Sunday, May 17, 2009

An email received...

I received an email from a young woman this week who was looking for voice lessons.  She will obviously remain anonymous, however, her email summed up the state of our business (I say that loosely because the "business" has so many subdivisions).

Her email said she couldn't sing, but she needed to learn to sing to get that record deal that would make her famous.  And that she was broke and did I offer scholarships for singing lessons?

To me - that summed up so much of the American Idol-ism of what our business is becoming. Famous is not craft.  Famous is an empty non-knowing. Those that are not famous and have no vocabulary in our business have no idea what "famous" means or what it truly represents. This makes me sad actually.  

What happened to building craft? Taking time to seek? Discover? Observe? Develop a life that is filled with artistic pursuit in how one lives one's life????

"Famous" means nothing. It is not a pursuit; it is a vocation; it is not a calling; it is empty and meaningless and if you speak to real artists who have had to deal with it, as a bi-product of their work, they would rather have their craft than their famous-ness and be left alone.

Pursuit of SELF is BEYOND famous.  Self, no matter what the directive - be it in the arts or not.  This is TRUTH to me.  The other is a brass ring that is only an illusion.  Sad so many people believe it's real.


  1. The model for "fame" that consistently leaves me speechless with admiration is Placido Domingo: at the top of his game in one branch of the profession, he has happily mutated himself into many other roles in the business and been able to make his mark there, too. Despite this kind of indisputable fame (according to any meaning of the term), he remains one of the kindest, most generous and consistently empathic colleagues and people it has ever been my privilge to meet or work worth, always finding time to make the people around him feel special and ALWAYS keeping sight of his unique artistic integrity and passion for over 40 years.

    THAT is the mark of a true star, IMO: a genuine artistic vision, the strength to follow through with the nitty-gritty of the hard work necessary to turn that vision into a reality, and still reatining a seemingly perfect balance of (necessary) ego, humility and humanity. That we could all find such a balance.

  2. well said! there are several of these artists in different genres - Judy Kaye in music theatre, Meryl Streep in film, Robert DeNiro in film, Helen Mirren in film and theatre, and on and on it goes!!!

    Your definition of a true star rings very very true!

  3. I'll leave something else here in agreement...I agree about your definition of a TRUE star, but this is a good definition for the so-called "stars" out there:

    "A star ain't nothin' but a big ball of gas." Jake (Dolly Parton), "Rhinestone"

    Leave it to Dolly to keep it short and sweet...much like the woman herself. :)