Many years ago in NYC, a very handsome young man walked into my private studio for a first-ever voice lesson. Justin was a working model, actor and dancer, and wanted to add singing to his resume. His ultimate dream was to be in A Chorus Line. He appeared confident and self-possessed as I would expect a professional model to be. However, when he started to sing, he was a bundle of nerves. I have never encountered anyone before or after him with that much initial anxiety about singing. I actually thought he might pass out; at one point he had to sit down and take deep, calming breaths so that he wouldn’t. And the thing is, he had a lovely, if untrained, voice, with tons of potential and I had told him as much. I was very encouraging and complimentary; he was doing really well! But it didn’t matter- his nerves would not be assuaged. Most people come into their very first voice lesson with some trepidation; it is scary to sing for a new person. It can be scary to sing, period. But I am usually pretty adept at calming them down and making them feel more comfortable. Not in this case. After the hour was over, he was still as tense and shaky as he had been when we started. Even though overall I thought it had been a good lesson, I figured I would never hear from him again. After all, singing is not a required skill. He was already making a living as a model and getting work as an actor and a dancer. Why add singing if it was going to cause him so much distress?
Thankfully, I was wrong, because he called the very next day wanting to set up his next lesson! I was shocked but pleased. He said he was very serious about pursing this and wanted to do whatever it took to be a successful singer. And so we began his vocal training and it took quite a few months for him to be truly comfortable singing. But he fought through the nerves and his voice blossomed. In just a few years, he went from never having sung a note to booking the National Tour of A Chorus Line as the part of Greg! I have never seen anyone work harder, with such a positive attitude and will to succeed despite any obstacle. He didn’t let anything stop him from achieving his dreams. I can’t sing his praises enough. Justin is one of the most impressive people I have ever had the pleasure and honor to work with and call friend. He is inspirational; a true self-made man.
As a side note, he is also a totally lovely human being who takes fantastic headshots! Mine are courtesy of his talent. Check him out at www.justinclynes.com.