So, one of the most pivotal days in my early career was a voice lesson I booked with THE most expensive voice teacher in New York City.
At this point, I was making good money as a professional classical singer. I was singing with the New York Philharmonic and at major venues, so I was no slouch, but I was having trouble breaking through to the next level.
I knew if I just practiced more, or buckled down, or knew some secret, THEN I'd get my breakthrough.
So I decide to hire THE expert.
I did a few scales, sang a couple of arias, and she gave the diagnosis.
"Honey - that is one beautiful instrument. There's nothing wrong with your voice. Why are you here?"
I told her I couldn't break into the next tier - and I knew it was a technical problem.
She got so quiet that I held my breath.
She stared into her lap for a long time. Then she looked me square in the eyes.
"Shannon, this isn't a technical issue. The problem is you don't sound like yourself. You don't have a unique sound. And you can't make a long-lasting career in classical or any other genre trying to be someone else. You have to sing with your own voice. We have a Renee Fleming and a Cecilia Bartoli, we don't have a Shannon Post."
I felt hot and light-headed and mad. This is what my regular teacher had been saying. In fact, I remember hearing it in college too.
She said, "It's not a vocal problem. It's a self-development problem. You have to own who you are."
She was right, I'd been taught to manipulate my voice at a very early age to sound like whatever anyone wanted. So much so that I had no idea what my real voice sounded like.
You can't make a long-lasting career in classical or any other genre trying to be someone else.
"How do I do that," I asked.
She didn't really have an answer. And neither did any other teacher or coach I spoke with. They could diagnose the problem, but no one knew how to solve it.
And so started a long, long, long journey of figuring it out.
I felt so lost back then swimming around in the muck with no real direction. It was a dark time.
It's now been 20+ years of sorting through everything I can find from self-help to the artist's way, to management philosophy, to psychology, to the esoteric fringe.
And when you distill it all down, it's simple.
Before you can "own your sound" you have to figure out who you are.
Knowing who you are affects everything.
It's the beacon in the night and a sense of home all in one. It feels like peace.
If you feel lost right now, don't waste one more year like that. Figure yourself out asap.
Which is now.
And you don't have to do it alone. I can help.
But whether you work with me or someone else, don't wait.