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The Importance of Being Real
By Beth Lawrence - 02/09/2012 - 07:06 PM EST

As songwriters we put ourselves on the line just by writing what comes from our heart and head. And although we have good imaginations and can invent great stories, most of our music comes from personal experience. Having felt heartbreak; fear; rejection and the exhilaration of love firsthand makes it possible for our audience to relate to our music, because they have also experienced those same emotions.

In our society most people present themselves under the guise of a false front - we hide behind a mask created by our Ego to protect us from hurt and also make others more accepting of us. By the time we are adults we have created an identity through which all experiences are filtered. We act unconsciously from this fabricated self until we wake up one day wondering 'who am I, really?'

Songwriting is often times cathartic - we process the events of our lives through song - and this is why artists must dig deep to discover the real core being that lies underneath all the layers of protective Ego. As a performer, as a storyteller, it is our mission to reveal this authentic self when we take the stage. This is probably why many performers suffer from stage fright - they are truly terrified to open themselves to an audience who they feel may judge them negatively. The only way to get over this fear is to drop the facade and realize that we are all the same. You must know that we are all of the same tribe. And a tribe protects its own!

In working with singers and songwriters it is immediately evident when someone is hiding behind their mask. They may sing perfectly, but they just can't connect. When you aren't feeling the emotion that underlies your lyric, how do you expect your audience to feel anything? Trust me, you can only fool them for so long! You'll see lots of performers making wild gestures; pounding their chests; furrowing their brow in fake emotion - it's all smoke and mirrors! A great storyteller can have their audience captivated while they are sitting on a stool - alone on stage. It all comes from the heart, not the head.

Being real means that you understand the commonality that you share with everyone in your audience. You share a common humanity. We have all cried, laughed, loved, been rejected. If you are hiding behind a mask, only pretending to be real, not only your audience, but your own true self will be left unmoved. One of the most courageous acts a songwriter can commit is to let down the facade and open your heart to your listener, no matter what the outcome. Only in that way will you be able to share the common spirit that flows through each one of us.

Yes, it's scary to be real until that moment that you let down your guard and open your heart through your music, not caring what 'they' will think. What they think is none of your business. As artists, we hold our heart out in our hands every time we write a note, a lyric, or share our voices. When you truly let your authentic self shine through you will be free! You will realize that a life lived in hiding is no life at all. We are not here to hide, we are here to shine. That's the importance of being real.

Author, Songwriter, and Voice Diva Beth Lawrence has composed music for Broadway's 'Marilyn, An American Fable', the Olympics, and film; and has 10 Award-winning CDs to her credit. As a producer, singer/songwriter, Beth has won awards from Billboard Magazine; L.A. Jazz Scene Magazine; The American Song Festival, and Parent's Magazine. Beth is the author of From Shower To Stage!...7 Easy Steps for Singing Like A Pro. ( As the Owner of Viva La Voice, a conscious music company offering enlightened products and Music Mentoring programs, Beth loves developing the brilliance in others!

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