I always had my eye on the prize. Wasn’t sure how I’d get the prize, but I knew I had what it took to get it. I was only six and when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I already had a vision for what would later become my career. I wanted to move like Janet and sound like Whitney, and did everything to be exactly like them. Call it daydreaming or delusions if you will! What I wasn’t prepared for, was that the world didn’t see me the way I saw myself and this began to alter the vision I had for my career as I grew up.
As a singer and a dancer, I thought I had the ingredients to become the ideal pop star. My career as a dancer took hold first, and then the opportunities to sing came shortly after. I went back and forth between the two effortlessly, finding what I thought the perfect balance and setup for the future. A few music videos, a world tour, Broadway, and then a record deal; my dreams come true. “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray”…I’m a planner so the first time I heard that phrase, it upset me. Or how about this one “When we make plans, God laughs!” I’m not a man or a mouse, and I don’t like being laughed at, but the plans for my life as an artist took several twists and turns. Vision derailed!
What do we do when that happens? Do we keep on believing, pushing forward? Yes. Still waiting for a record deal or contract? Re-invent. Get signed and then shelved waiting for your turn? Get creative. When the phone stops ringing? Easier said than done, I know, but let’s face it, in an industry that’s flaky, unpredictable, so much built on image and over-saturated with incredible talent, the more experienced we become, the inevitable happens; we get older. And with that comes the risk of being less desirable. For many, the options and opportunities can be fewer and far between.
Still waiting for a record deal or contract? Re-invent.
We have a passion and a desire that is born in our hearts and our vision for our gift is created in our minds, so it can be hard to know when it’s time to let go, switch lanes, and move on. Some are lucky to transition to other lucrative singing and music-related careers in the industry, and we all know those who waited too long, or missed their chances. Don’t stop believing, but there comes a time when we have to be honest with ourselves and make a transition; one that will give us security and stability, and through which we can continue our musical and creative journey.
My detour has taken me from solo artist, background dancer to songwriting, and arranging, background singer, vocal coaching and back around and everything in between! During her own budding singing career, Babette Labeij (famed vocal coach and expert, talent judge and creative consultant) transformed the vision she had for herself as an artist into a successful business. She took her talent, experience, and passion for music and now gives it to the people she works with at her very own music academy in Amsterdam, and to many TV contestant hopefuls as the head vocal coach and creative consultant for The Voice, The Voice Kids, and now it’s Latin American version La Voz Kids. How can we as singers survive and grow and leave a legacy or a footprint for the musical community to remember and follow for years and generations to come? Let’s find out how Babette did that very thing and what inspired her inner vision and transitions in the music industry.