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  • Writer's pictureJed Wylie

Episode 4 – Singing Dreams or Delusions?

Do you have singing dreams or singing delusions?

I had delusions that were masquerading as dreams.

In this episode I’ll let you in on some personal delusions and what a relief it was to have some light shed on them. Even if it by someone who didn’t mean to do it.

I’ll share how once I got congruent with my vocal desires and my real voice, my progress accelerated immediately.

I’ll share how having a dream that is actually a delusion holds us back as singers. It’s like driving a car with one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the brake!

There are also some takeaways for you that you can use as tools to assist you if this resonates with you in any way.

Realizing I had been calling a delusion a dream was a huge relief for me.

As always, I’m really honest in this episode and I hope that brings you value.

Even if you don’t feel like this describes you, I encourage you to be open and listen. I t may resonate as true for someone you know.


The Inner Singer Podcast

Episode 4 – Transcripts

Singing Dreams or Delusions?

Hi there. Thank you. This is Mike Goodrich. Thanks for joining us with the Inner Singer Podcast again.

This one is going to be on what I would call Dreams or Delusions. And it’s about being realistic, realistic with your voice, realistic with where you are not in a negative way, but in a very supportive way that will really thrust you into much more of your vocal progress and your potential.

Once you become really aware, keenly aware of where you actually are and what’s really right for you in terms of your voice, there’s a tremendous amount of power in that.

As an example, I would say that I was living in the delusion of what I wanted to do. For many, many years, I wanted to be a big dramatic tenor in opera and that’s really far from my voice. I’ve probably mentioned that in previous podcasts. That’s not my voice at all.

But it was my desire and I really thoroughly thought that since I love that kind of music so much, it must be right for me. And it probably couldn’t be further away from what I’m actually meant to sing even though I love it.

You know what? I had teachers along the way, very well-meaning teachers, people along the way that were supportive. They supported me in that delusion because I was able to do certain things with my voice at the time. I think it’s because I was a good imitator. I could really push my voice into really unrealistic proportions that weren’t natural at all.

I think that sometimes I can make a sound that would give what I would call an untrained ear, even though these people are professional and should have really been trained. But an untrained ear in that regard – I hadn’t been around great, great, great opera singers. So I didn’t have much to compare to so maybe in order to sing with sound like I could actually opera singer someday.

It really wasn’t until years later that somebody actually said something. They didn’t actually even say anything to me on purpose. What was said was just natural and passing and it’s actually a funny story.

In the last episode, I talked about my friend, Kevin who’s got a wonderful voice and that fiasco of an audition that we went to. If you haven’t listened to that, you really should go back and listen to that previous episode. But he had a great voice.

He and I decided that we would take a lesson with this really well-known, probably the most famous voice teacher in United States at the time and probably still is perhaps. But we couldn’t really afford it. This is back in 1998. I’m sorry, 1988. Goodness, that was even longer ago than that.

In 1988, this guy was $200 an hour. He’s terrific. I love this guy. But we couldn’t afford that. We couldn’t even afford his $100 for half hour. What we did was we actually split a half hour.

This was at a time that we were living in Fresno. And we drove to Los Angeles, paid 50 bucks a piece and each had a 15-minute lesson with this guy. It was great. It changed my life. I’ve written about it.

But the point of it is at the end of the lesson, as we were walking out and saying goodbye, he shook my buddy’s hand. My buddy’s name is Kevin. He shook his hand and said, “Oh great, Kevin, thanks for coming in. First class, world class, really, really thanks for coming. First class.” And then he turned to me and said, “Thanks for coming in, Mike.”

I was like – I remember back at the time. Had that happened years earlier, I probably would have had my feelings hurt, felt awful, reacted defensively and all that. “How could he say ‘First class’ to my buddy Kevin and say nothing but ‘Thanks for coming, Mike’ to me?”

But you know what? When I left there, that was probably the nicest thing that he could say to me after struggling for so many years with my voice and not being able to get it to do what I really wanted to do.

In those few words, “Thanks for coming in, Mike” that were just honest and sincere and nice where he said nothing mean to me, but what he didn’t say was the power. What he didn’t say was “Wow, first class, world class,” all these things that I have been believing about myself.

So in that moment, a huge weight went off my shoulders. And I felt in that moment I no longer had to try and live up to this delusion that I was calling a dream that had been supported by many people including my parents lovingly.

Nobody was doing this out of malice. Nobody was doing it out of anything other than a sense of love and wanting me to have what I really wanted or thought I wanted. It turns out if I was a big time opera singer, I think I’d be miserable and it’s not the kind of life that I would enjoy.

Back then, like I said, it was a delusion. It was not based in any kind of reality, whatsoever. So this fellow having said that to me, “Thanks for coming in, Mike” was the nicest thing that he could have possibly said to me. It really help me put the reins on my delusion and get much more into reality with my voice and what my voice was all about.

And then I can begin to ask the question “What does my voice want to sing? What does my voice really resonate with? What will I sing really well?” I really firmly believe that everybody who’s a singer has a certain style of music, a certain kind of music that will just resonate. It will just fit them like a glove.

Unfortunately, as I’ve seen over 25 years of teaching, there aren’t a tremendous amount of singers that are really in touch with that. They think because they like a particular style of music or kind of music or genre of music that this must be what they’re meant to sing.

And then they pick the odd person that is like them in appearance and has a career and say, “She can do it or he can do it. Then why can’t I do it?” The problem is that they’re completely in delusion. They’re not in any sort of reality with regards to their voice and their talent when they’re in that delusion like when I was in my delusion.

When I was in my delusion of this big dramatic tenor opera singer, “I was going to be the next Franco Corelli or Mario Del Monaco.” Probably neither of those people have you actually heard of. I understand. But there were world class.

I mean very few people on this planet before or after have been like these guys. I mean they were completely unique, two of a kind. Or there were two of them and they’re one of a kind. 

So it really was. And I’m not finding fault with myself. I’m not even pointing fingers at myself, but I’m saying it with a smile that it was a real delusion that I held on to for many, many years. And hanging on to that delusion kept me away from my real voice. And it was most likely, one of the main causes for all the vocal challenges and vocal problems I was having because what I was trying to do was constantly find a teacher that could help me do what was totally wrong for my voice.

And I did because I had some talent and because these teachers genuinely liked me, because I was an easy-going guy and I love singing and they could see I was really dedicated. They all wanted to help me, but they all bought into my delusion, thinking they were buying into my dream.

This is very important. I really felt that it deserved its own episode.

Now you may not be able to identify like this at all. You may not be in this. You may be completely in tune with your voice and what it wants to do. That is fabulous if you are. But for the folks that aren’t and there are many – I know from experience there are many because I have tried for so many years and I see people all the time every day that are in that kind of delusion.

I’ll use some examples. Let’s take a gal whose voice is very much legit. Everybody’s heard of Julie Andrews, The Hills are Alive with The Sound of Music. I happen to love Julie Andrews. I love her movies. I think she’s terrific.

But that is not a gospel sound. That is not a heavy R&B sound. It’s a legit sound. It’s a legit musical theater sound. It’s not even an operatic sound. It’s a legit musical theater sound that’s totally different.

Imagine a gal that has that kind of a voice naturally. The voice just falls into that music and she fits that music. It fits her like a comfortable pair of shoes or a comfortable coat. And yet, she wants to sing R&B for all it’s worth. Or she wants to sing hip hop and be the next Mary J. Blige.

It is the furthest thing from what her voice wants to do. No matter how hard she tries or how much she pushes, it’s never going to sound like somebody who sings that kind of music and it fits them like a comfortable pair of shoes.

There are many people that roll out of bed and it fits them. R&B or hip hop fit them like a comfortable pair of shoes. And trying to sing like Julie Andrews would be completely foreign to them and really, really challenging for them to learn stylistically and vocally.

That’s just one example. And then I have men that are tenors, high tenors who have great ease with the high notes. Doesn’t everybody want easy high notes?

These guys have great high notes, but they want a thicker voice on the bottom. They want a heavier chest voice. They don’t like what they have. They don’t appreciate what they actually have. And they feel like they should be able to have it all.

Really, I think that’s the crocks of it. With all of these law of attraction stuff and with all of these positive thinking and with all of the personal growth things, which believe me, I’m completely onboard with so much of this stuff and I’ve studied for the last 30 years myself, a lot of these I put into the inner singer.

But the part that I don’t put into the inner singer is the unrealistic attitude that anybody can have everything. That is to me, from a local standpoint, completely ludicrous and really will make people miss their actual gifts because they’ll be chasing a movable horizon as I call it. They’ll never get to it. They’ll never reach that destination. They’re chasing a movable horizon because they’re completely unrealistic in their desires, completely unrealistic in their delusion calling it a dream.

So if you can resonate with this or you can identify with this, it’s really, really important. I would say one of the first takeaways here.

One of the first things that we want to do because we can’t go this alone, nobody goes it alone – I mean the bottom line is when you walk on stage, you’re alone. But working all this out with your voice, working all this out with your mindset, with your belief system, it really helps to have mentors along the way, people that you can really, really trust that have a real interest in your success, but are seeing very, very clearly and are hearing very, very clearly. They can gently and kindly help guide you in a direction that is consistent and congruent with who you are and what your voice is and what your voice wants to do. 

I’m not saying that we can’t improve. For example, let’s take the gal who wants to sing R&B but she has a Julie Andrews kind of voice. She can improve. She can sing R&B. She can get a stronger mix or an edgier mix. All those things can happen.

What I’m saying is it’s completely maybe – let’s just suppose. It may be somewhat unrealistic to think that she is going to be able to do that in a world class way when her voice wants to be much more legit. There are so many people already who will do it so much better and so much more authentically. It’s just a real big hill to climb.

It doesn’t mean she can’t get good at it. It doesn’t mean she can’t do it at karaoke. It doesn’t even mean she can’t maybe have a little bit of a career doing it.

But to set up a delusion like some of my students I have seen where they’re going to be the next Beyonce – I had one fellow 20 years ago who said, “I want to be as famous as Michael Jackson.” Because I was very delusionary myself, when I was younger, I understood that and I have compassion for that, so I’m never mean in that situation. It’s just not my nature anyway. But I try and guide somebody gently back to reality.

Now it’s just such an out-of-the-box reaction coming from this guy. It was like, “Whoa!” My reaction was “Okay, really? Whoa! I got you. So anyway, I don’t want to completely belabor that, but I do want to see if it resonates with you.”

For me, where was that coming from? I’ve gotten real big in asking questions. I’ve gotten real big at looking for “Why do I believe that? What led me down that road? What led me to turn that delusion into a dream?”

And I really think that it was a feeling, if we get to the core belief, of what bubbled up and became that desire. It was just a desire to be special. It was a desire to have the career my parents never had. Both my parents wanted to be opera singers.

I think there was so much operating below the level of my conscious awareness that I didn’t even have a choice. I didn’t have a functional choice.

I heard these singers. They were my parents’ favorite singers and they were just immediately my favorite singers and I immediately just wanted to sing that music and I just immediately wanted to sing like these fellows. And I went to a voice teacher that my dad have had for 30 years before. And I just started going down that path almost mindlessly rather than mindfully.

And being meditative at the time and being involved in personal growth, I interpreted that as, “Well of course, I can do this. I can do anything I want to do.” So I just kept going into that delusion and I really got further and further and further away from the reality of my voice, from my actual voice.

I know now that’s true because I’m on my voice now and I’m on the reality of my voice and I know how far away I was from what I’m able to do.

It really I think boiled down to a belief system that I was unaware of, probably a lack of feeling my value, a lack of feeling my worth, being completely tied up. My identity was completely tied up in my voice and how well I was singing. We’ve talked about that in previous episodes. So to be a world class opera singer and have the career my parents never had and be able to buy them houses and cars and do all these amazing things really, really just set me down the wrong road.

If you can identify even a little bit with that and start being really mindful about your voice and the reality of your voice and the kind of music that your voice really wants to sing, asking the question “What does my voice actually want to sing? What kind of music does my voice want to perform?” and then like I said, the action step is you find somebody, find a mentor that you can really, really trust, somebody who really cares about you and cares about your career, somebody who has an interest in your success, but is not interested in helping you be delusional.

And then dig deeper with yourself and find out what is motivating you. What’s driving you to want to do this?

If you have a goal – everybody is about setting really huge goals – set a goal that scares you. Set a goal that you don’t think you’ll be able to reach. Set a goal that challenges you and all this.

If you feel like you’re doing that – if you sit with yourself because you’ll know if you sit with yourself – and you really feel into it and you become very mindful of it and you feel like you’re setting a goal with your voice that is really incongruent with your actual instrument, that is inconsistent with who you are, look deeper and look to the core belief that is driving you towards this delusion. Look to the core belief that’s driving you just like I did.

“I really have this need to feel special. I really have this need to save my parents. I really have this need to have the career they never had and so on and so on and so on.”

You may not be that dramatic, but I know I’m being transparent. But I think it’s really important because I really believe that my 30 odd years of voice and personal growth and all these things, I’m really looking at myself diligently and really going deep. I think the experiences that I’ve had can save you some time, can be insightful to you, inspiring to you and insightful to you and really save you some time.

Number one, find somebody that you can trust that can be a mentor towards you, somebody that can hear you and help guide you. It can be a voice teacher. It can be a coach. It can be a really good friend that’s a singer. It can be a producer. It can be any number of people.

It’s going to be like a marriage. It’s somebody that you really need to be able to trust, be vulnerable in front of, who can confide in you and you can confide in them. You might find that really valuable and very, very helpful.

And then number two is be aware of the motivation that’s driving you towards what you have heretofore called a dream that may be a delusion.

I hope I’m not being too hard on anybody. But as I can say, I only know that when I realized that about my own voice, it was like a weight had been lifted off me. It was such an incredible relief. And the past 15 years of struggle made sense. Yeah, I mean it was a drag to have to go through all that I guess, but it made sense and I immediately started finding my voice.

I mean immediately. It didn’t take any time at all. The minute I stopped pushing my voice to unrealistic proportions and got in line for the kind of music my voice wanted to sing, it was amazing how fast things started happening. It was ridiculous how fast things started happening.

And you know what? I have to admit because I’m not going to lie to you. I’m going to tell you the truth all the time. I have to admit, the music that I wanted to sing, the big arias, the dramatic opera, all that, I still love. I listen to it. I cry when I hear it sometimes. Honestly on some level, it breaks my heart that I can’t do it the way I want to do it.

But there are so many other things that I can do that I’m pretty convinced that these opera singers that I love couldn’t do as well as I do. I mean these guys are opera singers – that’s it. And they’re world class and they’re unbelievable, but I don’t think they could [inaudible 00:22:13], I don’t think they could phrase the way I do. I don’t think they phrase the way I do. Number one, they’re Italian, so they can’t do it the way I can do.

So begin to honor and really respect what you are able to do, what are your natural gifts, what you bring to the party instead of wanting to be like this person or that person.

So I think that I’ve probably said enough about this. It is really important I believe to really get in touch with what you want out of your voice and really ask the question.

What is it I’m asking of my voice? Am I having delusions instead of dreams? Am I putting myself in positions of more difficulty? Am I giving my voice challenges that it doesn’t need, myself challenges that I don’t need? Or am I incongruent with what my voice actually wants to sing the kind of music, the volume, the style? Am I really paying attention to my voice? Or am I saying, “I want to sing this at all cost or some version of that?”

If this resonates with you, I hope this helps. I hope this gives you some tools and some ideas and spark some thought-provoking thinking. If it doesn’t resonate with you and this really doesn’t apply to you at all, that’s great too.

I don’t expect all these podcasts to apply to everybody. The way I’ve always looked at it as a little bit of a clue, any book I’ve read, any course I’ve ever taken, any talk I’ve heard, anything I’ve ever done, if I could only come away – if I’ve spent a lot of money on something and I’ve only come away with one nugget, I always figure that it’s worth the money.

Since these podcasts don’t cost you anything except for a little bit of time, hopefully you can put all that aside and listen and see if you can just gleam one thing from each one of these. “Is there something I can take that I can begin to think about, that I can begin to work with, that I can share with somebody else?”

Having said that, I look forward to talking to you next week. I hope you enjoyed this one. As always, enjoy singing. I will talk to you soon. Bye-bye. 

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