Become who you are – today’s episode is all about the opportunity for metamorphosis in dark times for performers/artists/writers. Do you feel like you need a new perspective on how to proceed?
I want to talk about one of the teachings of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche “Become who you are” and the important relevance it has for artists at this moment in time, during a global pandemic, or any time you feel like the odds are stacked against you.
I feel like many of us are in this dark and painful metaphorical phase where we’ve gone into a protective casing like the caterpillar. But as we all know that caterpillar will transform into a beautiful butterfly if he does the right things.
- He’s gotta plump himself up gorging on leaves
- Molt, shed old skin
- Hang upside down for a good while
Then he will emerge radically transformed like a butterfly or moth!
Can’t you see how this applies to us artists/performers/creatives right now?
- Plump up, get better at what you do, more skills, more knowledge, and please more self-awareness and a better understanding of others. I think this is the joy of life and should never stop but now is our opportunity to really double down!
- Let go of what is not working for you. Challenge your belief system, your ways of doing things, your attitude, your vision of the future, your perception of who you think you are!
- Hang upside down for a while. Just have patience. Meaningful change, meaningful work, ideas, and pursuits take time, a lot of time. So be patient!
So, who are you becoming? You decide. You are so much more malleable than you think. It’s not like you’ve never changed before, right? You used to crawl around the place but you worked on it. Now you walk around on two legs like other humans, good job!
So what action can you begin to take to have a successful cocooning season?
I think a good place to start is with some exploration in our awareness of ourselves. You really can’t understand yourself in context to your world enough. Here are two of my creative ways of getting you there.
- Decide that someone else’s view of the world is more interesting than yours and pay particular attention to those with who you DO NOT agree. Use your greatest capacity for empathy with this exercise.
Songwriters find this to be a very creatively liberating technique telling stories from the point of view of another, especially someone they see to have a very different world view to them. As a singer, I want you to write down three singers who you DON’T like.
It could be their style, their music, the sound of their voice. Pick one of the singers and learn a song of theirs. Do some research on the artist, what was their journey to becoming the artist they are today. Complete this task by writing a list of 3 things you admire about them.
Maybe list three things they do differently to you. This could remove a major blind spot for you and open up a brand new way of thinking about your voice, your music, and yourself! We think we know exactly what we like and don’t like and that’s it….boring…
- Describe yourself as a performer. Some suggestions: Are you energetic, bombastic, in the moment, exciting, improvisatory, carefree, open body language, might forget the words keep going, a bit of a show-off, understated, thorough, prepared, closed body language, conscientious, low energy, eyes closed when singing, don’t take too many risks, reliable… pitch-perfect, a bit sloppy…
Once you write the paragraph to describe yourself as a performer (visualize this, really see yourself on the stage) and write down what you like and dislike about how you present yourself on stage in your visualization. I want you to write a paragraph describing yourself as the OPPOSITE kind of performer.
Now visualize this, see yourself on stage as this completely opposite person behaving in ways you’ve never seen yourself behaving. Write down how it makes you feel to see yourself as this person what do you like dislike.
These two exercises will help you shed the skin of a belief about yourself, your vision for your future self that wasn’t serving you, and help you evolve a part of who you were that has been dormant and in the dark.
Have patience like the caterpillar and keep searching and exploring and learning and changing. Life is just cycles of metamorphosis, letting an old you die and a new you rise.
Also, being in the darkroom of growth and discovery is an adventure and there’s no better time than NOW to do this! Always remember that the stage is a great teacher.
- Gemma shares some experiences on doing vocal coach reactions on youtube. (1:02)
- Being “know thyself” before anything else. ( 07:31 )
- How you effectively understand the singer’s point of view. ( 10:07 )