Competitions are a big deal in the music business, from childhood talent shows, to state school solo-ensemble festivals, to the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, and to the big time, The Voice or America’s Got Talent.
I’ve often said that I hated doing competitions, but that’s a lie. I didn’t feel comfortable in them because of the whole being judged/comparison thing. But at the same time, there was something always a bit thrilling and challenging about preparing for one. And I find the idea of just blooming for the sake of blooming to be somewhat disingenuous. And flowers don’t think. So there’s that.
When I go to Zumba, sometimes I assign some unwitting dancer in class the role of my personal trainer. I decide that my goal is to keep up with that person (at least as well as I can given my multiple knee issues – I’m realistic, if nothing else). I don’t want to BEAT her at Zumba – I just want to keep up and not lose ground. I don’t want just to keep moving, I actually want to do the dance as it’s intended. If I didn’t, I’d just run or do an exercise bike. It’s about more than that to me.
I think it’s important to be aware of what other singers around you are doing. Are they doing things better? If so, why? Are they practicing more? Are they more mindful of their practicing efforts? Are they picking music that suits them perfectly? Are they marketing themselves more effectively and putting themselves in the right place to be heard?
Yes, “bloom where you’re planted,” as they say. But keep growing. Nourish yourself. If that’s not a good spot, move to a better one. Add a little fertilizer now and then (#InsertManureJokeHere). It’s not enough just to bloom but to flourish. Because blooms die, eventually. Unless you’re a perennial. Then you come back, every year, unless you’re ripped out of the ground by the roots. And even then, one little root might remain and you’ll come back again and again. Whether anyone likes it or not.
Be a perennial.