Melinda Doolittle

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Top 5 Perspective

Yesterday, an article came out for the New York Times that claimed to rank “The Top 5 Most Talented ‘American Idol’ Contestants Ever.” Obviously, this is all based on the opinion of the writer. There was no poll conducted or anything like that. Nevertheless, I made the list!

Fact: I don’t normally read articles like this because I never know what they’re going to say, but the link had been tweeted to me so many times, I gave in and clicked on it. Imagine my surprise when I found myself #2 on the list…sandwiched between the flawless Kelly Clarkson and the amazing Jennifer Hudson. Rounding out the list were Carrie Underwood and Nadia Turner. I was in the company of ‘Idol’ royalty!

Then, my eyes drifted to what this particular writer thought of me. His exact words were…

“The rare artist who benefited from “Idol” pushing her into unfamiliar genres (her rock rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Have a Nice Day” killed), but a postshow retreat into safe soul territory has made her a footnote in the music industry.”

In all honesty, my first reactions were of disappointment, hurt and embarrassment. I decided not to “retweet” the link to the article and tried to pretend I never saw it. However that “footnote” reference would not leave me alone. So, I did what I always do. I prayed about it. What happened next is one of the many reasons I am so grateful for a God who loves me dearly. I began to be reminded of the awesome things I have been blessed to do as a result of being on American Idol. From performing at The White House, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and so many other amazing places…to becoming an author and speaker with my own book “BeyondMe”…to traveling all over the country singing my heart out…to being a part of life-saving efforts for children both domestically and internationally…I have absolutely LOVED every opportunity.

In the midst of me being reminded of how thankful I was to be doing what I love for a living, a chapter of my book came to mind. It’s a lesson my Mommy taught me when I was younger. Chew the hay and spit out the sticks. (I grew up in Oklahoma…we’re country! LOL!) This approach to criticism is both difficult and rewarding, because you have to be willing to be extremely honest with yourself. So, that’s what I did. If I’m being honest, the NYT writer was correct. I love that ‘Idol’ pushed me into so many unfamiliar genres and it did open new possibilities for me vocally. I never knew there was a rocker in there. J However, I definitely did retreat into a safe soul territory with my CD. Whether that was my choice or not, doesn’t matter to the writer. He was just merely stating a fact. So, in “chewing the hay,” I had to agree with him and decide if I wanted to do anything about it. While I’ve always been told a CD should be one genre so as to not confuse the audience, I now tend to give more credit to the audience. My voice is soulful and It will be on any style song you hear it on. So, there’s your continuity. Genre is free game. J I can’t wait for you all to hear the new music we’ve been working on. Now, for “spitting out the sticks.” What he describes as a footnote, I describe as bliss. I hear what he’s saying and I can now say it doesn’t bother me. I see that he’s comparing me to others on his list of 5 and in sheer comparison…I get it. However, my life and career are my own and I am so grateful for how things are going. Can I do more? OF COURSE! Will I do more? YOU BET? Will it be to prove him wrong? NOPE. It’ll be because it’s what I’m supposed to be doing. Will him being proved wrong be an added bonus? MAYBE. Hehehe…

I wrote this blog to be real with you guys. There are always things in life that will attempt to bring you down and may succeed for a while. Learn to chew the hay, spit out the sticks and live your life they way God has planned for you…not for anyone else. Comparison happens, but at the end of the day, you will do your very best at just being you. I know it’s cliché, but it’s truth. So, be real with yourself and as much as you can, work on seeing the best side of all things. Your perspective makes all the difference.

So, today...I’m in the Top 5 Most Talented ‘American Idol’ Contestants! That's pretty dang cool if you ask me! Woo Hoo!

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