Many aspiring singers that I know have asked me about auditioning for American Idol or The Voice.
Here are 6 things that TV shows like American Idol and The Voice teach you about having a career in the music business that are not true:
1. Vocal acrobatics are more important than melody or lyrics.
No. A song can be powerful without unnecessary vocal embellishments. Meaningful lyrics, an expressive voice, or a pleasant melody can be enough to make a performance great
2. You have to be young to succeed in music. (This is particularly related to American Idol that has had an age cap of 24 and 28)
In an age where the gatekeepers of the music industry are largely gone, people of all ages can release music directly to the public allowing anyone to build a fan base.
3. Every song has to have a big dramatic moment
Also No. The song with a quick intro/verse and then a huge dramatic moment with lights and explosions is a good TV device to keep people watching but it’s a very over-the-top way to bring energy to a song.
4. Great artists need to be liked by a majority of people and by “judges”
No. Many singers/artists have successful careers by appealing to a very specific fanbase or niche. You don’t need millions of fans to have a successful music career. Many beloved artists are polarizing - they are loved by some and hated by others.
5. Music is a competition
Music is not an olympic event. Ask a great musician or singer what music is to them and why they do it. The word competition is not likely to come up.
6. If you win your career is all set and you are guaranteed long-term success
You don’t have to look far to learn that many past winners of these shows are struggling: Here are some articles:
If you do want to do these shows - heres a positive way to approach it:
1. Don’t think it’s your golden ticket
You will have to work hard and work consistently regardless of what happens on this show.
2. Know that even if you win you might lose
There are contestants who purposely tried not to win as the finale came nearer due to the restrictive contract that they would have to enter into.
**article for reference: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/american-idol-winner-files-bold-767088
3. Look at it as one event in your career and as a chance for exposure and not as something that defines you.
4. Keep doing you
If you are not a singer with a big and dramatic voice don’t become that for the show. The people who see you and like what you do naturally will be true fans that you can keep well after the show is over