Walking into the auditorium of my old alma Marta with my buddy and Senior High School drama teacher, I couldn’t help but ask; “How many of these kids think they’ve got what it takes to become the next Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber?
It was audition day and the line for tryouts was about 15 deep for the lead singer in the upcoming production of West Side Story. Her answer made me smile at the optimistic outlook that comes with youth. “Oh, easily half – if not more” was her response.
My friend was quite honest and even blunt in her assessments as each kid came center stage to belt out their chosen tune meant to impress. With overhead cranes working just outside the window on the new gymnasium being built, every audition presented the challenges of distraction and noise, but that didn’t seem to matter to any of the enthusiastic young vocalists.
What advice would you give to a teenager filled with future dreams that hold a Grammy and a trip down the red carpet? It’s a delicate balance between realism, idealism and discouragement.
• Keep the faith – mostly in yourself and your talent. If someone doesn’t believe in themselves then no one else will either. Self-doubt will show up on stage like a red flag. Being nervous at an audition is forgivable as long as those nerves step aside as you proceed into your act. Nerves can actually showcase your personality if you work with them rather than letting them restrict you.
• Preserver – things don’t usually happen overnight. Although you have seen the stories of those who are discovered their first time singing in a local club, or made it to The Voice, AGT, or back in the day American Idol, those are the 1%. If you are a part of the 99%, don’t get discouraged and consider using your time wisely until you get where you want.
• Keep developing your skill – study with a voice coach and expand your vocal range. Get a professional’s input who is trained to hear you objectively and offer constructive feedback. Friends and family are not always objective. They don’t want to hurt your feelings, or from their point of view they honestly think you’re the greatest, but one way or the other, outside coaching is smart and more reliable.
• Hone your uniqueness – anyone can copy other artists, and usually not as well. When you touch on what makes you different, own it. Sell the buggers out of what it is that makes you unlike everyone else who has come before you. Celebrate what makes you stand-out from those you admire, and learn from them, but don’t be a clone.
• Write original material – so you might not be the greatest when it comes to putting thoughts into lyrics, but you can always find someone who is. If you find the right match, another person’s talent can be highlighted as you work towards shining the light on your own. If you have the gift of being a decent lyricist, keep writing and as with all things; the more you do it the better you become.
• Network – meet people. There are layers of production behind every star. Who makes it happen doesn’t start and end with only an agent. Meet people who have similar interests and talents. Get to know who is influential within the industry from the ticket takers to the talent scouts – and everyone in between. While you’re at it make friends. It’s a competitive industry and building bridges that you may need to cross further down in your career will come in handy. Everyone wants to make it, but most are happy when a colleague gets a break. In turn, be a good source for others. If you know a good writer, or where the best place in town is to make an amazing demo share the information. The good will come back to you.
What are your thoughts for those wanting to be the next pop star? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.auditions Justin Bieber pop stars singers Taylor Swift West Side Story