Or is it? I don't mean to dorkify myself by quoting Billy Joel (although I fully admit that I did really enjoy listening to his Live from the USSR CD in college) but I've been having some interesting discussions lately with people about whether or not it's prudent to be an opera singer who writes a blog about all her fears and vulnerabilities. Performers are supposed to be confident - confidence gets you hired - so who would be stupid enough to talk about being freaked out or insecure on the internet where everybody can read it??? Me, apparently.
Last week I was blogging about the "IT" factor and had a lot of interesting comments, many of which came from an anonymous source, whose only clue to their identity was that they are a "principal singer at the top level". Okay, so why would a famous singer feel the need to be anonymous when commenting on my blog? If that person is already at the top level, they should be able to relax and say whatever is on their mind without the fear of repercussions, right? No way! People who are savvy about the business know that you have to present an image from all angles, and that revealing your true thoughts can often do damage to this image, which you must protect because a lot of people's salaries now depend on YOU, the product! Yes, it's sad that singers are now products (which is partly what this commenter was noting) but of course that's the case in every entertainment industry, especially with the media playing such a huge role in any artists success in any field. So anonymous has to stay that way in order to protect him or herself and all the people whose salaries he or she might be helping to pay with their fame.
But what about me? I'm not paying anybody's salaries yet, that's for sure. I'm lucky if I'm paying my credit card bills (but that's more a result of my own addiction to shopping and not necessarily an indication of my earning potential) but there could be a time where I have to become more of a product to sell cd's or tickets or limited edition t-shirts with the slogan, "Trying to remain opera-tional - blogging for punny opera nerds!" So what do I do about this need I have to be honest with myself AND in my writing? Well, the honest answer is that I don't know. But what I'm hoping will happen is that this honest and open dialogue is able to become a part of my product. That one of the reasons people enjoy hearing me sing is that they have a little insight into who I am and what my innermost thoughts and fears are, and that insight actually gives them another angle on my artistry. I hope that I will both be able to continue to succeed in my career at a higher and higher level, and that I won't ever have a PR agent who says, "OH MY GOD SHUT UP!! STOP WRITING THIS DOWN FOR THE PUBLIC AND GO TELL IT TO A SHRINK!!!" Because my writing has become a creative outlet for me, and if I had to be something other than what I am, (which is a slightly neurotic if somewhat eloquent and ultimately relatively confident human being) I don't think I would be particularly inspired to write. So I just open up and let you see my beating heart, and hope that everybody is cool with that.
I've gotta go. My future publicist is chasing me with a big red delete button.