Saturday, October 17, 2009

And This Too Shall Pass...

“To me, success is doing what you want to do and making a living at it. That’s all I wanted to do.”
Frankie Valli

I finally had the opportunity to see Jersey Boys. Jersey Boys tells the stranger-than-fiction tale of how four mob-connected tough kids from Newark, New Jersey defied the odds to become one of rock’s all-time, best-selling acts.
This story was entertaining, yet vividly depicted the importance of being faithful.

During their nearly 40 year career Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons sold over a 100 million records, were inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, making them the most long lived and successful doo wop group.

Everything has a history…

As a child, Valli had no formal vocal training but instead taught himself to sing by doing impressions of other artists. Since he had a naturally high voice, he SPECIFICALLY focused on singers Rose Murphy and Dinah Washington.
What made Valli uncommon as a singer, especially while carving a niche in those early days, was his stratospheric falsetto. Critics called Valli's vocals everything from shrill to shrieking, but the falsetto remained his signature sound. His remarkable range allowed him to create expert harmonies, and the singer was amply able to hit high notes without his voice breaking.

Valli’s life on the surface looked successful; however his overnight success was some ten years in the making! While the band’s massive artistic and commercial triumphs are celebrated, the play’s considerable drama springs from the darker elements of the group’s story, from DeVito’s troubles with mob loan sharks that helped torpedo the act at the height of its success, to Valli’s dysfunctional family life.

How Frankie’s life matters to each of us? What lessons can we take away from his?
Frankie Valli is a triple threat to the entertainment industry. There’s a shortlist of entertainers who’ve successfully leveraged a unique vocal range synonymously with sustainable marketability. Who else could tackle the breadth of material that Frankie has done over the years and not just do it justice, but take it on to a point that places it artistically beyond the reach of others to imitate?

Use what you’ve got and develop it…get past the setbacks!
Rhythm and blues music was doing falsetto for years, yet Valli developed falsetto singing style at a more expansive level, unheard of in the past and even today.
Valli has managed to reinvent himself a number of times. No artist in the history of popular music has been able to maintain consistent success over a very long period.

Valli re-wrote the story of his life several times until he and his group, were able to reach success. Valli networked, practiced relentlessly, and studied Frank Sinatra and other musical legends of that time. Valli let each setback serve as a springboard to future success. Valli also was a quick-study when it came to setbacks; he learned from it and always focused on the future. Valli was ahead of his industry counterparts by maintaining ownership of the group’s original masters which has created financial freedom for himself and his business partner.
At one point in Valli’s career he developed otosclerosis, an incurable ear disease caused by a build up of calcium deposits, which leads to deafness. It got so bad that Valli couldn't hear himself on stage or while recording many of the hits fans have come to love. This condition lasted for several years before any solution was discovered.

Despite this performance altering setback, Valli maintained a professional acumen, without any live audience or recording studio awareness.
There’s some obstacle that we have to strategically address & some areas of our lives we will never fully recover from, like Valli, who never has fully recovered his hearing. Despite these tragedies, it’s imperative that we create a strategy to bounce back…and quickly.

So the empowering question I pose to you today is “What will you do to overcome your most recent setback…and WHEN will you begin?”
I’m committed to re-inventing my approach to a project that’s dear to my professional life and the lives of countless others. I am doing all that I can to REMAIN teachable, quick to change and increasingly open to innovative approaches? How about you?

Remain confident, courageous and phenomenal…

Remember you’ll only lead your life when you WHOLLY understand who you are. Begin the CHANGE revolution today.

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