Are you an “underdog singer?”


“Isn’t it funny how you can hear a singer and think ‘they’re ho-hum’ (or even awful)?  But then time goes by and you hear them again and WOW!”  I have had a couple of students that showed little promise when first heard, gave them a few exercises and off they went.  Maybe months later I hear them again and they’ve “come into their own,” and ONLY THEN would it show that they never gave up.

I guess the real surprise of the underdog is that it’s just such a…well…a surprise.  I learned many years ago NOT to write people off when it comes to musical talent.  Some of the singers and writers I’ve known have just seemed hopeless.  But what I learned is that MY hope for them was just not that important.  It’s only their OWN hope that will keep them chipping away at each new skill.  Not a soul other than themselves can either keep them going or stop them.

I’ll ask my original question again…Are you an “underdog singer?”  Unless you’ve already demonstrated what everyone else would recognize as “success,” then this is a question that ONLY you can possibly answer.  If you haven’t been recognized for your achievements, then by definition no one knows what will become of you…except maybe you…and even you don’t have any guarantees.

I’ve done some thinking about this and come up with a list of characteristics that lie hiding under the surface of the lives of underdogs…those “champions in hiding.”  Maybe you’ll recognize some of them lurking inside you:

You Don’t Scare Easily:  There’s a basic human need for encouragement.  But guess what.  Not everyone gets it (at least not as much as they’d like).  So “Simon” (or some mini-Simon) tells you to “give it up…you’re dreadful.”  If you’re an example of the “Underdog Phenomenon,” you will probably not accept that as the FINAL conclusion to your story.   They say “give it up,” but you may hear that as “You have a lot of work to do, so DON’T give up.”  They say “This would be impossible for you,” but it gets translated in your head, “This is possible, but you’ll need more work and determination than the lazy, more talented ones.”

You Have Few Outward Predictors of Promise (Maybe None!):  Not counting our mother, you may have received little or no good feedback.  Your friends may have offered some encouragement, but maybe they’re bad liars!  They may be the only ones who’ve given you good marks.  All the unbiased feedback may have been negative!

Slow and Steady Wins the Race:  Your RATE of progress may often be frustrating to you and your teachers.  Thomas Edison was characterized by his grade school teacher as “addled.”  He had in TOTAL about 3 months of official schooling during his entire life.  His mother chose to home school him after being labeled as stupid by the teacher.  Besides a lack of education and demonstrable intellect, he also lacked a willingness to sit idle.  Slowly, steadily, he made his own way and quite literally the ways of many of us (inventing things we still use today). He worked on one skill at a time…reading, experimentation, business, etc.  He was fired from jobs for absentminded mistakes.  But still, he never stopped moving forward.  You likely know this quote of his: “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” If you’re a slow starter, then you’re in good company.

More To Gain, Less To Lose:  The guy at the top of the hill has nearly every advantage.  The guy at the bottom, who aims to take that hill, has almost NO advantages, except for one possible BIG one:  He likely has less to lose!  Mentally, this can work for him by driving him and making him a little less afraid of risk.  Think about it.  If he loses (as long as we’re not talking about a real-bullet war), he just gets to stay where he started out.  If he wins, he gets a seating upgrade at the top of the hill.   As a singer, you are not running for office.  But you can learn from the insurgents.  If you have less talent than the present “rock stars” of the world, you can only move upward if you apply yourself.  You don’t have to topple Britney Spears to build a fan base.  You don’t have to reach #1 on iTunes to still sell enough to build some momentum.  You just keep working on your abilities and keep learning.  At present, you have less to lose, so be bold!

Are you an underdog or bulldog? In any case, day in and day out, underdogs prove the adage that you can’t really fail until you quit.  What they miss out on in advantages, they compensate for in stubbornness or abandon.  Maybe they should change the name to “bulldog” after all.  If you are not where you’d like to be vocally (or in any other endeavor), I urge you not to die saying to yourself, “I wonder if I would have made my goal if I’d kept going.”

That’s why the Artist Development Package exists…We’re here to help you be a little more stubborn…a little more defiant.  We’ve been around the block enough to know that when we pull for and train the “come-from-behinds” in our circle of influence, we are often pulling for a champion-in-the-rough.

Share this post with your friends

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *