When I lived in Nashville, I was primarily a vocal coach for a long time. Eventually I split my time between Hypnotherapy and Coaching and decided to switch completely to therapy, because I enjoyed it more.
As a teacher, though, I noticed that there were high schools all over the city, each housed in different areas or sections of town. Some high schools were primarily white because the areas were primarily white. Some high schools were primarily black for the same reason. However, what I noticed that “separate did not mean equal.” For this reason, busing began to happen so that segregation wouldn’t overtake the city schools. However, even the less the equal black schools didn’t like the idea of having to travel across town to a primarily white school. Of course, the white students were sad to leave the safety of the upscale neighborhood. So, a conundrum arose in the school systems for many years.
What was a problem for some was actually a bigger reason to go to private schools for the wealthy. So, Nashville became a town of many private education facilities—very expensive facilities. I had students from both sides of the tracks. The talent from the poorer families was raw and the talent from richer family had been nurtured most times.
As my student grew to adults, what I noticed was that the hard workers, the ones who had to sacrifice a lot to pay for my services got great scholarships to wonderful colleges on their talent alone. The students who were from wealthier families were not encouraged to pursue the arts in college. Instead, they would mostly go on to another exclusive school and begin the process of discovery. Of course, this wasn’t the case in every situation, but a common scenario.
Many of the students still keep up with me on Facebook or Instagram. I love to see what they are doing with their music. The ones I imagined would become stars almost always end up doing something more mundane and are happy with simple lives. The ones who were told they were not very good in high school but my estimation were excellent, ended pursuing their dreams. But the ones who seemed to be the most successful were the students who had mediocre talent but had fire-driven desire to make it no matter what.
What does this tell us about life? When you see Simon Cowell asking a contestant on America’s Got Talent why he or she wants to win the big prize, Simon understands that desire and passion are the main keys to making it as a star. It’s almost as if one has to sell his or her soul to the industry for talent to be noticed and encouraged.
Of course, there are those rare occasions when someone unexpected and unassuming steps on the stage and wows us from the depth of talent that must come directly from angels, as was the case this evening with a 9 year girl who sang better than a 30 year old.
I’m not here to tell you to pursue or not to pursue your talent, but as an artist who had the brains to become a doctor, I think if I had to do it over, I would have taken the easier path—becoming the doctor. Later in life, I probably would have pursued my art after I had enough money to do so with ease and less sacrifice.
Though it seemed daunting at the time, 10 years of college sounded like a life time away, when it really was just a blink of an eye. But becoming an artist is rife with competition that never ends and the ones who gain the roles are not necessarily the best. Where as, if you study to become a surgeon, and you are good at what you do, you will ultimately succeed, especially financially, which is where only one artist out of a thousand probably makes it to stardom and one out of a hundred can actually make a living using their God-given talent.
For this reason and this reason alone I would choose security over my art. Maybe that makes me less of an artist and maybe that’s why I never really made it in the business. Ultimately, I tried and got fairly far in different artistic arenas, but I never felt the drive to give up life, love, and financial security for my talent and many of my friends did. I always needed a back up plan, which ultimately became my life.
My friends who have made it in the business advised me against having a backup. They told me that a backup plan would give me less of a surge forward and more of a reason not to struggle to go further in my career. Ultimately, they were correct.
Do I regret making the decision to become an entrepreneur and artist? Absolutely not. What would be the sense. I have had a great and successful life. Maybe I’m not as financially stable as some of my friends who took the traditional routes in life, but I have had fun the entire time, seeking anything my artistic mind could conceive.
Even now as I spend my days auditioning for films, commercials, and television, tutoring and life coaching on the side, I am creating a vegan business with my husband and sister and still finding time to swim every day and begin a painting hobby that actually really has grabbed my attention.
My husband and I agree that we would have made different choices for financial reasons had we had to do life over again. But, we also see that we may never have met had either of us gone in a different direction.
So, with that measure: Here’s to Making the Passionate Choice!