Sunday, November 30, 2014

Finding Your Niche

Sunday the end of November...

Are you finding your niche?  Where you can inhabit?

There are so many factors in our lives as artists.

Some are artists.

Some have artistic temperaments.

Some are performers.

Some are artists who perform.

Some are craftspeople.

Some are process people.

Some are a quick bolt of lightening.

Some are a slow burn.

Finding out WHAT you are,  and then WHERE you are reveals even more,  and can be thoroughly exhausting and confusing.

We fight the constant "in the box" mentality to allow our artistic individuality to be allowed to breathe.  We need to do that if we want to find authenticity as an artist.

However, then there's the business of show.  If we want to work,  make a living or some semblance,  are we ready to go where our talent takes us?  And how do we know not just how we WISH to be seen, but how we ARE being seen?

I see the frustration.  I've experienced it.

As I get older,  I have decided not to succumb to the box,  but rather, enjoy the process of creating MY OWN.

And I don't want a box,  I want a niche.  It allows for my uniqueness to be displayed as opposed to being put away. 

As a performer,  you want your uniqueness remembered.  You want to be in the minds of someone who is casting who sees you clearly.

Here's the catch:  the only way they see you clearly is if YOU see you clearly.

If something doesn't add up,  it's too much time and effort to riddle it out,  and your head shot and resume are placed unceremoniously in THAT OTHER PILE.

You, the artist, You, the performer,  must discover what makes you unique, where your niche will be, and occupy that space!

Get creative with it.  Come on!  You say you are an artist,  so BE one!  Create!  Create yourself!

Don't get caught in the regular,  boring, non-descriptive adjectives.

Carve out a place for yourself!

How aware of yourself are you?

Time to ask the hard questions of yourself, and people you trust that can keep it real.  This doesn't need to hurt, but rather invigorate you to discover what space you can truly call yours!!

There are so many people trying to work in this business,  Music Theatre, Theatre, Film, TV, Opera - all of which have their own specificities and quirks.

There is always going to be someone better than you,  hungrier than you,  more determined than you.

So what makes YOU the best YOU, the most unique YOU,  the most qualified YOU?

The pieces of the puzzle don't have to fit in a "traditional" way - sometimes the "quirks" we find that don't seem to fit can end up becoming the recognized niche we need.

Are you ready for that?

So much of the time we are constantly trying to CHANGE something.  If only I had...If only I could do...If day...

What about saying the square peg does belong in the round hole and this is how it works?

And claim it.  And demonstrate it.  Show us.  Create the niche.

What are your personality quirks? What makes you YOU?  Ask the people that love being around what they love about you.  Also ask them what drives them NUTS.

What are your physical attributes?  Don't value judge!  They are all real.  If you think perfect physical specimens are the only ones working,  (whatever THAT means) you are mistaken!!!  You are a perfect physical specimen for a role if you embody the niche you say you do and it works!

What can you emphasize about your energy?  Do you know what your energy reveals?  Are there differences in that energy when you are with your friends?  Your family?  Business people?  In an audition room?  In a class?   What happens?  What changes?  What can you use????

Does your voice match your body?  Do you have options?  What are they?

What can do you to still be true to your physical self and your vocal self at the same time?

You are only stuck if you decide to be.

If you feel stuck,  guess what?  That's what "they" get in the room:  This person doesn't know what they want us to see;  they don't know who they are;  next!

So often, we think we must de-emphasize something.  What if we were to really emphasize that quirk, so-called oddity,  interesting quality,  fascinating tic?   What niche could you occupy and thereby, inhabit, within the business?

Okay, I hear the question now:  but if I try to get too specific, doesn't that limit my ability to get hired?

And I answer:  Generic is generic.  There is tons of generic out there.  How does one differentiate? If you find your specificity,  then you focus on working in THAT niche.  The work could be constant frankly,  because you would be filling a niche that is uniquely you.

Type, Fach, Hit - whatever you use to "define" is there as a guideline.  The basic description is generic.  YOU define your niche by what you bring and how you hone and how you reveal.

Get creative with it! 

As an example:
We are all a little quirky.  What are your specific quirks?  Quirky how?  Describe your descriptives!!!

Find the roles that would fit YOU as you occupy and inhabit your niche.

Decide where in the business that takes might be surprised as to how much possible work there is,  if you decide to focus in instead of get frustrated with a generality.

Happy discovery!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Looking for a Summer Music Theatre Experience?

I am thrilled to be a part of Music Theatre on the Thames this summer 2015!

Are you looking for a unique music theatre experience in a great locale?  Check it out!

I will be there as a specialist,  offering my Authentic Voice workshops and a public Master Class.

Check out the Co-Artistic Directors in candid chat on youtube here.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in America!

Happy Thursday to everybody regardless of where you are!

This week begins the holiday season.  It is always one of my favorite times of year - even with all the bustle and busy-ness,  I find it a great time to be still and re-evaluate and re-tool what I want to accomplish.

I was asked recently why I starting writing this blog - and even though it has gained a wonderful readership over the years - YOU - I started it because I just needed to write things down.  I wanted to collect my thoughts as I observed the business, the theatre, the studio, the craft, the spirit of the artist.  I figured writing a blog was less stressful and less expensive than seeing a shrink!

In writing this,  I have discovered more of what I want to accomplish.   I have been able to find more clarity and specificity in my artistic life and how I challenge others to do the same.

Trust me,  every issue I write about,  I have learned about!  I did not come out of the womb knowing how to do things in this business or on my own artistic journey!  If anybody made mistakes or took missteps along the way - it was this girl!  I know because I lived it,  and figured out how to fix it and make it work.

I keep learning.  I keep discovering.  I keep evolving. 

Do I get frustrated?  Do I procrastinate?  Do I get scared?  Of course I do. 

Do I question and wonder if it's worth it?  Yes.

Do I get angry with myself or disappointed with myself when I don't follow through the way I wanted?  Yes.

But every day is a new one.  I have the grand capacity to make things much more complicated than they need to be;  I am learning to release that and truly live in the present and in the moment and breathe through my initial reaction to create more complication.  Some days I succeed.  Some days I need to keep learning!

So today,  as I sit at my computer screen before the day's festivities begin,  I sip my coffee and look out the window at the winter wonderland that has landed gracefully around me and say:


Thank you for possibility.

Thank you for hope.

Thank you for not just accepting, but questioning to find the right answers - the right answers for YOU.

Thank you for discovery.

Thank you for strange and unique and odd directions of the path.

Thank you for artistic inquisitiveness.

And Thank YOU - for reading, for emailing me or messaging me or posting.  Thank YOU for inspiring me to write and to question for you, for me, and for all of us as we meander this crazy life of artist and of business of show.

As we all muddle through together,  there is suddenly an "A-HA!" moment - and I live for those! 

Keep living for your "A-HA!" - and when you find it,  savor it.  It belongs to you.  THEN you can give more fully to those who ask of you.

Be wherever you are.  And wherever you are, be there.

Happy Thanks.

Happy Giving.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Why Do You Sing?

Musings this Sunday morning...

It's a simple, yet highly personal and highly complex question.

Why do you sing?

Don't try to answer too quickly.  We are always looking for "sound bites" and pat answers.  This is not that type of question.  At least, not to me.

Why do you sing?


Not, why do you THINK you sing.

Not, why did you START singing.

Not, who do you sing for?


Often these are the questions, or this is the question we forget to remind ourselves of as we journey through the development of the craft of voice,  of being a performer, of developing our artistry, of juggling and struggling to make ends meet as we pursue the business of show, or not.

We can feel so discouraged, or angry, or grouchy, or disillusioned, or bitchy because of the business, the struggle, the rejection,  the tiny morsels when you are really starving - that we forget the answer to this question;  if we ever truly claimed the answer in the first place.

How would you feel if you didn't sing?

What would you do if you decided NOT to sing?

Perhaps those questions can help to create an angle to allow you full access into why you DO sing?

The clearer you are about why,  the more focused your day becomes.  The more focused your day becomes, the more open the journey becomes.  The burden becomes lighter.  It is a burden CHOSEN by you,  not placed on you.

We all have a choice.  If you are trying to pursue a career,  you can often feel as if all the choices are not yours.  In fact,  the choices of why and how and when in many cases are still very much in your control and in your power and decision to DO something about them.

 So, why do you sing?  I mean, really?  Not the answer that your teacher wants to here;  not the answer you give your parents;  not the answer you think everybody wants to hear after this length of time trying to be a singer;  not even the answer YOU think you should give to make yourself feel better,  feel important,  feel crucial.

The answer is often in the shadows when the lights are off;  in whispers;  not because you are ashamed of the answer,  but the answer becomes too personal to reveal to anybody else BUT YOU.

Nobody needs to know why you sing.  People will speculate.  People will tell you THEIR answer. 

Your answer is really all that matters if you choose to answer it honestly,  and claim it fully.

There is not a right or wrong answer.

There is only YOUR answer.

Your answer then reveals TO you about you;  and where you are supposed to be next;  and what the next question is;  and who you ask that question of.

The question AND the answer will keep you grounded as so much around us is trying to give us artistic amnesia.  

Keep asking the questions.  The REAL ones.  And keep clearing space to find the REAL answers.  Nobody has to approve,  disapprove, like or dislike.  The question is real,  and it deserves a real answer, that only YOU can provide.

Ask it,  discover the answer.  YOURS.