Saturday, October 26, 2013

Finding Your Voice

I love the TV show NASHVILLE and watch it every week. Even if I am on the road or scheduling prevents me from viewing it, I’ve got my DVR set up to record it. So if I haven’t watched it on my laptop in a hotel someplace then it is waiting on me to get home. There are several reasons I like the show but mainly the songs and I have been to a lot of the places they show. Put simply, I love Nashville both the city and the television show. This new season started with Rayna James recovering in the hospital as a result of a near fatal car accident. After struggling for weeks not being able to sing, she makes a statement that really struck a chord with me.  She simply said, I lost my voice and don’t know if I will find it again.”

When I heard that line I thought, “WOW, how profound a statement to make.” Now I know she was referring to her actual singing voice but I thought about how many people in their lives don’t know what their voice is. When my oldest daughter was younger all she wanted to do was be a Marine Biologist. Dolphins where her thing and she researched colleges while she was still in middle school in order to accomplish that goal. But her Mom and I knew that isn’t where her talents lie. She is an amazing creator of stuff. Her mind just works in a way that enables her to create amazing promotional material in moments that would take the average person days, even if they ever get it. It took her awhile to find that out herself. She even enrolled in college wanting to be an engineer before actually finding her voice.  My other daughter is still searching for hers and at this point it depends on the week what that voice is but I am confident she will find it.

Finding ones voice is more than their career choice, it’s figuring out who they are and being happy with the results. As a comedian I had to ask myself that question, “Who am I? What is my voice?” Once I figured that out my career started taking off. However, I hear and see many younger comedians struggling with this that in some ways seems so simple, but I know it’s not. Too many want to be someone they are not because they think that is what it takes to be successful. Funny thing about imitating someone is people only imitate originals – only those that have already found their voice. No one copies a copy. I think that is why some childhood stars find it hard to move on as adults, they haven’t found their voice i.e. Miley Cyrus. Finding your voice is about knowing who you are as a person and letting that carry over to your career. Your voice is who you are in your core. So look hard for it because it is worth the effort.

Your voice is unique to you and you are an original. Find your voice.

Friday, October 18, 2013


I recently had the dream show of my career. I returned home to perform in the theater I grew up around. That venue was the one I would go by as a kid and wish I could stand on that stage. Well on September 28th 2013 I did that very thing. I stood there and gave a nervous yet very funny comedy show. As I looked back on the video of that night, I saw they were laughing from start to finish. When I left the stage I had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Although, because of the nerves, I forgot some jokes I wanted to do, my mind went blank for a couple seconds that seemed like an eternity and I was shaking but no one seemed to notice. However, the question today is: NOW WHAT?

Once I have accomplished this dream, now what will I do? I know the answer to that question because I have been asking and answering it to myself a million times in the last few weeks. But isn’t that always the case when something is accomplished? I was watching the movie El Dorado with John Wayne and James Caan and that question was asked. That’s the time when I had to ask myself the same thing. James Caan’s character, “Mississippi” had spent the last couple years hunting the three guys that had murdered the man who raised him. He had just killed the last man when he met Cole Thornton (John Wayne). After Mississippi accomplished his two year quest Cole asked him, “Have you given any thought to what you will do now?” Basically…Now What?

It’s a question that needs asked periodically in life when something is accomplished. When your job changes or is dissolved, now what? When you lose someone you love, now what? When a relationship ends or a new one begins, now what? Those two words carry a lot of unforeseen weight, until they are used then it’s as if the weight of the world rushes over you.  I think it’s this way because you think about and look forward to (good or bad) something so much that often what will happen afterward isn’t given much thought, if any, at all.

With 2013 winding down and 2014 already starting to ramp up with all of its unknowns and challenges, I need to ask myself, NOW WHAT? I have had a pretty good year. I got to accomplish a dream, my calendar was semi-full and people are beginning to think I may just make it. As I look at 2014 I’ve got to ask myself, now what? What will I do to move my dreams to another level? What will I do to take on new challenges? How will I take my comedy career to that stratosphere in which the big dogs fly? What can I do now that will get me where I be?

With that I ask you as well as myself - NOW WHAT?