I live in a little place called Diva Town.
Well, technically I live in Nashville. Actually, I just lied. I TECHNICALLY live in Brentwood. At 8041 Cherokee Lane... baaahhh that’s a lie too. Like I’d post my real address online! All my Super Fans would come running. All one of them (mom). But I digress...
So, quasi-technically, yes, I live in Nashville. But within its musical walls, there is a subsection of this city called Diva Town. Diva Town is a place where the residents are competitive, animated, over-confident (or under-confident) singers who must be the center of attention. At all times. (Note: I do not address instrumentalists, as the majority of them do not live anywhere close to Diva Town. They ran away screaming years ago.)
The men and women of Diva Town are incredible talents. They can hold one finger in the air while singing long, difficult vocal runs, while another finger plugs up one ear, just like Mariah Carey does.
Their belts can melt your face off and ring out for what seems like forever - a perfect set-up for a roaring round of applause. Diva Town has performing down to a science.
Diva Town residents, unfortunately, do not make the best of friends. You see, they view each person not as an actual person, but a conquest. Kind of like Hunger Games for singers (boy, that’d make a TERRIBLE movie...). They need to feel that they are “beating” their conquests at singing, popularity, flamboyance, and more, or they go into a Disney movie villain-worthy panic. Quickly.*
I have met many a Diva, and one of the most common threads among them is disconnectedness. Beneath the exaggerated smiles and hand shakes is a thick, concrete wall. “Get thee away,” their eyes scream. “Thou art beneath me!” For a long time, I thought I was doing something wrong. “Why do their eyes gloss over when they talk to me? Maybe I’m not cool enough? Maybe I should approach them differently?” etc.
But it wasn’t me. It isn’t me. It’s Diva Town.
In my opinion, fear seems to be an undercurrent of Crazy Town - oops, I mean - Diva Town. Fear has caused the inhabitants to bury their souls underneath years and years of practice and false confidence. Don’t get me wrong. Practice is a must, and confidence is important as well. But when hard work and achievement is used to conceal, rather than enhance our personal selves, it does more harm than good.
Diva Town lacks an overall understanding of who they are, inside. Perhaps somewhere in their upbringing, someone convinced them that their talents are more important than their souls. They seem so consumed with getting all the big solos and hitting money notes, that they have lost the ability to care for anything (or anyone) else as deeply.
The problem with Diva Town's model is this: there is always someone who will sing higher, stronger, more soulfully, and just plain better. However, In the world outside of Diva Town, am I more likely to fall in love with a singer who is 1. technically perfect, or 2. able to connect with me on an emotional level? Numero DOS, I say, with gusto! I, and I believe the majority of people, care more for a talented, REAL person than a mega-talented phony-baloney. It seems that somewhere down the road, Diva Town made a wrong turn and got stuck in the muddy waters of comparisons. Enough, I say! As far as I'm concerned, there is no person in the world who has had the same life experiences as any other one person. And THAT’S what should be heard. Their heart and experiences are what the world needs. Competition in music isn't just unnecessary, it's counterproductive.
I long for the perspectives of Diva Town to float away like dust, never to return. No amount of talent in the world is worth the beating they take and give out. But alas, that’s not going to happen. I can just try to love them as a mother loves a stubborn child.
If you couldn't get through this long-winded blog post, hey that's okay! I summed it up in one sentence below:
Competition has no place in music. It must be collaborative, supportive, genuine, humble, loving, or it isn’t really music at all - just pretty-ish noise.
*DISCLAIMER: Not all singers live in Diva Town. There are plenty of lovely ones as well. <3