Ricky The Singer?
Most of us know Ricky Gervais as the creator and star of The Office and Extras, as well as the Golden Globe’s most dangerous host. However, very few know that back in the 80’s he had a record deal. The reason you probably haven’t heard of his recording career is that it didn’t go well. Two failed singles and the band broke up. It would be many years until Gervais found success in the entirely different medium of television comedy.
Gervais was recently asked why the band didn’t work. “Here’s what I did wrong,” he says. “I wanted to be a pop star, but I should’ve wanted to be a musician. I forgot about the work, the craft.”
Many aspiring singers want to be famous, but do they want to put in the work? Granted, we can all come up with examples of famous singers who are lacking in skill, but is this who you want to be?
A Lost Opportunity
Gervais is rare in that he was able to craft an amazing second act to his career, however, there have been many singers who aren’t so fortunate. They let the idea of fame and fortune become their guide rather than mastering their craft and their voice.
Once you’ve been dropped by a label it is often harder to get a second recording contract. You are often seen as damaged goods. It is critical that you spend your time perfecting your craft – so that you are ready when opportunity appears.
Fame – Now!
I have had beginning singers in my studio who ask at the very first lesson “can I win American Idol?” The answer is, of course, “NO!” To be able to emerge as a finalist from tens of thousands of singers is not easy. Anyone I have had go to Hollywood Week has been working on their voice for years.
It is no accident or mystery. It takes hard work and the right kind of work.
We’ve seen this happen again and again in our studio. A singer builds their career to the point where they have recorded an album and about to go on tour. Unfortunately, it is only now that they realize they do not have the vocal ability to sing night after night. Their voice is failing just in rehearsal.
They now come to us in a panic, just before opening night or a big TV appearance. Don’t let this be you. Build your voice now and your instrument will be ready for wherever your career takes you.
What You Need To Do
Your voice and your craft need to become your job. It will require an investment of time, and yes, money, but the results will be worth it.
Ask yourself – what are my vocal weaknesses? Can I hit all the notes I want easily and strongly? Can I confidently perform every time I get on stage? Have I eliminated vocal breaks and strain?
Then find a solid vocal workout. You will want to divide your time between warming up, then building a stronger voice with greater range and then applying it to songs. This needs to be done 5 to 6 days a week if you are serious.
There still remain the other aspects of being an artist, which we will cover in future blogs. This includes songwriting, performance, recording studio skills to name a few.
Don’t get caught unprepared.