Here are some examples of what you might hear after a performance, and what the words might really mean.
Example: “You did such an incredible job!”
Meaning: This is true. You did great! Congratulations! Keep in mind who said it: Mom? Boyfriend? Roommate? Be glad that you brightened their day, because that’s what you are trying to do, right? Don’t get cocky.
Example: “That was the best thing I have ever heard!”
Meaning: This might also be true. That very well may be the best thing they have ever heard. Who is saying it? How often do they get out to shows? Is it possible that their love for you swayed their opinion of your performance? It is not a bad thing that they loved your performance, but don’t assume that means anything about your career prospects.
Example: “You sound just like [insert name of celebrity singer]!”
Meaning: There is danger in these words. It does not mean you sound like that singer: it means the commenter likes that singer, and they like you. There may be some similarities between you, but if you are always getting compared to another singer, you probably don’t have your own voice yet. It also does not mean you are as good as, or will ever be as good as, that singer, but that in whatever environment you are in, or compared to the other people in the show, you may have stood out. That is not a bad thing, but these words can seriously distort your self-image.
Example: “You should be on [big talent show]!”
Meaning: This means that the commenter enjoys the show that they mentioned, and they also enjoyed your performance… nothing more. It does not mean that you should expect to be on American Idol, or Britain’s Got Talent, or any other show with musicians. Should you audition? Of course! But be realistic: every other person auditioning also had someone tell them how great they are. Hundreds of thousands of voices out there, not everyone gets on the show.
Example: “You’re my favorite singer! I listen to your music all the time!”
Meaning: This is also probably true. It means you have a fan, which is great. It does not mean that others necessarily share the sentiment, although they might. Keep it in perspective.
Example: “You’re going to be famous!”
Meaning: This is a loaded statement. It means that they like you and they want other people to hear you. That is excellent! You are succeeding as a performer! But don’t you dare think it means you will actually be famous, or that you actually want to be famous. It feels great to get compliments like this, and it’s easy to get tricked into thinking that fame is an unending shower of these kinds of warm compliments. Fame is difficult and ugly, and you have far less control over your eventual fame than you think.
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