Monday, September 10, 2012

What Is Soul?

I was recently speaking to someone about having "Soul" and the question came about: "What is Soul"? How do you really define that?

I guess when I think of soul I think of the singers who defined the Soul Era in music: Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Al Green, etc.

But what about Janice Joplin? She's got soul. Do country artists have soul? I think Loretta Lynn does, and Patsy Cline did too.

How about jazz artists - did Louis Armstrong have soul? You bet he did. Actually, he had so much soul that people don't seem to realize how important his contributions were to the field of jazz.

For me, I think soul is all about emotional connection. All of the above artists really connected with their heart in the way they delivered a song. They felt it at their deepest core, and expressed it. It wasn't about power or glory, and certainly not about money. I've heard too many contestants on reality singing competitions say the reason they wanted to win was so they could buy their mom a new house, or help their family out financially. Those are all noble reasons - but not the true reason to be a professional singer.

In my opinion, the most important reason to be a professional singer, and endure all the heartaches, ups and downs of this career, is to express oneself at the deepest level. When we sing from the heart, we express what is truly unique about us - the way we feel something. And only you can feel what you feel, so if you are truly expressing from your heart, your way will be unique. It's what makes you stand out in the crowd and what makes you special.

I think when someone sings from their heart and really connects emotionally to a song, other people can feel that too. And we all want to feel something - we are not robots living in this world. To truly live is to feel life at its deepest levels, not just on the surface. Sometimes this deep level is associated with pain - many of the artists who are soulful have had really painful lives. But I don't think pain is a requirement for being soulful. We've all had experiences that make us feel something deeply. It can be pleasure, pain, or whatever. The greatest joy in the world is as deep or deeper a feeling than pain (I guess this could be debated). My point is: FEEL IT AND SING IT!! If you're just focusing on vocal acrobatics or how beautiful your voice is, or your ego or fame or money, then how can you reach into your soul and bring out what is in there to express to others? That is what your job is - to help others to feel something....You've got to dig deep and get past all that superficial stuff and get down to the nitty gritty, the stuff way down in the pit of your gut - your Soul...

No comments:

Post a Comment