It’s no secret that I am ALL for kids having screen time. In particular, I’m all for my night owl watching whateverthefuck is on, because sometimes it’s just too late for me to give AF.
I see so many kids music acts, and often the singers stand out to me. Not as great singers or entertainers, but because there’s just something WRONG with them.
Now before I go on – don’t get me wrong – there are some amazingly heartfelt talented people in this biz who are truly doing their soul work and fully expressing their soul on camera, and these people literally make me cry with their genius!
But there are others, who are clearly talented singers and dancers and whatnot, and they clearly know the theory behind every note they sing, and they know exactly where their body is at any point in time… but they just aren’t selling me. They seem contrived. There’s something about them that doesn’t show their true personality. There’s something slightly icky and plastic about them. I found it really hard to put my finger on it until one day I watched way too many of those kids shows about arts/dance/music academy schools.
This is really interesting, because I’m watching these kids, who have clearly attended these sorts of schools, and now they’re playing the parts of kids going to those schools. Incidentally, my university had one of those schools attached, and although I didn’t go to that high school (I grew up in a different state), I can see how these institutions shape and mold the kids. Hell, even I was not immune from the molding and shaping at university level.
It’s all about creating a certain look, a particular image, with a particular style, that is very impersonal, but highly curated, styled, and fashioned for the NOW.
And it’s easy to get work when you fit the mold, so it’s easy to keep it up, and never quite know how to set yourself free, or even know that you might one day WANT to be free. Especially in such a passionate industry as the arts. I mean – surely you’re operating in your passion if you’re doing this stuff? Kind of…
When you fit the mold, you’re automatically IN with the right people. And trust me – in the performing arts you NEED to be IN with the right people if you want regular gigs. Of course, you need talent too, but you also need to fit in.
I have never quite fit in.
Now, I wasn’t one of those musical theatre types like all those shows come across like.
Hell, I didn’t even KNOW what musical theatre WAS until I took an elective at uni called Music Theatre, and I thought it would be some magical improvised blend of music and theatre, when in actual fact it was “musical theatre” – the genre. (I was blind to this because I always hated those old musical movies as a kid, so this stuff wasn’t in my energy.)
I also took an elective called Improvisation. For some odd reason, I thought we’d be learning about how different cultures around the world use improvisation, and then we’d get to do a bunch of free improv, and it would be amazing exploring all this stuff. Instead it was a semester of jazz, so I quit and took up a subject at art school instead.
And then at art school, I did a subject called What Is Drawing. Now THERE’S an open minded subject – you’d think! No, as it turned out – although it was redefining art and drawing – I still didn’t fit the mold because I wasn’t one of those seriously artistic types that are so vague and, well, ARTY, so I think I failed that one. After handing in my portfolio, the teacher commented that my pieces were not complete (read: not good enough). Who was she to judge? And in such a subject as this?
And as I progressed, I got caught up in the Thing that All Classical Musicians Must Pursue A Job In An Orchestra.
It was just how we were molded and shaped! Like there WAS no other way to apply your brilliant technical and musical mastery. Orchestra or die.
Don’t get me wrong – I fkn LOVED playing in orchestra. But MAN was it stressful for me. You really do have to be perfect. And although I was KIND OF perfect MOST of the time, there were some times where I just COULDN’T.
Now, I managed to fit the mold pretty well in some situations. Solo stuff and small ensembles definitely. But I didn’t want to be a soloist on stage. That seemed kind of – naff. You have to wear like glittery dresses and stuff. I couldn’t even manage to match my socks.
So now I feel like I’ve gone off on this massivearse tangent, but I’m really showing how educational institutions mold and shape kids (and adults!) into specific looks, images, projections, ideas, and concepts – without allowing the talent – the GENIUS – to develop its own perfect style.
It wasn’t until an injury forced me to quit playing for 6 months that I realised all this stuff just wasn’t me.
Maybe this is why I can tell in an instant if someone is operating in their zone of genius or not.
You don’t have to be in the arts. I can tell straight away if you’re working as a plumber if it’s your zone of genius or not.
You can be doing something that is KIND OF in your zone of genius – this is the zone of excellence – and it feels good most of the time. It’s actually pretty amazing most of the time. But every now and then, you feel like you’re an outsider. You feel like it’s just Not Quite Right.
Something I’m really passionate about, and totally stand for, is doing your own thing and paving your own path – completely – FROM SCRATCH.
You’re always going to get sidetracked as you discover amazing things along the way.
But what if no one had ever paved a path in front of you?
What if you had no heros, no idols, no amazing hard core rockers to follow?
What if it was all on you?
Well I tell you what – it IS all on you!
It is SO all on you, it’s not funny.
This is deadly serious stuff. Like I said before, in my education, it was Orchestra or Die.
So which is it for you?
Follow someone else’s steps to someone else’s dream life?
Or create your own?
It’s fkn scary at times to go out on a limb and back yourself when no one else has.
It’s a fkn vulnerable thing to do when you’ve got NO plan B.
It’s a fkn NUTCASE thing to do when what you want to do doesn’t even EXIST outside of your heart and soul.
But I tell you what – it’s a fkn dream worth shooting for.
Now… part of me wants to apologise, because I had NO idea I was going to babble on for SO long and on WHATEVER it IS I am babbling on about… but this is an example of going out on a limb and backing myself, and just TRUSTING that whatever is inside – whatever this GENIUS is inside – is fkn worth fighting for. It’s fucking worth STRIVING for. IT’S FUCKING WORTH BEING.
When you finally get all the Shoulds and the Musts out of your system, it sets you free.
When you FINALLY get rid of your OWN shoulds and musts – even the ones you didn’t know you HAD – you really set yourself free.
When you FINALLY give up and GIVE IN to Who You Are – Well THAT baby, is FREEDOM.
Who the FUCK are you?
Man, I wish you would let it shine.
I want you to bring me to tears.
Show me that beauty, that genius, that ART inside of you.
Let your soul VIBRATE THROUGH your body and LET ME SEE IT.
Because baby, I know it’s a beautiful thing.
I experience it.
It’s a conscious choice to do this. There’s a lot of fear and resistance. There’s a lot of IFs and BUTs and UNKNOWNs.
There’s a lot of tuning within and getting real close to your soul.
Because that’s the only way you can BE your soul.