A life that’s been lived.
There’s a fabulous documentary out right now on Showtime. It’s probably also available on Amazon Prime or Netflix, and I would recommend it to anyone, but especially to those in our business.
It’s about the opera singer, Pavarotti, but you don’t need to love opera to love his amazing life story:
I especially point you to the quote near the end of the documentary by Bono, commenting on those disappointed at the maestro’s weakened voice near the end of his life:
“I remember somebody saying to me, ‘Oh no, I saw him in the great days. It was a whole different thing.’ I just think, ‘You don’t know anything, do you? You don’t know anything about singing. The reason why he is great is because he has lived those songs, and you can hear them in every crack of his voice. You have to break your heart again and again and again to sing those songs. It really pisses me off when people miss that, because these are well known songs. What can you bring to them? The only thing you can bring to them is your entire life, a life that’s been lived, the mistakes you’ve made, the hopes, the desires…all that stuff comes crashing into the performance.“
Our business, show business, particularly Radio, shuns older performers. We rationalize this by claiming they sound dated, or our target is so much younger that we need younger talent, blah, blah, blah.
I know several on-air talents older than 70 who would instantly be the best air talent in almost any market they could be heard, but they can’t even get a return phone call from us.
What a shame, because each can bring an entire life, a life that’s been lived, mistakes, hopes, desires…all that stuff…into every day’s performance.
If you think listeners wouldn’t respond to that, you’re not just wrong, you’re in the wrong business.