

Knowing yourself, being grounded, while having a healthy perspective with positive support, should be among your priorities. This grounded focus is also a vital tool for survival in this industry. Stick with it, and it will help you arrive without apology or regret as you reap the rewards of your authentic singing success.

Randy Moomaw

Author Randy Moomaw

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