Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Why You Should Sing "All Of Me" Without Actually Giving It

Sometimes you need to keep it zipped!
A great question was just emailed to me: 
"Could we discuss more the idea of letting your audience know a part of you without feeling like you have given them all of you.  I think this is a problem for me.."
OK, lots of times athletes, singers, public speakers, etc. are advised to give ALL of themselves to their performances. The truth is, if you did that, there would be nothing left of you to do it again, would there? Also, it is NOT true that if you use your voice publically, the public has a right to all of you. This belief can be a particularly treacherous problem for ultra sensitive personalities which include a great deal of creative people (and public entertainers). Here are some suggestions to help make some sense of this subject:
  • First and foremost... you will not be able to build a loyal following unless you can relate to your audience from part of your real self. It's not psychologically healthy to "fake relate"... and audiences can smell the fraud. 
  • However, what I mean is PART of your real self. You can and should stay a bit of a mystery, both for your sake and theirs. Smoke and mirrors have always been a part of the entertainment business. This is not a cop out. People actually DON'T want to know that the entertainer or public speaker they are listening to is afraid, mad, tired or in a bad mood! 
  • Think of public performance as acting... and good acting is not fake. (I love the book "No Acting, Please" with a forward by Jack Nicholson.) It's reacting/relating to-- and getting a response from-- a chosen object of the conversation. It's something you've done before with a real person, so you know how to communicate it. According to the subject matter you are delivering, you can make that object the focus of the lyric or you can make it a sort of composite 'one heart' of your audience. As with acting, stay in focused character while you're on the set (stage/signing booth, recording booth, etc.) and only when you are out of that environment, you can go back to your full, unsensored and unguarded self.
  • Consider the extreme: very successful public acts who hide most of themselves from the public ... Kiss, Marilyn Mason, etc. I would bet money that they draw from a rib or two  and then blow that characteristic up to represent something larger than life for entertainment purposes... while they themselves are able to stay quite private. Note: some acts whose public face is quite moral, positive, loving and compassionate are drawing from very little of themselves, too. To each his own, but it must be hard to keep up appearances if they are TOO far from reality:)
  • Consider the wisdom of establishing healthy 'boundaries'. You are friendly with someone you just meet, and you try to authentically connect from part of yourself, but you don't show "all of you" if you are wise, until that person proves themselves trustworthy of being let in that far. Well, your audience is like that person... you want to connect, but you hopefully wouldn't share your innermost thoughts or move in with them yet!
  •  Have a small circle of accountability partners that you can trust with "All Of You". VERY, VERY important. These may or may not be family members but they are your closest and best friends. Like unique shards of glass, this circle can show you the true reflection of yourself and keep you safe from your own press, your own sweet well-meaning fans AND from mean-spirited critics. 
  • Make sure you have enough personal 'space'... and this is different for different personalities. Ignore this need at your own sanity's peril! Interact as little as possible before going into performance. Then yes, be the social butterfly who actually cares about the people. Next step... get yourself some alone time. Breathe and feel the satisfaction of the event.
  • Laugh at yourself- a lot! It's not about you, anyway:)
Anyone else care to throw in a thought or experience with this? Please do!

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  • At June 20, 2011 at 9:12 PM , Anonymous Donni De-Ville said...

    Good advice Judy. One of my ways of coping with 'noisy' individuals, not really heckling, but just shouting out at the wrong moments, was to ask the largest person to come to the front of the stage, so I could hear him properly. Then I would lean in and tell him I would appreciate it if he could make sure some of his noisy mates, could behave themselves.

    This would make him feel important and he would then do the job very well. Which of course also, helped him to behave better too.


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