I had my Wednesday Night Grand slam “open mic” event last night. It is always fun. I have my live band and people come out to either listen or sing onstage. Usually the talent there is “phenomenal.” However, every once in a while (or maybe every twice in a while) we encounter a singer or musician who “may not be up to standards.” Instead of referring to them as bad singers I just simply say that they are “vocally challenged.” I had a couple of them last night. I try to be supportive as possible but often my own facial expressions give me away. If it is “too awful” I may turn my head back towards the drummer so that the audience won’t see me cracking up onstage. After I finally compose myself the faces of the audience will alert me to the fact that we need to “cut this song short.” No one is perfect, and I applaud anyone who wants to try singing onstage with a live band. Some of them will ask me afterwards how well they did. I will never say that they were awful, however, I will offer constructive criticism and I will make positive suggestions. I am not out to hurt anyone’s feelings. Since I always try a new tune (usually for the very first time) each week I also have my moments where I might not sing perfectly. I always let the audience know beforehand that this is the “very first time” we are attempting to play this song (because with our busy schedules, we never have time to rehearse anything). That helps to “soften the blow” just in case the song does not do so well. If you came across a “vocally challenged singer” how would “you” reply back to him or her? Would you be “brutally honest,” would you try to sugarcoat it or would you just outright lie about it? I always say that lying to someone could be damaging at a later point. I think that being brutally honest could really hurt someone’s feelings. In a case like this, I say “never mention that the singer was truly awful.” Instead just point out a few things that you think the artist might need to work on. I told a lady last night that she just needs to get acclimated to singing with a live band. I told her there is a big difference between singing with a live band and singing with karaoke. I also told her she needed to project more instead of trying to “soft sing” her way through a song. Hopefully she took it in a positive way. Not everyone is musically gifted, but it is important to be humane in how you address other people. I will always continue to stress positive things that will help people rather than bring them down. Hopefully you can see that method as well (because everyone who lives long enough will encounter a “vocally challenged” singer at some point in their lives). Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
The late singer Gerald Levert and Brett Jolly in concert