Imposter Syndrome

Mark_Baxter branding
The prevailing, idiotic, mentality often imposed on singers is that a REAL singer should be able to make magic at a moment’s notice.-says Mark Baxter

On the local scene, the vocals are often an afterthought, barely touched on in rehearsals, under-mixed live and hurried in the studio. On the international scene, the singer IS the band. On top of this pressure, many performers are insecure.

The prevailing, idiotic, mentality often imposed on singers is that a REAL singer should be able to make magic at a moments notice

The prevailing, idiotic, mentality often imposed on singers is that a REAL singer should be able to make magic at a moment’s notice. This causes people to dwell on their weaknesses rather than their strengths.

It can make you feel like an imposter.

Instead, consider that singers come in two distinctly different breeds: The egos and the alter-egos. Expecting one to sing like the other will cause problems every time. Obviously, a loud mouth makes a great vocalist. They are encouraged as kids and win talent contests as teenagers.These gifted, 100-watt egos gladly stand up in crowded restaurants and belt out tunes or bust into free style raps at parties.

If that’s not you it doesn’t mean you’re an imposter. It just mean’s you’re shy and require a little encouragement before metamorphosing into your alter-ego.

280x200-Hendrix

Legends like Jimi Hendrix have been insecure about their voice

Jimi Hendrix was terribly insecure about his voice. In the studio, he would turn the lights off and hide from view of his producer. What a tragedy it would have been if he had surrendered his delicate poetry over to a loud mouth vocalist.

On the other hand, Steven Tyler, a 110-watt personality, also throws everybody out of the studio when he sings, including the producer! The difference is he doesn’t feel like less of a singer for doing so.

So don’t apologize for needing things to be just right before making some magic.

If you are an alter-ego type, explore many different music styles, vocal ranges and backing instrument combinations until you find your niche.

Everybody has one.


 The Ultimate Guide to SingingMark is a contributor to The Ultimate Guide to Singing Available in print and Kindle versions in the US, the UK and across the world.

Mark Baxter Professional Shoot

Mark Baxter has worked as a coach with Aerosmith, Journey, Goo Goo Dolls — and many others. He is the author of The Rock-n-Roll Singer’s Survival, creator of The Singer’s Toolbox instructional DVD, Sing Like an Idol instructional CD. Mark operates vocal studios in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and online via Skype. Visit his website: VoiceLesson


Ask our Bloggers


  • keith

    singing should be like any other job or personal delight, a high degree of humility/respect, a truckload of friendship/civility, a heart-full of love and passion unbridled. Seeing the divas turn something universally beautiful into something super-ego is a tad repulsive to me, no matter how great their skill and talent. I understand the “show” part, but common courtesy towards fellow collaborators and the audience is classy and synergetic. Needless to say I am no Aerosmith fan.