How do you find your voice in the din of the marketplace? How do you use your craft to tell a familiar story in new, unexpected ways? How do you reconcile the desire to be the best with the pull of fame? These are some of the questions asked and answered in a beautiful performance documentary, “American Voices,” created and hosted by Renée Fleming and featuring “vocal masters and industry titans” as they coach and mentor “emerging artists” in master classes that are as inspiring as they are instructive.
Some lessons that apply to creatives on any stage:
1. When choosing between excellence and success, make sure you have the confidence to tell the difference. Success is elusive, art endures.
2. Your voice (however you define it) transmits power. Put it at the service of your imagination.
3. Stop comparing yourself to how great you think somebody else is. Just express yourself as truthfully as you can. That’s how you grow.
4. The last thing you want to be is generic. (What we tell our clients applies to us.) Make the most of your individuality.
5. Observe and learn from others, but craft your own style, one that’s true to your own artistic vision.
6. Never be the accompanist to the accompanist. Control the moment and the message and lead your readers, viewers, listeners to where you want them to go.
Your voice is your instrument to move the world. However you use it, express yourself with art and skill.