I want to tell you all about a wonderful experience during a Skype session with a young, 11 year old girl who was auditioning for a show called “The IT Factor,” a singing competition for kids 11-15 years old. This girl and her parents wanted to work with me as they weren’t quite sure what her “IT” was. She was a sweet girl, very very shy and soft-spoken (no “IT” yet).
Her family was so supportive of her ambitions but they felt they needed a little help from Dray to identify what and where her “IT” was. So, late one night in their family room, we met via Skype and she sang the song they chose for her audition. I was still waiting for the “IT” factor. She had a gorgeous voice but was singing like a frozen Popsicle. She had the song totally memorized (impressive). But you know the Drayism: Memorizing does not make you a better actor. The same applies to singing. Memorizing the lyrics does not make you a better singer. You know the words, but you have to know what the words mean and why you are singing the words.
When I asked her if she understood what the song was about, she couldn’t tell me. I asked her if she had another song and she proceeded to sing song #2. Still a beautiful voice but again… Popsicle. I asked her what do the words mean when you sing, “I believe it, I feel it, I understand it”. I explained that I needed her to believe, feel, and oh so importantly understand what was the “it” she was singing about. When she does, THAT translates to… the “IT” factor.
I asked her to get her hairbrush (all the moms will get that one), sing into it like a microphone and turn off ALL the lights in the room. The only light came from her computer screen which lit up the room like a spotlight. She took a minute to think about what these words meant to her. She had no distractions, the lights were off and the spotlight on her sweet face. With her beautiful voice and hairbrush in hand, she dug deep inside to find the meaning. She got IT!!! She was wonderful and felt as if she was on stage in a crowded stadium singing words she understood.
Forget memorizing the words…you must give meaning to them whether you are singing or acting.
If you don’t get IT, then I won’t get IT!!