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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Voice will not Give you a Career!

Hi there,

Well it's the topic du jour and I'm loving watching 'The Voice' from the safety of my armchair (see 'Sticking it the Voice' from last week). I love the way all the contestants are coached to say 'everything is on the line for me'. If there is a lot at stake for them, we are more likely to be pulled into the drama. But one singer recently said to the cameras: 'Tonight is my last chance. I have obligations now. If I don't get through, this will be the end for me.' Then his fiance came on saying: 'He's got responsibilities now so if this doesn't work, it will all be over'. 

Oh so it's your last chance because you've got a fatal disease hanging over your head? No. So you're the one with tonnes of kids to provide for? Oh, no kids yet. So you're getting on and feel like time is running out? Hmm, you're in your 20s. Oh I see, you're engaged and 'real life' is calling you. Ah! Well thank goodness you didn't get through to the next round because if you can let it go so easily then frankly, you don't deserve it. Jump in with both feet. 'The Voice' is never going to hand anyone a career on a platter. It's going to enhance what they already have. 

Look at the most successful contestants so far. Darren Percival has taken his TV exposure and run with it to build on a strongly constructed base. Simon Meli had a career before 'The Voice' and its aftermath will hopefully open new doors to bigger live shows and more record sales. It's those like him who have already put in the work and shown their commitment that really win. Whether they 'win' The Voice or not, no fiance or white picket fence is going to stop them singing. They're not going to be working in music because they won a TV singing contest and winning a TV singing contest is not going to guarantee a career for them. They're going to do it because they couldn't live with doing anything else.

No doubt I'll be here next time with another 'Voice' rant. Love to hear what you think...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Stickin' it to 'The Voice'!

Hi there,

There seems a lot of that lately - more than usual criticism of the show we love to hate, 'The Voice'. Don't get me wrong, keep reading my posts and you'll hear me having a go too; we're all entitled to our rants. But for the moment I find myself, once again, defending the show that I didn't want to be part of myself. Most of the negative stuff I've been reading is about the poor treatment of artists. I've had friends who have suffered by being part of this show - this industry can be soul and ego crushing at the best of time and I hate to see fellow artists become 'fodder for ratings grabs'. The thing is, isn't it naive to think it would be any other way? 

I do actually think this show is more respectful to its participants than compatriots Idol and X Factor, but 'The Voice' wasn't designed by its producers to be a vehicle for artists' careers or even to showcase the best singers. Just as the Biggest Loser wasn't designed to be a helpful way to lose weight and gain health. Both shows are created by the same production company after all. These shows and all like it were designed to, well, make money! Commercial TV is a cut throat world and ratings make or break a show. Viewers need drama to keep watching and producers use what they've got to create it - in this case artists, often with fragile egos. So it hurts to feel used - couldn't agree more; I couldn't subject myself to that. I often don't agree with the judges' decisions and quite often the best artists aren't the winners. At the same time, some artists gain massive exposure and great contacts by tiptoeing along this TV tightrope. 

We need to understand the business of this business and go in with eyes open. It's a risky one with potentially huge payoffs. Just like the music industry itself and a bit like life really! I don't necessarily like it but I do believe it's a matter of 'live by the sword, die by the sword'.

Till next time,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Just learn to sing man!

Hi there,

I think I have the best job in the world but the problem with doing something that looks like so much fun (it is) is that people think it's only fun and that it's easy (it really isn't). 'The Voice' judges on TV gabber on a lot about the importance of singers 'telling a story' and 'making a connection'. As important as that stuff is, they don't seem to talk much about technique and the practical side of learning to actually sing properly. I have heard gigging singers say, 'I've never had a singing lesson' - well don't boast about it! Lack of training, at the minimum, usually means a voice that will blow out after only two gigs in a row...let alone lack of breath control and weak projection. 

If you had a natural flair for a volley and a mean backhand and were aiming for the professional circuit, wouldn't you get a tennis coach pronto? There probably exists the rare warbler whose voice is so good that training can't improve it - but I'm yet to hear them. Now you may tell me about a guy called Bob Dylan - never had a singing lesson. I would say, as a singer, Bob makes a mighty fine storyteller. And you may tell a story better than Hans Christian Anderson, but that does not a singer make! 

I can't help but get personally offended when people get up on the professional stage without a lesson behind them (I am a Cancerian so I do take most things personally!) You think so little of this pursuit that you're not willing to put everything into it? It's an art, sure, but it's also a craft - please respect it and get thyself to a singing teacher!
See you next time!