Becoming a Famous Singer
An episode from the starvation years:
I had just finished playing an hour set in the 24th & Mission Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station when two young crust punks came up to me as I was packing up.
“You’re real good man! Just like that Justin Bieber” one said in all seriousness.
“It’s just a matter of time” said the other one “till you’re playing on Letterman.”
“Yeah man, you’re gonna be walking down the street and a limo will pull up beside you and slow down. And that’s gonna be your ride!”
I looked from the tall skinny punk to the short stocky one with the faded Megadeth shirt and told them I appreciated what they said.
But I told them I didn’t expect to be famous overnight.
The stocky one looked at me with the most intense set of eyes I’ve ever seen and said grimly: “You will though.” And nodding emphatically repeated, “You will.”
I thanked them for their encouragement and chugged a bottle of water before pulling out my guitar to start set two.
It would be a long afternoon, but my voice was holding up well and I had made enough money in tips to buy my evening burrito ration.
I bring this story up for a couple reasons.
I feel there is an overwhelming culture of instant success surrounding music and musicians.
It’s an either you have it or you don’t culture. One of “If I can just show these people how good I am, I’ll go straight to the top”.
Even if you are lucky enough for this kind of success to happen to you, you may find it difficult to maintain fame in a culture with memory as fleeting as ours.
The real, “successful” musicians, however, continue to produce great music throughout the years but do not publicize all the work that it takes to get there.
They don’t talk about the weeks in the studio singing one take to make it sound like they want it.
I think this leads many musicians to believe they need to be a perfect end product, rather than a work in progress.
Of course the truth is we’re all just works in progress, but you can certainly shortcut the path from good to great by taking voice lessons.
As a case in point, I accepted the truth that I could be a MUCH better singer, so a couple months after my conversation with my crust punk fans, I started taking voice lessons.
A path that led me directly to working with you.