A couple of years ago, my husband attended a week-long business conference in the beautiful resort town of Garmisch, Germany. I was thrilled to be going along with him.
It was early spring, great weather, and I had all kinds of plans to go hiking, exploring the quaint village, riding the cable car up the Zugspitze, and generally having a ball while my husband was in meetings all day. Well, the joke was on me. I became very ill on the outbound trip and spent the entire week flat out in bed, unable to even eat.
That’s how I met The Voice
I mostly slept all day, but when my husband came back to the room in the evenings, we watched TV, and that became the highlight of my trip. We don’t have TV at home, so it was a bit of a treat. We watched the same show every time, something called The Voice.
I’d never seen it before, and if you’re not familiar with it either, let me explain a little about how it works. It’s a singing competition between four teams, and we were watching the blind auditions, which is essentially where the team captains are choosing members for their team.
They call it a blind audition because the four coaches begin by sitting in chairs that face away from the stage. They can’t see the performer, only hear them. If what they hear interests them enough, they hit a big red button that swings their chair around to face the stage. This is an indicator that they want that performer for their team.
If more than one chair turns, those coaches are in competition for that singer and they must pitch their coaching skills, each vying to win that performer to their team. Thus, the teams are chosen for the competition.
I mention this because…
I am fortunate in my writing career, to have a wonderful mentor, Dean Wesley Smith. Yesterday, he suggested I watch a few episodes of The Voice and look at it in terms of Story to see what I could learn. Remembering how much I’d enjoyed watching it that week in Garmisch, I tuned in and was amazed at the great insights and inspiration I was able to cull for my writing life.
Here are a couple of things I noticed.
Hitting an emotional note was key
Every singer that appeared on the show demonstrated awesome talent and put on a great performance, but it was the ones that stirred emotion that had the coaches turning in their chairs. I heard this come up over and over again.
Nick Jonas told one performer, “You carry all the emotion that storytellers need.” Kelly Clarkson said, “We want to be moved. That’s the point of being an artist.”
Telling a story was key
Emotion comes from telling a story. When the music takes the listener on a journey of meaning, that’s when it gets emotional, remembering a past experience or imagining what might happen in the world of the song’s story.
This came up repeatedly in different comments from the coaches. I heard them say things like, “The message matters,” and “There’s definitely a story there you can share with the world.”
Exploring backstory was key
The vocal performances were fabulous, but what really makes the show amazing is the backstories of the performers, the glimpses into their lives, what motivates them, what challenges they faced in arriving at this moment.
If you get a chance to watch The Voice, notice how much depends on emotion and Story and see if you agree with me.
Loving the Power of Story
Story is so very important. It plays a vital part in virtually every aspect of life. I see it again and again, because I’m attuned to it, but even if you don’t notice it, it’s there, bringing something very special to your life.
I’m so happy to be a storyteller, and I’m grateful to you for reading and following my work.
How about you? Do you watch The Voice? Do you love a song that tells a story? Tell us about it in the comments.
Thank you, Joslyn, for this idea for story mining!
Hi Jane! You are most welcome, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. May the idea serve you well!