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New guy, 35 year pro.. Hi!

Hello,

My name is Chris, good to be here among other serious singers. I started my pro career in 1980 when I joined a pretty epic Showband called "The Innocents: The History of Rock and Roll".. the band and show were top-notch and had a great agent, and it was back when there were still lots and lots of Bar/Lounge gigs that would pay good money across the country.. the great DJ infection had not yet taken hold. For years we worked 50 weeks a year, 5-6 nights a week. I was fortunate to have had a phenomenal bandleader/mentor who gave me the foundation of discipline and knowledge necessary to sustain myself through the ever-changing landscape of the business. I had just turned eighteen when I embarked on that adventure, and it would become my life.. a life of making a living entertaining and, of course singing...

I've worked in pretty much every arena for a working musician; solo, duo, trio, 4, 5, 6, 10 piece etc, horn band, orchestra, all kind of Pop music, Rock, Hard Rock, Country, show band, dance band. I also have plenty of original projects in my background, from Pop to Hard Rock to Country. I've opened concerts for popular artists, mostly Country as I had the most support and best timing to do so. I've lived, worked, and written in Nashville (6 years) along with lots of studio work there. I've coached voice in the studio, and privately as well... dabbled in artist development as a hobby when I see someone I think is a really worthy artist, but nothing deeper than serious mentoring.

I took my first lesson from Ron Anderson in 1983. He was dear friends with an agent who I was working for, performing in and putting together groups in a very well run and highly professional music market where crap never touched a stage. Ron would fly in and while visiting his friend (my agent) would give lessons to his artists for an amazing 40 dollars. I think his price in LA was 2-250 bucks at the time. What an opportunity... Now I'm going to break some hearts and piss at least somebody off. I was too young and stupid to take the lessons seriously. I dabbled into them but had no real follow through. I took a total of 5 over a period of a couple years just because it was there... I never worked the lessons after, the way I should have. With a coach like Ron, taking those lessons home (on cassette tape of course) and studying them, even so few, could have changed my entire career for the better... BIG LEAGUE! ;-) Thank God I was blessed with enough talent to overcome my stupidity! Or was I...?

Then about 3-4 years later, while successfully making a living playing bars big and small 5 nights a week, I decided to drag those tapes out and see what happened if I took them seriously... whoa. I dug in and pushed myself, and I quickly gained stamina and range that was unknown to me. Hagar, Plant, Rodgers, etc were now in my repertoires, along with the real hard stuff. lol. I was unstoppable, and it led to some amazing original music with some truly great bands. I was a real contender, on the threshold of the national stage of rock singers, woohoo! No, seriously, I was baddass. Eventually I went back to Ron Anderson for several lessons, flew from SF to LAS and paid $300 an hour to be with one of the greatest..

But, you ask, is this guy full of it? He sure is dramatic. What do you expect from an entertainer? Actually this entire rant is a cautionary tale... stick with me.

I've brushed the national scene several times, and never seemed to cross the threshold. It's obvious this is a fickle industry with some serious god-complexes among the record companies... the business as it is now, allows the artist to give the finger to labels or even force their way in without ever having to ever "load the van"... thanks YouTube. But back then it was a helluva lot more work, period. But with luck and the help of some truly generous and faithful friends and associates who believed in me, I had some real opportunities to make it big... in Rock and Country... But.

Sometimes our approach was lacking.. or the timing.. or our connections.. or the material wasn't 'quite' there.. sometimes every effort was made on a absolutely phenomenal project, and it just slipped through the cracks... whatever the reason, as I look back I know that there was one common thread..


ME. I wasn't ready. I didn't commit. I let ego, bad decisions, and laziness get in the way. I knew subconsciously that to really go "all the way" I would have to give up my freedom to be an idiot. I guess I didn't really want to do that. So there, take that life, I'm gonna have some self indulgent fun and try to have my cake and puke it up too.

As I said, thank God I had talent and the foundation I gained in my early career to allow me to be a working pro.

I'm writin' a freakin' book hee'a.

So what are we learning? Let's unpack it and lay it out on the bed for examination.

I am a successful music professional with a lot of luck. don't try this at home unless you follow these simple rules:

TAKE YOUR GOD-GIVEN TALENT SERIOUSLY
WORK AS HARD AS YOU CAN
DON'T DO DRUGS
STUDY YOUR CRAFT WITH PROFESSIONALS
BUILD STRENGTH BOTH MENTAL AND PHYSICAL
BEND BUT NEVER BREAK
PREPARE FOR "THAT" MOMENT
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE FAMOUS TO BE SUCCESSFUL
KNOW YOURSELF AND HAVE FAITH

When I put it all together I ended up with a successful Casino show where I have made as much as $200,000 a year and have never made less than $500 a night performing. Been doing it for over 10 years now, and I love my life. I hope what I've shared can help someone.

I'm going to go watch Walking Dead Season 7 opener on my DVR right now, who did Neagan kill? I don't want to know!

I have one more important story to tell you when I return, one of health and singing, SS, SLS and the dangers that lie within, and how lucky we all are to have KTVA. But you already knew that last one.

Great to be here and I look forward to our working together for mutual growth and friendship.

Be well!

Chris Costa

See more about me and what I'm doing at
www.chriscosta.com

Comments

  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,524Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    Nice to hear from you, Chris!

    Welcome to the forums!

    Bob
  • streeterstreeter Posts: 679Moderator, Pro
    edited October 2016
    That's awesome mate. Great story, great voice, great show. If nothing else, inspiring. You're doing what I dream of doing someday. I've gone from just being wanting to be able to sing, to singing, to singing in front of people (friends, family), to fronting a band, to getting paid to sing in the space of about 2.5 years and your story just fires me up even more. Thanks man
  • chriscoschriscos Posts: 4Pro
    Thanks Bob, & Streeter... sorry for the epic megapost. I guess I got a little carried away with the "tell us about yourself" part of this thread..

    I am just now getting back into BelCanto and strengthening my voice after getting very ill and continuing to perform over a two year period... at the time I was desperate to seek out a way to sing with the amount of stress I could handle at the time... you guessed it, Riggs & Manning.

    When my health started to deteriorate, I slowly but surely realized I no longer had the strength to continue with the techniques I was most familiar with. Moving to SLS worked at the time, but... Just in the last few months I came to realize that SS had weakened my voice to the point where I was timid, and inconsistent. It just wasn't "me."

    So, after digging out my old Ron Anderson tapes last month I am on the road to getting back what I lost, and it's coming along nicely.. But I knew I wanted more to work with still. I had seen Ken on YouTube and of course I was impressed with his awesome voice. I sang at that level in my 30's, but the need to feed kept me working on gigs and not growth. So as I proceeded I still benefited from all of my study, but didn't really continue to push for that growth factor that keeps age from slowly taking you down.... Not to mention my inherited Congestive Heart Failure and severe Pulmonary Hypertension!

    So now, as my health issues have come under control and my physical stamina is nearly normal, I proceeded with research into KTVA. I was completely blown away. Getting started on the Pro Pack course has given me hope that I can again rise to the levels I aspire to... It's quite simply the clearest, hardest hitting, most effective coaching I've ever seen. God Bless you Ken, with your help I can begin to work more days per year without fear or stress, and will likely be good for another 20 years. I'll be 74 then, I think that'll probably do it for me...
  • streeterstreeter Posts: 679Moderator, Pro
    Story was worth it. Good luck. It's always awesome to hear when a seasoned pro still wants to keep improving. I'd imagine at your level it would be so easy to say 'well, good enough'.
  • chriscoschriscos Posts: 4Pro
    So glad to hear you are inspired by my story, Streeter. You are moving along quickly... as you are proving, there is no substitute for hard work, study and the passion to drive it home! Keep it up brother.
  • streeterstreeter Posts: 679Moderator, Pro
    Thanks. I've always been a 'practice' junkie. Guitar and teaching is my living at the moment, even if I never achieve your level of success with voice with regards to career, the reward for me has always been the art itself, so I'll always find ways to keep myself inspired.
  • chriscoschriscos Posts: 4Pro
    Ha, I've been the opposite.. most of what I know I've learned on instruments has been for a gig, or at a gig, lol. The voice came pretty naturally to me, but without my passion for voice training I would never have made a living long term. Outside of sounding great and being a decent person, fastest track to eventually make a living at be a working performer is to model proven success. Best Sound? Most gigs? Most popular? But why? Seek them out and watch them work. Take note of nuance and detail. Ask questions and make them want to share their secrets. Get to know them. Network and make friends in your market. Sacrifice. I have a good feeling about you already, I know you have it in you, you just need the knowledge!
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