You’ve been dreaming about singing professionally since before you could talk. You visualize yourself taking that surreal walk up to the podium after your name is announced as Best New Artist. You’ve already written your acceptance speech and saved links to your three favorite red carpet outfits. And no one can rock a hairbrush mic
like you do!
But are you truly ready to make those dreams come true?
Let’s get real: A lot of time, hard work, and focused preparation go into manifesting any goal or desire. There’s this romantic myth of the overnight success. The young girl discovered singing to herself at a bus stop; the down-and-out busker who goes viral on YouTube; the accidental star who didn’t even realize she had a golden voice. But nobody falls blindly into a recordIng contract. And you are no exception to that rule.
So here are four invaluable things you must do to pave your road to success:
Put in the time. In his game-chan
ging bestseller Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcom Gladwell introduced the concept that it takes 10,000 hours to master any skill. That works out to 20 hours a week for 10 years. Obviously not everyone will take this cookie-cutter path to expertise, but on average, most successful people who’ve truly honed their crafts will tell you that this checks out. They all have “war” stories to back it up. Endless, grueling practice; seemingly insurmountable obstacles which they could not overcome...until they did; years of trial and error and trial and error and error and trial until this or that breakthrough occurred and they found themselves truly ready to succeed no matter what life threw their way. 10,000 hours isn’t just about learning the ropes. It will actually re-wire your brain, your senses, your reflexes, and your perceptions. The true expert incorporates her craft into her DNA on a very literal level.
Be fearless. You need to embrace your failures. We all have them and they tend to be the best teachers...even better than our successes. Learning what not to do clears the path considerably, leading you to a much clearer and cleaner picture of precisely what you should do. So sing. Put yourself out there. Every day. Everywhere. Take chances. Try on different styles and genres until the perfect fit reveals itself. Be willing to to get out of your comfort zone, to fail. Will you ever fall flat (pun intended)? Absolutely! But by doing so, you’ll actually expand your skills and your world exponentially. And “mysteriously“, you’ll find your true voice through a process of elimination. Don’t be surprised when you discover that it’s bigger and more beautiful than you’d ever imagined.
You can’t do it alone. No one is an island. None of us succeed in a vacuum. You need support. And lots of it. You need people around you who will nudge you when you need it and who’ll push hard when you think you cannot take one more step. You need honest feedback and sincere encouragement. And you need at least one extraordinary mentor who can help you forge your own path. If you’ve not yet done so, get yourself a vocal coach, STAT. Look for one who will stand by you through the entire process, not just accompany you once a week for 30 minutes of warmups and recitation. A world-class vocal coach will approach your success holistically. She will be just as interested in your diet and sleep patterns as she is in your vocal range. She will care about your happiness and your life. She will support every detail of your journey towards success. And she won’t be afraid to kick you in the tuchus every now and then.
Prepare! Prepare! Prepare! Never underestimate the value of being prepared. Never dismiss the importance of managing every possibility, every last detail. Putting in your 10,000 hours is as much about training yourself to prepare as it is about becoming an expert. If you were offered your dream audition today, would you be ready? How many pieces have you perfected down to the last note, the most subtle gesture? How flexible are you if they throw you a curveball? If you think you need three audition-ready songs, prepare 10. Be ready to adjust. Be ready to regroup. Be ready to show them that you...
Love what you do! If singing is your calling, you know it. And do does everybody else. There’s no doubt. It’s as much a part of you as breathing. The most successful singers make it look easy because for them it is. There’s nowhere they’d rather be, nothing they’d rather do. And it shows. If you do not feel it, you should ask yourself some hard questions...and consider the path you truly want to take. But if you do, then nothing can stop you because you’re already successful every time you lift your voice.
There are no shortcuts. But here’s the good news: when you are where you need to be, doing what you love to do, following the path your heart desires, all that hard work feels a lot like play and time can often fly by. And one day you’ll suddenly realize that you’ve become an expert, ready - “prepper” ready - to take the world by storm...as if out of nowhere!