I once heard an interview with opera singer Renee Flemming in which she said she’d always loved singing both opera and jazz but she’d been told it was better to choose one thing to be great at.
She chose opera and stopped singing jazz. And, of course, she became a master opera singer.
I understand the advice Renee was given. If you choose one thing to concentrate on…one talent on which to focus all your time and creative energy…you can develop that talent to a very high level.
But what if you enjoy more than one creative pursuit? What if you’re good at more than one art form or style of expression? If you choose one, won’t you miss out on the richness of exploring the second creative path in addition to the first?
Apparently Renee Flemming later decided it was okay to sing other music in addition to opera. I imagine that decision has enriched her life and her creative experience.
This issue resonates with me because I think of myself as an artist and a writer. For a long time I wrestled with the issue of whether I’d have to choose one or the other. Artist or writer?
Invisibility or flight?
What do you think? Choose one thing and perfect it? Or make room for more than one way of being creative?