Shelby Rollins @shelby-rollins Blogs

4 Ways to Guarantee Your Voice Isn’t Lost in the Crowd

I will never forget the night I realized singing made me more excited than just about anything else in life. I was standing in line for the usual Wednesday night dinner at my childhood church with my two closest friends. We had just joined the youth choir at the ripe old age of 10 and we were so amped about our newfound discovery of harmony. The three of us about lost our 5th grade marbles over figuring out a 3 part harmony to “In the Jungle” (as in...”a-wee-ma-way-a-wee-ma-way”...oh yes…that song.)…See, no one taught it to us. We figured it out on our own and our excitement factor over this discovery was next. level. 

We literally sang our little tune for every obliging human we could find that night. That actually began a significant thread of my musical life because the three of us formed a trio and performed and recorded dozens of songs by the time we graduated. 

That night I fell in love with singing.

But not so soon after, I realized that even though I was pretty good, I was actually pretty average. Average gets lost in a sea of average. I didn’t know how to be great. I didn’t know how to set myself apart. 

When I began working with Brett I started to learn the difference between a good singer and a great artist…Here are some philosophies of artist who never get lost in a crowd…

1) Be intentional. Take every opportunity to make a choice in your songs. Every word matters, so sing like it does. Use your consonants. Open your mouth for greater tonal depth and contrast in your vowels. If your voice sounds pretty but cavalier, I promise no one cares except your mom.

2) Be who you are and don't stumble over who you aren’t. So many young singers seek to be just like their favorite artist. They emulate their licks, cover their songs, and obsess over their fashion. The problem is, you end up a poor man’s version of that artist. But you are you. That has immeasurable value. Figure out who you are and be that.

3) Don’t lose your hunger. That night as a little girl in Panama City, Florida, I was awakened to a hunger to sing. No doubt I’ve had seasons of waning desire. And those seasons didn’t mark a plateau of my growth, they marked a regression. If you aren’t moving the needle forward, it’s sliding backward, I promise. In my opinion, the best way to stay hungry is to sing in your offseason. Sing when you don’t “have to” and sing when you don’t feel like it. Adopt Dory’s view of the world…”just keep swimming” and just. keep. singing.

4) Get a coach. No man or woman is an island. Everyone needs someone they trust with their voice to draw them out of the familiar and into the unknown of their potential. You’ll never be your best all alone. Plus that’s a super boring life to lead.

As Brett says, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be what you’ve always been.” 

The moral of the story is: GROW. Growth ensures you will always be discovering more of your own unique identity as an artist. Individuals who are hungry get noticed. 

Don’t get lost in the crowd.