Nella asks: I want to become a famous singer and I have no idea how to begin that career.
Hi Nella –
Oh I know just how you feel. If I come back as a human in my next life, I’d love to be a singer. The way they’re able to just stand up there and open their mouths and put out beautiful sounds that make people swoon, cry, dance, or even think – that’s so cool. My bark is, well, frankly, pretty hideous, so no one ever loves the sound of it (though Handsome’s awfully pleased with the way it scares off thieves and crazy people). So the idea of putting out sounds that everyone loves… that would be glorious!
Now pretty much all children love to sing. But often after a while, they stop. They get embarrassed about it, and that’s just so sad! Because even if they’re totally tone-deaf, singing is such an expression of life and living, it should never be shut down.
So you’ve got two things going here, Nella. First, you want to be a serious singer. My biggest recommendation for that is to get real vocal training. It doesn’t matter if you want to sing opera or jazz or pop or anything else, the human race has learned a lot about what is good and bad for voices to do, and you really want to benefit as much as you can from that knowledge. And in the meantime, I urge you to sing all you can. If your school has a choir, sing in that. If you belong to a place of worship that has singing, sing there. Sing in the shower, sing in the car, sing to your pets, sing to put babies to sleep, sing everywhere.
And the reason I say that is that if you don’t just love singing all the time, then you don’t really want to do it as a profession. When we see singers on TV, they look so cool that of course we want to be like them, but the truth is it’s hard work. And if you do get famous, you’ll be spending the rest of your life being asked to sing the same songs over and over. So you’d better love it!
But now, moving onto the second issue, you say you want to become a famous singer. Becoming famous is a very different issue. That involves working extremely hard to get performance dates, getting great people to work with you, taking advantage of every opportunity you get, and probably creating a “brand” for yourself (Just think, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift are both very talented women who’ve done enormous work to get where they are, but you’d never mistake one for the other. Very different branding!). The most helpful thing you can do for yourself is to, when possible, get a great agent who can help create those opportunities for you, and help you avoid some bad experiences.
But again, Nella, it will never work unless you just love to sing. A man once told Handsome about a girl he knew some when she was around twelve years old. She carried a guitar with her everywhere she went, and seemed even a bit obnoxious as she’d tell everyone she met “I’m gonna be a rock and roll star!” Years later, that little girl, whose name was Linda Ronstadt, has recorded over 30 albums, been on 120 albums by others, won ten Grammy awards, and become a major force not only in Rock music, but also in Country, Traditional Pop, Broadway, Mariachi, and Folk music. Now that’s a girl who loves to sing! If that’s where you’re heading… oh boy I just can’t wait to see where you get!