Sometimes I’m asked if artists I work with end up not doing what I ask them to do. The answer is yes, unfortunately.
Or, the artist might work it in rehearsal, but when I later go see them live, it’s as if we’d never even met! And I walk out dejected and sad, feeling let down.
It’s not so much that I’m sad for me. It’s that I know they’re missing the kind of response to their show they could be getting!
In a recent rehearsal day, I worked with 2 artists. The first was an older, somewhat more established singer, whose manager brought me in. The artist didn’t think he needed any help… but in reality, he needs lots of it to undo some bad habits.
Since I’d worked with him before and knew what a battle it was, I’d previously told management not to call me until he’s open to listening to what I ask him to do. But Manager X called me at the Atlanta airport in desperation. PLEEEEEASE, come help! I caved and took pity since he’s a nice guy and there were other artists involved in the song they wanted me to work on. I said I’d be there.
It was a situation where I couldn’t change the arrangement of the song, so I just focused on stage set-up, blocking, and some dynamics. Predictably, I ran into the same resistance from the artist, and the rehearsal ended early.
A few hours later I was with a young band over dinner. They were open to getting some feedback on a recent performance in town. I approached the critique rather casually, since they were friends, and since it was one of their parents telling them they needed to listen to what I had to say. 😉
We watched a live video and I gave them some ideas and things to try. I let them know they are a good band, but they could be really great. After dinner we were sitting around and one of the guys started coaxing me, saying, okay, ‘now tell me the HARD stuff!’ He really wanted me to be brutally honest, press in, and let them know what they could do to improve.
Quite the contrast between the 2 artists. I can get so much more out of an artist who’s willing… who’s not afraid to ask for help, and who can admit they don’t have it all figured out.
Stay thirsty my friends.