Friday, March 12, 2010

lesson from American Idol



I don't usually follow American Idol, but this morning I went on youtube (I don't even remember what I was looking for) and on a whim, decided to click on one of the "videos being watched right now." It was Michael Lynche, one of the top 8 on AI this season.

I watched his latest offering on the show (video above) and was impressed. But it was the comments surrounding his performance that intrigued me, implying that something had changed in his demeanour lately, so I did a bit of searching and found out that his wife gave birth to their first child, a baby girl, in January while he was in Hollywood doing AI. That made his story interesting, but what did it have to do with how well he could sing? Not much, until just over a week ago when he sang This is a Man's World. This song changed him from a pussy cat into a lion (so said Simon). Why?

The last line of the song is: This is a man's world, but it would be nothin' without a woman or a girl. These words mean something to him now. They reflect something about his life. I would call what I heard and saw in Michael: CONVICTION.

And I guess that's what I was trying to get at in my last post, market me. I never want to lose the element of conviction as an artist or for that matter, as a person. No matter what mode I find myself in, whether doing an assignment or writing a blog or singing a song or presenting a talk or being a friend, I need to find something in what I am doing that convicts me. That resonates with my life. That becomes part of me and makes it more than just a performance to watch or a paper to read or a song to listen to. That requires something of me. Conviction brings what talent never can. It allows me to offer part of myself as a gift to people. It invites people to participate instead of being spectators. You could even call it an act of worship.

Indeed, authenticity is my responsibility. I willingly accept that. I know enough about myself to know when I am not fully present. This means that I need to find out why. Perhaps I have erected some barrier to engaging with the subject matter or person, perhaps it is a bad fit, or perhaps I am just being selfish and safe.

When Michael sang, "This Woman's Work," his wife was in the audience. And you can tell. May I always know that my lover and best friend is in the front row and act accordingly.

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