★★★★★ in iTunes

Overthought is a compelling examination of the lives of classical singers Isaiah Bell and Chris Mayell, discussing performance psychology, creativity, entrepreneurship, life balance, self-doubt, the state of opera, and the ways we overcome challenges to attain artistic triumph. New episodes are released on Tuesday. *

ALL EPISODES

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49. Good Enough

January 17, 2017

66 minutes, 31.8MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Have you ever had the feeling you're descended from a line of forgotten royals? How about a suspicion that your ancestors may have been a dynasty of chambermaids, valets, and tenant farmers? This week Chris and Isaiah welcome recurring guest Woeful Inadequacy back onto the podcast to talk about that deep-down feeling that not only may you not be doing well enough — you could actually just not be good enough.

Perhaps it served our forebears well, in their domestic duties, to feel that they were second-class, but when one has to get up in front of thousands of people on a regular basis and command attention, this becomes a less useful trait.

Chris finally cracks open his decorative copy of "Mind Over Mood", and Isaiah extols the virtues of accepting you're broken. PLUS a classic haiku to make you go 🤔...

Full Show Notes »

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48. Permission

60 minutes, 29.1MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Megan Ihnen – American mezzo, new music maven, writer, and self-described extrovert (I know! How exotic) – joins us this week to talk permission. Classical singers spend so many years – decades?! – being inculcated with respect for tradition (and humility about our own judgement) that some of us find ourselves, long into our professional careers, still asking for permission from some unseen authority to just do what we do.

 

Does everyone feel this way? How do you balance respect for outside guidance with a sense of confidence in your autonomy? When can you start trusting your own taste, and your own skills? Is the Future Truly Now?? Commence animated discussion!

Full Show Notes »

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47. The Fragile Ego

November 22, 2016

60 minutes, 29.5MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

This week Chris and Isaiah season Season Two's barrage of all-star guests with a brief return to the one-on-one format. And in classic Overthought fashion, we're going deep – deep into the neurotic mind.

Some egos are unassailable. They can trundle on, secure in their place in the world, in the face of hostile environments, personal inadequacies, or unfavourable public opinion. Those egos are not our egos. 'Oh, how refreshing,' I hear you say, 'An introspective exploration of self-esteem issues.' Well, perhaps this IS ground that's been traversed before, on occasion, but on those theoretical occasions Ayn Rand was left entirely out of it! In addition to rectifying that, this week's 'cast asks some tough questions: can one's sense of personal value ever detach itself from accomplishment? Is it possible to change your essential way of interacting with the world? Can we actually turn self-doubt into fuel instead of fretfulness?

Full Show Notes »

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46. The Orthodox Opera Singer

November 15, 2016

61 minutes, 29.6MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

This week we sit down with a current University of Toronto undergrad: baritone Jacob Feldman (well, actually, we were lying down, but you can't say that on TV). What was initially conceived as a generalized investigation of "student life today" quickly developed into an exploration of Jacob's unique situation: specifically, the potential conflicts between his identities as an Orthodox Jew and as an aspiring opera singer. Chris and Isaiah learn a lot, Jacob speaks eloquently, and the Lucky 37 will forever after wonder what someone really means when they say, "Is it dark in here"?

Full Show Notes »

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45. Streams

November 8, 2016

62 minutes, 29.9MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

When Dr. Leah Giselle Field, Esq., is our guest, the show is like baking soda and vinegar — very white, somewhat explosive, and a lot of fun.

 

We're talking career streams this week: Dr. Field has recently plunged into life as a (in her words!) "not-so-young young artist" after having taken the academic elevator straight to the top. Isaiah jumped into YAPs straight out of undergrad and has often wondered if it was the most prudent choice. Chris split the difference – getting a Master's degree because it was "what's done" – and all three have questions about how we are building foundations for young singers.

 

Is there such a thing as too much input for developing artists? How does the default Young Artist Program model promote sustainable growth? Can Classical music culture in general help singers buck the youth craze in order to build from the bottom up?

 

A lot is said, and – in true Overthought tradition – there are more questions than answers. However (in the seemingly original words of Dr. Leah Field) "the course of true love never did run smooth!"

Full Show Notes »

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44. Diplomacy, or, The Safe Choice

October 25, 2016

67 minutes, 32.5MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

This one could have gone on for hours! Jenna Douglas – pianist-coach and captain of the intrepid ship that is Schmopera.com – joins us this week for a topic that affects each of us nearly every day.

 

Working contract-to-contract means musicians are unusually dependant on a climate of good will. We have to weigh many decisions – whether to tell uncomfortable truths, to stand up for ourselves, to stick with a controversial artistic vision – against the possibility that they will threaten our livelihood.

 

How much is our fear of speaking our minds based in real danger? In theory, people respect self-confidence, but is there some safe point in a career before which you just can't afford to take any chances? And what about when you know the only thing you fear is... fear itself?!

 

Jenna also raises the bar for all subsequent guests (and for us!) by coming prepared with original haiku tailored to the subject matter! Now that's a pro.

Full Show Notes »

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43. Money

October 18, 2016

62 minutes, 30.3MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Do you avoid looking at your bank balance? Do you feel guilty about spending money on anything other than essentials? Do you secretly welcome the clarity of having no money whatsoever, because it frees you from the panicky burden of fiscal responsibility?

 

You are not alone. Enter Chris Enns, tenor, certified financial planner, and self-described personal finance nerd. It was not long ago that Chris, who now runs the fabulous ragstoreasonable.com (subtitled "money help for artists"), was ignoring all that complicated, numbersy stuff. But when he found himself on the pointy end of a massive tax bill, he knew something had to change.

 

Isaiah and Chris ("Regular Chris") mostly listen in awe this week to Chris's story and his confidence-inspiring proclamations that you, too, can have a reasonably comfortable lifestyle. It's somehow both soothing and exciting... Could this be the most pleasant hour you've ever spent thinking about financial planning?

Full Show Notes »

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42. Taking One's Own Path

October 11, 2016

60 minutes, 28.9MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

EXTRA! EXTRA! For the first time in HISTORY, Overthought welcomes a guest co-host! Vivien Shotwell – author, singer, and GP (Good Pal) – joins Chris and Isaiah to discuss a matter very close to our hearts: "Taking One's Own Path."

All three of us devote a part of our working lives to a non-singing pursuit, despite traditional wisdom that discourages singers from attempting to be bi-vocational. And in the absence of appropriate role models, we all ask ourselves the same questions: If no one else has taken my path, how can I know if I'm fooling myself about its potential success? Is my parallel pursuit a distraction, or does it fulfill an essential need in me? Is there a way to do it without compromising?

After a three-month hiatus (a marriage, a honeymoon, and a major moving of house) Overthought is back, in a fresh three-headed format, for Season 2.

Full Show Notes »

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41. Habit, Ritual, Routine

July 12, 2016

69 minutes, 33.6MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

It's weird to be a creature of habit in a career with constant changes of environment, workload, and colleagues; without the ability to maintain any regular routines, it can feel like you're not in control of your own life.

 

Habits and routine give our lives structure, but they can also, of course, be insidious. How many times, as performers, have we been warned about the dangers of "going on autopilot"?

 

This is where ritual can be a powerful tool. When we actively engage in familiar gestures and behaviours, it can work against the deadening effect of mindless routine. And for a performer who needs some sense of safety to allow for that thrilling release of control, rituals convince the nervous brains that we're on the same team.

 

This episode features the extensive introduction of yet another invisible cast member, "Li'l Carl". And if you thought WE had issues....

Full Show Notes »

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40. Living with Civvies

July 5, 2016

69 minutes, 33.4MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

So many performing artists find themselves sharing their lives with people from outside the artsy career pool. Coincidence? For Chris and Isaiah, two strong proponents of this odd-couple lifestyle, the benefits are manifold. Are there drawbacks? And what goes ON in the minds of these Citizens of the Real World, drawn like masochistic moths to people in the grip of the greedy artist life?

 

This episode (featuring a dramatic sound-quality upgrade that occurs mid-cast) was inspired by a suggestion from celebrity Schmopera-blogger Jenna Douglas. You can suggest too!

Full Show Notes »

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39. An Even Keel (?)

June 28, 2016

59 minutes, 42.8MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Life is crazy, OK? The ups. The downs! Even the middles... are crazy. And everything is exaggerated under the microscope of performance pressure. So it's healthy to try to keep an even keel when possible, yes? Honestly? We don't know.

 

Is it false and unhelpful to force "balance" in the face of the vicissitudes of life? For those of us whose ultimate Saturday night involves peace, quiet, and an early bedtime, adrenaline and nerves are hard to embrace. But what if life just Isn't about feeling normal?

 

Things get very real very quickly in this episode, and the whole discussion is capped off by what could possibly be the most depressing Benjamin Button tagline ever imagined. Remember: we know nothing.

Full Show Notes »

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38. Boundaries

June 21, 2016

54 minutes, 38.9MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

It took two false starts (Episode 35 and "The Bad One") and an 11th-hour data-loss scare before our discussion of Boundaries could be unleashed upon the world. [But aren't boundaries always difficult to establish? ...*sage nodding*...]

 

Chris can find himself going WAY beyond the call of duty in his dealings with certain hard-to-please clients... But is it keen business acumen, or poorly defined boundaries?

 

Meanwhile Isaiah reveals a shocking and unfortunate default mindset (another one?!) - a sort of evil twin to "innocent until proven guilty". Do we people-pleasers actually look for excuses to enable other people to take advantage of us? And are we just vulnerable to other people's problems because we're Sensitive Artistes?

 

This episode features our first attempt at introducing ourselves and "who we are today" at the top of the show. Because even we get our voices confused sometimes. For serious.

Full Show Notes »

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37. Good Things

June 14, 2016

66 minutes, 31.8MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

For the first time ever, Chris and Isaiah are podcasting simultaneously from the very same room!? To mark this momentous occasion, and the arrival of Episode Number Lucky 37, we're talking about Good Things! Positivity! Optimism! For one thing: why is it so much easier to focus on the negative?

 

Perhaps we learn more from bad experiences - but is life appreciation a skill we can actually acquire? And is there some universal truth behind "The Secret" or is optimism naïve? We also bid goodbye — for now — to our omnivorous Disclaimer (with a duet recitation!). Episode 38 will herald somewhat of a new dawn in our format, but don't worry - if circuitous navel-gazing is what you've come for, circuitous navel-gazing you shall have.

Full Show Notes »

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36. The Bad One

June 7, 2016

68 minutes, 33.2MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Dear Overthought Podcast Subscribers: This is not a drill. Things went seriously wrong this week, and, well, we didn't have time to make good. It's not that we didn't record. We did. It's just... Well, we all have off days — right?? Anyway. There are those among you with a macabre fascination for the depths of human neurosis. To you, and you alone, we offer up — with this caveat — a tangled, halting, and perversely meta cri de coeur uncomfortably reminiscent of an improvised open-mic homage to "Synecdoche, New York" performed by a pair of jet-lagged preteens with crippling social anxiety.

 

Sure, there's a compelling misquote or two. Yes, if you listen through to the end there's some pretty badass 1000-year old poetry juxtaposed against haiku that just couldn't be fresher (composed in real time, you guys). Aching to hear Mrs. Dalloway analyzed at length by someone who hasn't read it since college? Look no further. But, let us reiterate: it's no good. (Not Mrs. Dalloway — that stuff is gold... If memory serves.) We literally could not even get through the disclaimer, which was eventually abandoned on the wayside like a malfunctioning disposable camera.

 

But we'll make it up to you! Next week is Episode Number Lucky 37 and, for the first time ever, Chris and Isaiah will be recording In The Same Room. There's even a rumour it will be a Double Episode. Double Rainbow!! It's always darkest before the dawn?

Full Show Notes »

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35. Supporting Your Inner Child

May 31, 2016

73 minutes, 35.5MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

In the most extreme occurrence of invasive OUTBREED (Overthought Unrelated Tangent Based on Recent Experience, Event, or Discovery) ever recorded, Chris and Isaiah set out to discuss one topic and end up spending the entire hour on a very different one.

 

While Chris contemplates wading into a new market (NEW! YORK! CITY!), Isaiah confronts old anxieties in the audition room. What would happen if every bad thing we're secretly afraid of actually came true? Are risks and investments wasted if we can't show our best selves when it matters most? How can we convince that tender little turtle of creative individuality to stick out his head in a hostile environment?

 

Startling Admissions! Shocking Techniques! Real World Tales In Gritty, Unflinching Detail! Begin befriending your own inner child today, with the help of our combined sixty-four (64!) years of life experience....

Full Show Notes »

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34. Technique

May 24, 2016

69 minutes, 33.4MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Technique! What an orderly, comforting idea? As artists we methodically develop our technique with hard work and discipline, and it opens the door for us to fully realize our creative potential. Right? ........riiiiiight. The course of uvulas never did run smooth, as Shakespeare probably once said.

 

Singers so regularly hear that technique is our bedrock and our safety net that it seems obvious (to those of us living inside or own heads) that the path to consistency lies in closely monitoring and controlling the actions of our bodies. But singing is infinitely more than just the mechanics of bellows, reed, and resonance. And believing we can always achieve the desired results with just this limited view of "technique" is a recipe for frustration.

 

But can an overthinker ever learn to trust the less concrete forces that shape our art??? In this episode, the fellas spend an unprecedented amount of time on Highly Relevant tangents and preamble BEFORE even launching into the central theme, so if you hate fun, fast forward to 23:44!

Full Show Notes »

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33. Productivity

May 17, 2016

66 minutes, 32.1MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

"It's 4 p.m. and I haven't been a useful member of society yet," says Chris at the top of the show. When schedules are self-directed, the pressure to make our time count can be at its worst. Which could be fine, were it simply to motivate us and then dissipate. Unfoooortunately, the feeling that we're not getting enough done often persists after - and even during - productive periods.

 

In addition to causing general discomfort, this can interfere with our ability to recharge and with our capacity to enjoy the non-work side of life. Ironically, it can also actually impede creativity and productivity, leaving us skipping restlessly from one thing to the next in a vicious cycle of dissatisfaction. Why? Ask our pioneer ancestors, I guess.

 

Chris and Isaiah peel back the layers in what is likely an ongoing exploration of what drives us to be driven. PLUS EXCITING SPECIAL BONUS: stay tuned til the end for a mini-preview of one thing our productivity is producing these days — a show written by Isaiah and starring Chris (alongside a cornucopia of other Canadian talent) next January!

Full Show Notes »

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32. Follow Your Dreams

56 minutes, 27.2MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Are you an artist? Have you ever heard someone innocently say something like "Keep following your dreams!" and had an irrational attack of irritability? (If not, DO keep following your dreams! Passion gives your soul wings. #blessed). We know being a professional in the arts is a privileged position, but clichés about the magic and whimsy of the artist's life can still touch a nerve. Is it because we'll always be hungry to be taken seriously? Or does that free spirit from the TV commercials just bear no relation to our real lives? Chris and Isaiah unpack the reasonable and less-than-reasonable elements of this knee-jerk reaction, and in the process Chris composes a topical haiku - ON THE SPOT, you guys!

Full Show Notes »

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31. Disappointment

May 3, 2016

55 minutes, 26.8MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

We're all familiar with that sickest of grown-up burns: I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed. Well, we're all grown-ups now; how do we cope when life disappoints us? With personal failure we can always turn our focus to trying to do better next time, but what about when things just don't go out way through no fault of our own? Do we get mad? Or do we somehow try to stay Zen? Like, do we literally read half a book called "The Zen Way to the Martial Arts" [Penguin, 1992] and then try to convince everyone that we now practice The Way? Only one thing is certain: Overthought episodes now feature a wicked haiku sign-off.

Full Show Notes »

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30. Keeping Up With The Joneses

April 26, 2016

69 minutes, 33.2MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

The competitive spirit is pervasive and thinly veiled - even encouraged - in the world of music. (Is it that bad in fields outside the arts? We have only this uninformed assumption to offer: Probably.) It's possible that an attitude of oneupmanship - and the over-awareness of one's own merits and faults that goes along with it - can have positive effects on the lives and careers of people that are NOT us.

 

But we can't help but notice how much energy it sucks away from the creative headspace to always be trying to stay ahead of the next guy. (If we weren't quite so susceptible to this grubby little impulse, would we be better equipped to employ a healthy dash of competition to our advantage?)

 

Chris also takes the opportunity to raise a soul-plumbing question - "Who ARE the Joneses?" - and Isaiah opens and closes the episode with a recitation of classic haiku. Never a dull moment...

Full Show Notes »

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29. Perfectionism

April 19, 2016

66 minutes, 31.8MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Perfectionism: necessary condition for high-quality output, or pathological and counterproductive compulsion? FIND OUT HERE! Chris and Isaiah, two accredited perfectionists, would like to set the record straight. Where does perfectionism come from? It's certainly responsible for endless general dissatisfaction - and the abandonment of many worthwhile endeavours - but is it a valuable tool, or is it more trouble than it's worth? Can it be harnessed? Amid legitimately topical tales of craft projects gone wild, we also take our first Overthought-coined acronym out for a test spin. What could OUTBREED possibly mean? Find out heeeeeeere.....

Full Show Notes »

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28. Failure

April 12, 2016

70 minutes, 33.9MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Ever the contrarians, Chris and Isaiah turn from debunking the myth of Success to looking for the bright side of Failure. Everyone knows we're supposed to see our missteps as growth opportunities, but it's hard to embrace failure when it just feels so god-damned bad. Would it be easier if we could learn to excise the idea of failure from our emotional vocabulary entirely? Or is it the worst kind of academic nonsense to even suggest that, since failure - and our reactions to it - seems to be such an essential part of the human experience? Sigh. To test their theories, the fellas dredge up memories of Real-Life Times when things did not go so well, and Isaiah repeatedly demonstrates his fear of failing in even the tiniest ways as he squanders valuable listener time searching for Exactly The Right Word (when an imperfect synonym would do just fine).

Full Show Notes »

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27. Success

April 5, 2016

67 minutes, 32.6MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Success. Does the very word make you feel a little itchy? Certain tenors among us manage to project disdain for our rampant success-at-all-costs culture while still remaining vulnerable to its fundamental mantra: where you are is not good enough. Success means different things to each of us - and it's rarely something we can measure objectively. More often, it's an state of being, or a way of feeling, that we imagine will accompany our achievements in the future.

 

The tantalizing effect of the success-carrot luring us on can be that we are unable to ever truly metabolize successes we've already achieved. Instead, we continuously chase the phantom destination of success, certain that some out-of-reach goal will finally quench our thirst for more.

 

BONUS OFFER for our more success-hungry listeners: a REAL Cadbury Egg, sent through the mail, will reward the intrepid wordsmith who crafts a compelling compountmanteau (portmanteau of compound and portmanteau that I just made up) out of "Success" and "Sexsomnia", the topic of this week's Accident Moment of Awareness™.

Full Show Notes »

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26. The Plot

March 29, 2016

80 minutes, 38.4MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

We understand the world through the stories we're told, and we make sense of life's random nonsense by weaving our own personal narratives. In a meandering misadventure ironically titled "The Plot", Chris and Isaiah unpack some of the ways that storytelling affects our lives: from the real world's continually shifting objectives (Chris says, "Take your current age, subtract ten. What was the thing you really needed back then to be super happy? Do you have it now? Of course you do! Are you happy? NO!") to our tendency to believe that the lives of others - or indeed of our own potential selves - are less complex than our current situations (Isaiah thinks maybe some people's whole lives really DO happen in transfer filter).

 

Would it be easier to take our own lumps if more people's stories were lumpy? And how much does the way we assemble the narrative of our past affect the events of our future? Also included: Isaiah says "you know" a truly maddening number of times, and Chris wantonly slags Broadway's most popular musical!

Full Show Notes »

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25. Perception?

March 22, 2016

76 minutes, 36.7MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

How we see the world is not how the the world really is. But our perceptions have a pesky way of controlling our behaviour anyway. If you're colourblind, like Chris, you may not realize how much what you can't see affects your everyday interactions. If, like Isaiah, you insist on saying "daltonien" instead of "colourblind" (because you just found out that's how they say it in French and you "just think it's cooler,") you may not be fully aware of the distancing effects of your deep-rooted pretension.

 

Our personal defaults are never truly "neutral". But even if we try to account for pre-existing bias, can we ever know for sure if that inscrutable opera director REALLY thinks we're ne'er-do-wells? And is it worse to always suspect disdain than it would be to hear it spelled out? [See: Schrödinger's Critique].

 

Finally, in honour of Overthought's silver jubilee (25 episodes!) - and to cut down on constant mid-show disclaiming -we've implemented a content-flexible pre-show disclaimer: an ever-expanding compendium of the quirks, fallacies, and acts of self-effacement our listeners have come to expect and/or tolerate. It promises to eventually cannibalize the entire hour. Please enjoy.

Full Show Notes »

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24. Feelings

March 15, 2016

60 minutes, 29.1MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Feelings: The Worst? If you're anything like a certain pair of ponderous podcasters, you likely spend a good portion of your day thinking about and managing your Feelings. Is every person's life like this? Are some people just better at placating that perpetually squalling infant inside them? Or do they truly just not Feel So Hard?

 

Being an artist-type can *feel* like being a professional Feeler — but is there a greater purpose to all this relentless sensation? Or, if we were given the choice to do nothing and Just Be Happy, would we take it? Bonus material: that really great Martha Graham quote, and a brand new psychological condition, coined right here at Overthought!

Full Show Notes »

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23. Complaining & Negativity

March 8, 2016

68 minutes, 33.1MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Today's urban Facebook dweller is steeped in the culture of positive thought; there's no devil more insidious than Negative Energy. But is there no one left to defend the Lost Art of Complaint? Chris and Isaiah devote an hour to just such devil's advocacy.

 

Could there be a dark side to looking only on the bright side? Is it healthy to leave negative feelings suppressed and unexpressed? What about the sweet relief of hearing your troubles echoed in the troubles of a pal? You may doubt our suppositions, but admit it: you do kind of want to find out how a Complaint could possibly be like a Picasso.

 

NERD BONUS: Good Schumann vs. Bad Schumann - The Mystery Unlocked.

Full Show Notes »

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22. The Creative Space (II)

March 2, 2016

69 minutes, 33.6MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

In the second half of our deeply Uncomprehensive exploration of creativity, Chris and Isaiah try to nail down this slipperiest of concepts. What exactly Is creativity, and in what habitat does it flourish? Extreme stress? Meditation, procrastination, poverty? All of the above? And why does it only seem to come when we're not trying? Plus: who's going to volunteer to discuss the uncomfortably undeniable efficacy of certain chemical aids?

 

If you've ever written a novel in your head, chased a poem across a field, or sung to the universe, this is the podcast for you.

 

Bonus Feature: the introduction of our recurring silent foil, Straw Man Tom Hardy.

Full Show Notes »

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21. The Creative Space (I)

February 23, 2016

60 minutes, 28.9MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Every creative type has opinions to offer about the process of making something that Is Not into something that Is. In the first installment of our first ever two-parter, Isaiah and Chris apply their unique brand of madcap misquoting to the mystical realm of creativity.

 

Have you ever lived somewhere you absolutely Could Not create? Do you ever compulsively hack away at a project for hours on end because you just can't NOT? Is creativity really un oiseau rebelle, or should we all just buckle down and do the work?

 

Tune in this week to hear our very own Christopher Mayell, tenor, attempt to break the world record** for most conversational instances of the word "like" within ten seconds! **Previously held by Isaiah Bell, tenor

Full Show Notes »

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20. The Audition Room

February 16, 2016

62 minutes, 30.3MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Everyone loves auditions. If you don’t, you’re probably the only one, and you should feel ashaaaamed. Regular living humans often enjoy being scrutinized in airless, fluorescent-lit rooms by overworked figures of authority who hold one’s career (along with scratchy notepads) in their hands.

 

Isaiah devours the lion’s share of this week’s Overthought with the spine-chilling A Tale of Two Auditions. One day. Two auditions. A world apart. Hear all the grisly details, and shudder at those dreaded words: Would You Mind Going In Early.

Full Show Notes »

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19. Planning & Strategy

February 9, 2016

59 minutes, 28.7MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

This week, on a suggestion from a listener, Isaiah and Chris walk the tightrope of season planning and career strategy. Conflicting gig offers? Work-life balance? Try our handy formula! How to pronounce Anaïs Nin? We googled it so you don't have to!

 

In the most digression-filled episode to date, the fellas unmask the Plague of Isaiah's Nesting Tangents (PINT), and Chris points out a blooper from last week that might make you question everything you thought you knew... (About the editing of Overthought Podcast, specifically.)

Full Show Notes »

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18. Plateaus

February 2, 2016

61 minutes, 29.4MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Geologically, a plateau is nothing to whine about - especially when it's silhouetted against a nice sunset. But what about when that setting sun is a metaphorical one that represents the diminishing of your worth and vitality? Not so pretty any more.

 

Sometimes, what might seem like a relief - a break in the climb, a lull, the establishment of a routine - only serves to highlight pesky existential angst. Should we just be grateful for the constancy? Or is struggle what gives lives meaning?

 

Chris discusses strategies for jolting out of those stultifying ruts, while Isaiah, ever the amateur scientist, tests whether oolong leaves taste as good as the tea they make. SPOILER: they don't. And it's a waste of good oolong.

Full Show Notes »

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17. The Singer Personality

January 26, 2016

65 minutes, 31.5MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

In Episode 17 we discuss how the pressures and foibles of the singing life work to instill certain ubiquitous traits in many unsuspecting singers. Plus: Is the anti-diva the new diva? And where's the line between bitter and practical?

 

Opera singers get a bad rap in the world library of stereotypes; "diva" is almost synonymous with "singer", for one thing, and there's also this pesky rumour that we are impossibly fragile.

 

While the truth about any group of people is more slippery than can be conveyed with a single outdated pejorative, Chris and Isaiah believe** that, in general, the reputation is unwarranted. Neverthess, FEAR NOT! We've got a whole new set of stereotypes to erect in its place. **All findings anecdotal

Full Show Notes »

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16. Fear

January 19, 2016

55 minutes, 26.4MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Chris and Isaiah don't have all the answers. In Episode 16, they don't have any. It's all about Fear, capital F, and it may have been created just to make our listeners feel better about their own capacities to cope with minor seismic events.

 

As singers we might feel we've got some kind of handle on fear - thanks to overexposure to the nervous pressures of performing - but what about when real-life trauma threatens? Do the two kinds of fear have anything in common?

 

What's the difference between an impending natural disaster and the unremunerated cancellation of a concert gig? IT'S NOT A JOKE PEOPLE GOOGLE CASCADIA SUBDUCTION ZONE.

Full Show Notes »

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15. Being In The Zone

January 12, 2016

66 minutes, 31.6MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Being "in the zone" - that perfect balance of focus and relaxation that allows us to perform at our best - is not just a vague feeling. It's a powerful, concrete state of mind that many creative types recognize instantly. That said, it can still be incredibly elusive.

 

Accessing this sweet spot means shifting focus to the active present, and being unfettered by impediments like judgement, anxiety, and analysis. This is particularly burdensome to the Overthinker, for whom banishing unwanted thoughts is already Sisyphean.

 

For the singer, the challenges of the craft mutate daily along with our changing bodies. How to make The Zone one's home base? Is imagining the volume of one's big toe the answer? Or is it terror-driven tunnel vision the only reliable approach to achieving optimum creativity? FIND OUT HERE!* *Conclusive answers may not be available on this podcast.

Full Show Notes »

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14. Self Love

December 22, 2015

69 minutes, 33.3MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

This week we're talking about a sort of reverse Golden Rule: "Would you ever treat other people the way you treat yourself?" To many of us self-critical, people-pleasing types, cutting ourselves some slack feels like a sign of weakness; if we learn to treat ourselves gently, won't we sacrifice productivity? Or could love and understanding make us better at what we do? Sounds like commie talk, but at this point we'll try anything.

 

Brought to you by the Palomino Blackwing, ideal for those who prefer a soft, dark line. In keeping with the Overthought collaborative spirit, we've designated this space for your best "self-love" joke: [ ________________ ]. Thank you for your contribution!

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13. Selling Yourself

December 15, 2015

72 minutes, 34.8MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

We all know "that" colleague who has to turn every conversation into a promo for their upcoming show, or their side business, even though you're a friend and not a casting director.

 

Where is the sweet spot between being "savvy self promoter" and an annoying blow-hard? As contractors and sole proprietors, we need to let people know that we are good, and that we are busy, and sought-after. And we have to be responsible for getting our own work (agents or no agents). But how do we do this in a genuine way?

 

Perhaps the answer lies in effective networking. But what does that actually mean? How do you sing an audition, or have a conversation with a general director, in such a way that you seem "eager & energetic", but don't seem "desperate & irritating"?

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12. Mortality

December 8, 2015

75 minutes, 36.4MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

And now, for your amusement: Chris and Isaiah stare into the abyss of human mortality. We fill our days with music and with the business of being alive, but it's the human condition to wonder, "What's it all about?" How much of the creative life is fuelled by the idea of legacy? Will some piece of us live on when we've ceased to exist? When does a longing to be older turn into nostalgia for lost youth? Is the knowledge of death's inevitability present in our every action?

 

Our desire for meaning in life may go eternally unfulfilled, but your desire to hear a man yelling like a goat that yells like a man will not, if you listen through to the end. #YOLO

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11. The Opinions of Others

December 1, 2015

87 minutes, 41.9MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Are other people's opinions of us more important than literally any other thing? We were pretty sure the answer was "No, for sure no!" but, upon further discussion, we've arrived at "...maybe?" Why do put so much stock in what other people think? Caring too much can undoubtedly harm the integrity of our work (and our mental health) - but how can we learn to move past it? Featuring an unprecedented number of references to therapy.

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10. Illness

November 24, 2015

69 minutes, 33.5MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Does it get any worse than being sick when you have to sing? Chris and Isaiah manage to compound the unpleasantness - using only the power of their miiiinds! Featuring guest appearances by Guilt and Shame ("the other G&S"), and wistful praise of the placebo effect.

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9. The State of the Union

November 17, 2015

88 minutes, 42.4MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Is opera dying? Is it a poor fit for the culture and entertainment needs of the 21st century human? Do flagging audiences and house closures signify a need for innovation or a fundamental weakness in the art form? Chris and Isaiah discuss shared experiences as cogs in the (faltering?) opera machine, and offer opposing viewpoints on where the art form might be headed. Disclaimer: contains multiple disclaimers.

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8. Obsession

November 10, 2015

71 minutes, 34.3MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

In this episode Chris and Isaiah tackle the causality loop that can exist between obsession and creativity. For Isaiah, obsession is something that happens in response to an internal compulsion to create. For Chris, the obsessions can often be the source of the pressure itself, which leads to a creative output. Chicken and the egg, my friends. Wild and fantastic comparisons are drawn between obsession and mortality, and the urge for us all to create a legacy in order to escape death. For an obsessive person with a brain that's always thinking and processing at full steam, unwanted or unimportant thoughts sometimes come in and start to get processed, even if those thoughts are not helpful, or mentally healthy.

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7. The Animal Nature

November 3, 2015

68 minutes, 32.6MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

In this episode of 'Isaiah Misquotes Science', a discussion about instincts, in response to a singer who told Isaiah to always "go with your gut". But what if you literally can't hear what your gut is telling you, over top of all your mind traffic? Some people seem to be able to access this part of them more easily than others. But, apart from noticing & running away from lions, are there practical modern day situations where letting go, and following the gut allows us to do our best? Let's find out by overthinking the subject for an hour!

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6. Confidence

October 27, 2015

68 minutes, 32.8MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

Chris and Isaiah wonder if confidence a necessary "next step" that takes you from being an enthusiastic amateur to a true professional. If this is the case, then why are some highly skilled professionals so lacking in confidence, while some other less-talented folk can exude confidence so easily. What is the crucial distinction between confidence and arrogance? Surely, true confidence must come from a quiet and genuine spot from within. But then, to be truly confident, do we lose that part of us which seeks to strive for better?

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5. Irregularity

October 20, 2015

56 minutes, 27.1MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

In this discussion about life's irregularity (geographical, financial, social, mental), Chris & Isaiah attempt to determine if this irregularity is a necessary component in The Singer's Life. Is your creative mind sparked when your life is so transitory that you can't remember your current hotel room number? Why do we sometimes crave regularity, but then feel near-instant boredom when we finally experience it? Isaiah impulsively & briefly describes 9-5 jobs as "magical", and Chris forgets how to speak properly.

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4. The Career Tipping Point

October 13, 2015

58 minutes, 27.7MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

At some point, your career stops being defined by who you'll become, and starts being defined by who you are right now. Isaiah and Chris talk about this transition, as they've experienced it so far. How is it that we grow into self-sharing artists, no longer afraid of the adjudicator's evaluation? Does this evolution of career happen the same for most singers? Does it serve us well? Does this tipping point actually exist? Special background guest Connor chimes in on the jackhammer.

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3. The Long Game

October 5, 2015

55 minutes, 26.5MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

A frustration at work causes Chris and Isaiah to take time out from their regularly scheduled programming to discuss the idea of "the long game". It's often necessary, especially in the early stages of a career, to work for free or for cheap - or, in fact, to invest time and money of one's own - to gain experience and build a reputation. But how do we tell the difference between an opportunity to invest in one's future, and someone simply taking advantage?

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2. Repeating Success - Sequels and Seconds

September 27, 2015

66 minutes, 31.8MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

In the most meta episode ever, Chris and Isaiah talk about second times. What are the challenges we face when our job is to reproduce great performances with consistency? Can expectations unmake us? How can we harness our emotions - even our disappointments - to help us share something true with others every time we step onstage?

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1. Why Do We Do This?

September 16, 2015

59 minutes, 28.5MB | Direct Download | Show Notes

An engaging and entertaining talk about the rewards, sacrifices, pitfalls, and triumphs of a career in classical singing. As Chris and Isaiah discuss their experiences with self-doubt, opera contracts, creativity, and life's purpose, it gets pretty real.

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