I can’t believe I am writing to a cat (I bet you hear that a lot), but it seems so much easier than confiding in a person. I am 17-years-old, a senior in high school, and have always dreamed of being a professional vocalist. I have been watching American Idol since I was a child, and would love the opportunity to compete on the show and become the next Carrie Underwood. My one problem is that I have absolutely no singing talent. I have tried taking voice lessons and vocal coaching, but I still couldn't carry a tune with a forklift! Do you think I should give up on my dream, Tazi? Or should I follow my heart and study Voice in college next year?
Dear Lady Not-So-Gaga:
There are many miles between being able to sing well and making it as a professional singer. Having talent is no guarantee of success as a recording artist. It has been said that Carrie Underwood herself would probably still be working on a farm in Oklahoma if it weren’t for American Idol, so try not to put all of your eggs in one basket.
You say that you “have absolutely no singing talent”, even with voice lessons and vocal coaching. This leads me to believe that majoring in voice in college may not be the best choice for you, however, I would not completely rule out this option, either. Have you ever considered the idea of being a voice actor? The lessons you have taken with voice instructors and vocal coaches must have taught you proper breathing and intonation which, when it comes to voiceover work, can be much more important than how you sound.
The next time you watch an animated movie or show; notice the voices of the various characters. Is the thought of being the voice for one of them appealing to you? If so, this is a possible path you could follow to fulfill your dream of becoming a professional vocalist – no singing talent needed.
Regardless of what you decide to do in life, be sure to diversify your college education. If you major in Voice, it might be a good idea to minor in Business – this way you can act as your own agent. You could also major in Communications and minor in Voice, or – if your program allows – study a double major. An appointment with your high school Guidance Counselor should be the first step on the path to your future, as s/he will be able to point you in the correct direction.