Episode 39 – Let Your Light Shine
It’s great to have influences that inspire us as long as we ultimately come into our own, with our own unique voice.
Don’t be a “cookie-cutter” sound, or imitate a formula.
Sing with your voice. Discover YOUR voice.
You have a wonderful unique voice – Find it…Use it.
When listening our favorite singer, too many of us ask, ‘What are they doing’, perhaps we should instead be asking, ‘What are they feeling?’.
I hope this episode resonates with you.
The Inner Singer Podcast
Episode 39 – Transcripts
Let Your Light Shine
You’re listening to episode number 39.
Welcome to the Inner Singer Podcast providing tools and techniques to strengthen your inner singer, your beliefs, your confidence, your mindset. And now, your host for the Inner Singer Podcast, Mike Goodrich.
Hey everybody. Thanks for listening and welcome to the Inner Singer Podcast. This is Mike Goodrich. That was my amazing little boy doing the intro.
I’m actually inside tonight getting this podcast done way too late. I’m not sure when you are ultimately going to be listening to this, but right now at this recording, I’m supposed to have this out on Monday and it is still Monday. It’s still Monday somewhere. It’s still Monday here luckily, but it’s about 8:00 here, Monday night in January. I can’t think of the date. But this should have been out hours ago, but anyway, I’m so sorry, but I got busy. But hey, you are listening to it now.
And that’s why I’m inside in my office, inside this evening. Usually I’m outside in the office/studio, which is separate from the house. Tonight, I am inside the office, which is actually in the house. That sounds fancier than it actually is.
But the office outside the house becomes wrapping central during Christmas times. I should actually take a picture of it and put it on my website and show everybody what it looks like because it cannot be inhabited during the season because there is nothing but wrapping paper in boxes filling up the entire thing. But anyway, since my little boy was in here, I thought I’d have him do the intro.
So what are we going to talk about tonight? I actually no, but we just had a rare occurrence today in Southern California as we were driving. My family and I, my wife and my little boy and I were driving. And all of a sudden, I noticed this odd moisture on the windshield. And in a curious way, what are the strange drops of water falling from the sky? What in the world is going on here?
And my little boy of course said, “It’s rain.” And I’m like, “Oh, rain. What is that anyway?” I’ve forgotten what rain is around here although curiously over the last week or so, it has really rained and we’ve had, what I’m sure the medical would call, storm watch 2016 because it rained for a few hours. But it occurred to me, my wife and I have this theory that I will run by you before we actually get into the meat of the podcast. This is the salad of the podcast. This is the soup and salad of the podcast I guess.
And our theory or our idea is—and I love your feedback on this—with all that we know these days about how the world works, quantum physics, how things work, it’s interesting to me the inordinate amount of time the media spends on the drought that we are having in Southern California, reminding us that we are in a drought. I mean you can’t drive down the freeway without those big signs that hang over the freeway saying, “Serious drought.”
And there’s talk all about the people letting their lawns die. I’m certainly not being Pollyanna about it. We don’t have much water here. But I am just wondering and my wife and I have a little bit of a theory based on what we all know especially those of you listening to this podcast. I think you may agree that there’s such an inordinate amount of time spent on the lack of water and so much focus on not having water and what are we going to do to conserve water and there’s no water and there’s no rain and we are in a serious drought and all these conditions are just so awful and bad and there’s no water.
Now I am not being Pollyanna like I said and I am not doubting that there’s no water. The picture is right now that there’s not much water. Obviously we’re not getting much rain. But the question is why is not on a more universal level, why is the idea not on a more universal level introduced that the more we focus on the lack of water, the less water we will probably have.
And it would be an interesting experimenting to get all of Southern California to band together and change their mindset and their thinking with regards to this and see if we can shift this a little bit, just an idea. My wife and I were chatting about that and with as much time and focus that is spent on how much water we don’t have seems like if we could shift that—and obviously we conserve water.
Like I said, we’re not Pollyanna, we still are wise. We still conserve what we have. We still don’t waste it. But if we could shift our mindset and shift our thinking to more of an abundant thinking in terms of how much water we have, how much water…
Anyway, I don’t have the answer. We are just putting it out there. It felt interesting to say to you guys because you guys are with me on this journey and we’re likeminded. So it seems as if we might be able to do that. We could do that on a really wide scale. I think we could have some pretty amazing results. It remains in theory because I have no idea how we get on the ballot.
But anyway, let’s get on to the rest of the show. So what I really want to focus on this evening—this evening, I have no idea what time it is, wherever you are. I’m in the funniest, weirdest mood. Perhaps you can tell.Anyway, what I wanted to focus on right now in this show is acceptance. That’s really been in my face lately, the idea of acceptance. And I think you’re not only accepting other people, but accepting myself.
I was talking to a student of mine the other day and she’s a songwriter, a singer-songwriter. By the way, if for some reason you hear any noise in the background, this is a very informal show tonight because my little boy is in the bathtub, in the background, singing and making Star Wars sounds. So it’s not ecstatic and it’s not anything I’m going to edit out, but if you do happen to hear it, that’s what’s going on. It’s not your radio, it’s not your speakers, it’s my little boy making Star Wars sounds and splashing around.
But anyway, back to the idea here, I was talking to a student of mine who’s a singer-songwriter about a particular song that she had written that she wants to perform. And she was reflecting on how some of the songs that she had written with songwriters and co-writers with the idea of them being commercial in mind, what’s commercial, what sells, that kind of thing. She said they’re good songs, she likes them, but she didn’t feel that they were anywhere the caliber of the songs that she was writing lately, which were really expressing who she is and how she feels and what’s really going on with her.
I said it’s really interesting because my wife is an amazing songwriter as well and she had mentored with a very famous songwriter within songwriting circles. If I said his name, which I won’t, but if I did, you probably wouldn’t know him, unless you’re in songwriting circles and you are real familiar with hit songwriters. And he’s written a lot of books and done a lot of teaching in Nashville. And my wife did a lot of mentoring with him and he helped her with a number of songs in a commercial way and they’re great songs, I mean really, really, really great tunes and I love them. But some of my favorite songs I’ve heard are the ones that she writes for herself, the ones that she has no intention of necessarily sharing or trying to get them out there in a commercial way.
So I could identify with what my student was talking about because my wife’s favorite songs are those that are for her. I’ve talked to a lot of people and I’ve worked with a lot of songwriters. Some of them have a general story that songwriters have that oftentimes people love the songs that they really never expected that they would show anybody, just these very special personal songs that they’ll play for somebody just because somebody says, “Hey, do you have any more songs?”
Maybe they play a few songs. Maybe they play to a publisher or a producer or somebody and the publisher or producer says, “Hey, those are great. Do you have any more?” And they say, “Well, I don’t know. I wrote this, but this is really just for me.” And they’ll play it and the person will go nuts and say, “Oh my gosh, that’s amazing.” They never expected to share it, but because it is so deeply personal and so vulnerable and so who they are, it really gets the person enthusiastic about it. And so I heard of that happening many, many times.
And you know what? It got me to thinking the songwriting formula and it got me to thinking about how—and don’t get me wrong. I think that books on songwriting, people that teach songwriting are great, my wife has taught songwriting, help people with songwriting. I think it’s phenomenal.
But it was interesting to me that most of the people that for example, we may like or admire as songwriters, singer-songwriters, whatever, I’m wondering if they really ever studied songwriting. And I’ll get to my point here pretty soon. It is a long roundabout way of getting to a point, but I think it will make sense.
And I wondered. For example, I teach classes at the songwriting school of Los Angeles and I teach a performance class every season and I teach an Inner Singer class. I have taught some technique classes. So I really know singer-songwriters and I really understand and I know how to work with them. And there are wonderful classes there.
The school is owned by a dear guy, a dear friend of mine and it is phenomenal. So this is just me thinking out loud. This isn’t against songwriting schools or songwriting classes. This has nothing to do with that, but it is a curious thing. Like I said, the point will come that there are classes on the Beatles and what they did and phenomenal classes in brilliant, brilliant stuff.
But what made me think as I’m wondering all these things that people are trying to do like somebody else, like the songwriting formula or you take this person’s song apart or you take that person’s song apart and then you explain it very musically, very intellectually and very academically, “And this is what they did here and this is what they did here and this is what they did here and this is what they did here.”
I am just wondering if you went back to the artist, if you went back to McCartney or Lennon, if you could go to Lennon and said, “Did you have any of this in mind when you were writing a song?” I have a feeling they would honestly say no.
I don’t know that for sure, but it sure seems like all this going back and analyzing what this did and why these things after the fact are so great, “Well, they did this and they put this together and they put that together,” did the Beatles really know any music theory? I mean I have heard interviews with McCartney where they knew three or four chords and they were finally really excited just to learn B flat minor so they could start adding that in and you can actually hear in their writing that that started happening, when they started learning some more chords.
So my point being, first point anyway, were they writing and doing this academically according to some formula or were they doing it through feeling? Were they just feeling and putting that in? Were they doing what felt good? Were they doing what was fun, what was unique to them, what was enjoyable?
And I’m not saying it was not inspired by other people, other artists, but they created something very unique to them that they didn’t put in a box, they didn’t put in a formula and they probably didn’t intellectualize too much. I think that that is my theory and I think that can be carried out these days to anybody else that we may like, for example, Sting or U2, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel. Are any of these guys really in that kind of a box where they get so intellectual that they start writing for somebody else? None of them sound like anybody else. They are completely unique and completely accepting of their own talent, their own voice, their own vision and their own unique contribution to music.
So now, you probably sense that I’m getting to a little bit of a point. How in the world does this apply to singing? Well, it seems like it’s probably pretty clear, but hey, I’ll say it anyway. Why in the world would we want to sound like somebody else? Why would we want to sing like somebody else or be a clone of somebody else?
Of course, we can be influenced. Of course, we can be inspired. Stevie Wonder was influenced and inspired by Ray Charles and Donny Hathaway. That’s it. But he doesn’t imitate either one of them. Perhaps you can hear an influence, perhaps not, but it was something that deeply influenced him and then he developed his own amazing style and talent.
So being influenced is something. Copying or trying to be somebody else is quite another. Luciano Pavarotti was influenced by Giuseppe Destefano and Enrico Caruso. Mario Del Monaco, a great opera singer, was influenced by Aureliano Pertile and Caruso. Probably these are people you have never ever heard of, but they just pop into my mind.
And I am sure Bonnie Raitt had her influences and I’m sure Aretha Franklin had her influences. I’m sure Mariah Carey and everybody had their own influences. Kelly Clarkson had her own influences. I know that Ann Wilson from Heart was influenced greatly by Robert Plant. She makes no bones about it and she’s really, really honest about that.
My point being that accepting ourselves or own unique gifts, recognizing those and letting our own light shine is hugely important. Rather than as a singer-songwriter trying to be formulaic and write something that’s commercial, creating things according to a formula that’s already been done—I mean if you really want to listen to the Beatles, how many of their amazing songs started with the chorus? Nobody does that these days. I don’t know if anybody really did it back then and they played the bridge twice. Is that because they were academic about it? Or is that just because it felt cool to do, “Let’s try this?”
And of course later on, 30 years later or 40 years later, we analyze all this and the brilliance of it and the way they put this together and that together, we go back and say, “Wow, look at what they were doing.” But in their mind, were they really doing that or they are just four young guys getting together and making music and having some fun that years later, would be analyzed and said, “Wow, this is why this is so good and this is why it is so famous and this is why it is so cool.”
Really? Are we missing the wrong thing? When we get real academic about voice or about songwriting, about songs or about music, are we missing it? Are we missing the boat when we get really, really academic about it? Are we asking the wrong questions? What were they doing here? What were they doing here? Why did they put that with that, that chord with that?
Maybe we shouldn’t be asking so much on what they were doing, but what they were feeling. “What were you guys feeling when you wrote this song?” That’s much more what I care about. “What were you feeling when you sang this song?”
It’s really possible that we are asking the wrong questions, doing, doing, doing or feeling? So there is no way really. Well, I suppose there is a way if we could talk to these people, we could probably say, “Hey, what were you feeling?” And they would probably say, “We were just four guys having a good time. It felt good to make music like this.” “Really? Did you know years later, people would say that listening to Beatles music is actually good for your heart?”
I heard that years ago. I can’t document it. I have no idea where it was or where I heard it, but I mean this is years ago. It’s probably 20 years ago or more that I heard that listening to Beatles music actually is really in rhythm with the way your body works and the way your heart beats. And it’s really conducive and it’s very healthy.
Were they thinking that? “Let’s make some music that’s really healthy.” I don’t know. I sincerely doubt it. It would be a fun conversation to have with McCartney. He will probably laugh at you.
You say, “Paul, what do you think about putting that together and that together, the chorus and then the bridge twice and all that? Why did you all that?” He’d probably say, “I don’t know. We didn’t know how to do anything else. We just did what we knew and it felt good and it was fun.”
So one of my main goals certainly with this podcast is obviously not to solve the world’s problem or solve the singer’s problems or anything. But if I, in each podcast, can get you thinking, if I, in each podcast, can deliver at least maybe one thought-provoking idea that makes you feel like it was worth listening, feel like it’s something for you to ponder or something for you to think about, something for you to practice, just one thing.
I always feel if I buy a product online or I go to a workshop or I attend something, I don’t even care how much it costs. If I can take one thing away, I feel like it’s pretty much worth it. If I can take one really, really important thing, one little light bulb moment, one little inspiration, maybe something that I’ve heard before or said in a different way where it finally got me or I’ve finally heard it, that’s really my intention here.
So I may ramble, I may take long pauses that I don’t bother to edit out. But it’s really because I am really thoughtful about the things that I say. And I want to share inasmuch as I can, real honest thoughts, real honest ideas, real honest conversations and inspirations that I have because this is where I live. This is what I do. I go through life with a listening attitude.
I said to my student the other day, I always feel like I have one ear tuned in, listening for something and I don’t even necessarily know what, but something that would indicate that there’s more going on, then we’re really super consciously aware of. And so when I take long pauses, sometimes it’s because yeah maybe I’m thinking what I’m going to say next, but oftentimes, it’s just because I am going through this with a listening ear.
And there are many times in a podcast, in ones that I have done that I will say something that I have never said before and it will be just surprising to me that I am saying it and sometimes it’s pretty cool. And I think, “Oh yeah, wow, I never said that before. I never even thought of that. That is pretty cool.”
So hopefully, there are some moments that give you pause in some ideas that you have because you are all very, very busy in your lives and you are doing a lot of things that are really important. And this is what I do and thinking about these things a lot is what I do.
So hopefully, the insights, the sharing that I do is of some value. And I really, really appreciate you being with me on this journey and you listening to the podcast. And as always, all feedback is welcome. I have had some wonderful feedback and some terrific letters lately, 67 to 68 countries now and it’s just really, really fun. I really, really enjoy this. So thanks for being on this journey with me.
If you heard any doorbells in the background, there was a lot going on tonight at the Goodrich household. It’s probably all on the podcast. I never stopped. I let the doorbells ring and I let my boy play Star Wars in the bathtub, but I’m going to go get him out now.
So anyway, all the best to you. I will see you guys next week. Okay, bye-bye.
Thank you for listening to the Inner Singer Podcast and please share this with all of your singing friends and head on over to iTunes and subscribe. And if you found it of value, give us a nice rating. Thank you so much.