A client came in the other day longing to improve her R&B sound. Herself a professional jazz singer, she'd just picked up Mary J Blige's new album and wanted desperately to learn how to create "that aching honesty..."
Isn't it funny how often the answers to our questions lie within the questions themselves?
So many people I work with- singers and non-singers alike- are looking for explanations for how to create more sincere musical and personal statements, unaware that they already possess the answers. My job is simply to help coax out from hiding what they long ago deemed unable or unworthy of properly learning about and achieving their dreams and goals.
The great leaders and artists- those that indeed ache with honesty- do so because they constantly pour out from within what they've culled from the deepest reaches of their interiors. Their gifts are not necessarily those of inherent greatness, but rather, the ability to search for the uniqueness within themselves, and the bravery to proudly express whatever they find.
The true source of my client's longing became clear when we explored what Mary J Blige's voice and image represented to her: "uninhibited, sensual, powerful, emotional voluptuousness, dripping with self-love..."
... none of which she felt about herself.
Together we began the journey of uncovering and releasing the sensuality within her, as well as the buried belief that she has the right to express it. Once we did, what began as a desire to imitate turned into a truly unique and special voice making itself known... quietly at first, then louder, stronger, and more sure...
Watch out, Mary...