Are you a lead singer or a back-up?

Today is January 31 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “are you a lead singer or a backup?”


In the world of music there are lead singers and then there are back-up singers. Both are equally important. Someone needs to obviously be the front person. Yet standing 20 feet behind the front person are the back-up singers. In a 2013 American documentary film entitled 20 Feet from Stardom directed by documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville and produced by Gil Friesen, a music industry executive whose curiosity to know more about the lives of background singers inspired the making of the film.


The film follows the behind-the-scenes of back-up singers and stars Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega, and Jo Lawry, among many others. On March 2, 2014, it won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 86th Academy Awards. Some back-up singers want to and eventually become a front person. Other back-up singers have a goal to be the front person but simply never make it.


As Lisa Fischer, one of the back-up singers profiled in the film, said of back-up singing: “I reject the notion that the job you excel at is somehow not enough to aspire to, that there has to be something more. I love supporting other artists.” She added: “Some people will do anything to be famous. I just wanted to sing.”


As the Dalai Lama observed "People take different roads seeking fulfillment. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." It is important to recognize that there is no right path. Whatever path you choose is right for you. If you wish to pursue being a lead singer do that. If you wish to pursue being a back-up singer do that. There is no right or wrong here. The decision is yours and yours alone. Either role is fine. It’s important to remember that one is not better than another. Do you want to be a lead singer or a back-up?