Finding your voice, much less singing it, is going to be a struggle. Deciding to take the road less traveled is difficult. Always has been. Always will be. Embrace this. At BTL, we use a variety of artists and entrepreneurs to demonstrate this process. Might I suggest you take in a little Bob Dylan when you find the time to watch the documentary, No Direction Home? Check him out finding his voice through the “long piece of vomit” that became the song “Like a Rolling Stone.” Watch him turn up his organ player who wasn’t even really an organ player either. You will never listen to the song the same. Good.
Next, watch a little clip from the movie Walk the Line and take in Johnny Cash walking his jagged line while finding his smooth, deep voice. Tune in to the progression of Johnny’s discovery. Observe a nervous John earning his big break with Sam Phillips from Sun Records. Sam gave John some hard truth when he stopped him mid-song and asked if he had something else to play. Sam said some freaking magic: “I don’t believe you.” Those four words made Johnny do what he could, so he dug deep and played from his heart. Sam signed him on the spot. John’s journey had its first turn up. Next, check out a stronger, more weathered version of John standing up to his bosses at Columbia Records. He wanted to go to Folsom Prison. They wanted him to go electric. He decided to go all black (outfit, that is), and the rest is history. Lastly, watch John find his voice with June and with his dad. Very cool.
Here’s something you may not know. John and Bob, at one point, shared the same bosses at Columbia Records. The Columbia executives were telling Bob to hurry up and finish his electric album experiment, the one that would produce “Like a Rolling Stone,” no less. Bob’s bosses wanted him go back to his roots and give his audience what they wanted: folk music. Bob told them no bueno. He turned it up even louder, especially the organ player! These same executives were telling John to stop doing what he had always done. They told John that even Bob had gone electric. They belittled John for not getting with the times and moving on. John told them what they could do with the tapes from Folsom and away he went. John went to his grave nearly blind, wheelchair bound, sick as a dog, and with a failing heart. And still singing his song. He had gotten such clarity that he could even sing songs written for another and make it his own. If you want some evidence, give a listen to one of his last recordings. The song is titled “Hurt” and was written by Nine Inch Nails. All artists struggle finding their voice. Embrace this.
Where are you on the road to singing your song, friend? Are you turning up those on your team or tuned only into yourself? Dream and do. Now, that, friends, is the direction home. Good.