The Performer's Life!
Greetings, and welcome to the first of what will be many, MANY, posts to come as part of the Connect 4 Events blog! This space is here for discussion, feedback, questions, and professional insight for those aspiring to become a professional entertainer.
Just a little insight for those who may not be aware...Connect4Events is Colorado's premier entertainment company, featuring the regions' best singers, dancers, emcees and Dj's. Owner Princess Wallace has been performing since a young age and has performed on Broadway, and all around the world as a singer, dancer, and choreographer.
My name is Chris Gallegos. I'm a performer and a producer for C4E. In a previous life, I was a journalist in Colorado. I actuality, the two jobs may sound very different, but they are more alike that you might imagine. In both professions, you take your work with you everywhere you go.
Unlike a lot of professions, you're never NOT a journalist. You're always looking for that next story, for that next lead. As a performer, you're never NOT a performer. Perhaps that is one of the biggest things I see with upcoming performers, the fact that they try to separate the performer from the person, and, almost every case, that is impossible. Who you are informs you as a performer. Whether it's as an actor, a singer, a dancer, it doesn't matter.
As someone who has been performing for a long time (Even though I got a late start in my career), here are some observations for young aspiring performers to keep in mind as they pursue their dream of becoming a professional performer.
1. Understand that you don't need to be a movie star or Broadway star to make a living as a performer. Sure, that would be awesome, but, like professional athletes, only a very small percentage of the population gets to hit those big stages. But don't fret, no matter where you live, there are always opportunities to perform. Find a dance troup, start a band. Even if you don't get rich, or make a ton of money, the good that performing does for your soul is incalculable.
2. Never stop growing! As a singer, I started out doing almost exclusively "crooner" type songs. It was my wheelhouse, it's what I was comfortable with. But as I continued to perform, I realized that in order to get more gigs, to get onstage more often, I needed to get uncomfortable, to grow and expand my songlist. No matter what kind of artist you are, keep track of the current trends, keep expanding your limits and never, ever, stop working on your craft. Practice, and stretch your limits. It may be uncomfortable, but the minute you paint yourself into a box, that's when your career starts to decline.
3. Work with other professionals and learn, learn, learn. Recently, C4E hired a beautiful young woman with an amazing voice. She was quickly put on a few gigs and almost as quickly as she arrived, she was let go by the company. Why? Because there was a distinct lack of listening and professionalism. You may be supremely talented, but as a professional, you have to be able and willing to listen, learn, and perform. In other words, when you're on a gig, and the client or your troup lead tells you something, or gives you notes, listen, take them to heart, even if you might disagree, in the end, all you can do is perform your best. Fighting will only earn you a bad reputation, and ultimately, could end up costing you a job.
4. Finally, keep expanding your skills. When I first started performing, I used to sing like a large oak tree in the middle of the stage. Outside of my voice, there was nothing particularly compelling about watching me onstage. Today, I have learned to move, and be more expressive both physically, and vocally. I'm no dancer, but I learned that in order to be the best I can be onstage, I have to move and be more engaged with the audience. Whether it's learning how to improvise, how to dance or move, or even improve your voice, everything you do as a performer to expand your skill set (heck, learn to juggle or make balloon animals, I'm not kidding) will help you get gigs, and ultimately help your bank account as well!