LifeHow important is talent?

January 12, 2018by Cheryl Porter19

When I was younger, I was obsessed with talent: talented singers, talented dancers, talented writers, cooks, athletes, you name it.

There was something about talent that astonished me and especially the people who possessed it. I was sure that I was looking at future Grammy winners, future NBA stars, TV Personalities, and game-changers. But as I grew I older I noticed that hardly any of those extremely talented people I came across ever became the megastars, that in my head, I was sure they were destined to be. I was furious. I was confused. I was dumbfounded. Years, later I would understand why.

When I arrived to college—as a music major in voice—I was surrounded by talent. Everywhere there seemed to be talent in the most unlikely of places. Ordinary people would open their mouths and blow everyone away. I heard so many amazing voices that I began to question myself. I thought, what am I doing here with all these talented people? Something just wasn’t adding up.

One day, I was waiting outside the door of my voice teacher’s studio for my weekly voice lesson. I loved to come 15 minutes early to listen to the singer before me. The guy having his lesson was the star of the voice department; he was the guy who everyone knew would sing at the New York Metropolitan Opera House or La Scala in Milan one day.

Even though the door was closed, and the room was insulated, his voice boomed out of the walls like an explosion. His perfect tone, intonation, and perfect vibrato made me feel like a toad note by note. All I could do was listen in awe, in envy, and inadequacy. After ten minutes of my self-inflicted shame, the door opened. All I kept thinking was, how can I sing after hearing him?

As he left the room, I entered my teacher’s voice studio and uttered, “Oh my God! He’s going to be so famous one day. He’s going to be a star!” The response that came from my voice teacher’s mouth were the words that have rung in my ears every day since. He responded, laughing, “Oh Cheryl, he won’t be anything! You’re going to be the star. Because he’s lazy, and you are not.”

And the walls came crumbling down.

Even though I felt unworthy of his words and I was sure my voice teacher was crazy for thinking that one day I might actually be a star, I couldn’t believe that he didn’t see what I saw: that undeniable talent! That gift! And I started to doubt what I had been thinking all along: that talent alone, is everything.

In my years as a professional singer and vocal coach, I’ve seen some of the most talented singers fail miserably and some of the least talented singers reach incredible heights. I’ve seen so much talent that at times it makes me sick to my stomach because I can already see what my teacher saw so many years ago: that talent alone is nothing and it can also be a handicap because of the idea that talent is the only thing you need to become successful. However, the reality is that talent is just a start, a possibility, a glimpse of what could be, but most of all, talent is responsibility.

I’ve noticed that least talented people (like myself) are the ones that try the hardest, study the most, push themselves to the limit, squeeze out every ounce of their smaller gifts and succeed tremendously as a result. It is that lack of talent that can sometimes push you to do what seems impossible.

Talent is like a seed. Some of us are born with it, and some of us must find it on our own. But that seed, however big or small, will never grow unless we water it, nourish it, and give it love, sun, and light.

I’m no longer obsessed with talent. I’m obsessed with people who have taken that seed and turned it into the tree that towers over everyone. And that singer in the room before my lesson, he never became the star I thought he would become. He’s now a manager at Target.

Cheryl Porter


  • Gabriella Marino

    April 7, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    Ciao cheryl, sono davvero davvero felice di aver ricevuto la tua email di risposta, non vedo l’ora di iniziare le lezione e godermele fino alla fine ❤️


  • Stella von Schoneberg

    April 8, 2020 at 12:04 am

    Hello Cheryl!
    thank you 4sharing with us your so very important longtime experiences!
    You are an real great vocal teacher, because you care about 2make your singers great singers & improve them in a step by step singing method, which you have developed in all those years- if live with you physically or with this vocal method online/home! (i am sure you will go further & further! ;-))
    God bless you, i am your biggest fan! <3


  • sarah

    April 9, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Sure, I have proved this to be true. My daughter has been practising piano for 2 months consecutively, morning and evening. People cannot believe that a 7 year old can be play piano in such a short span of time. But they don’t know how disciplined she is for her to ask me every day to wake her up very early to practice an online tutorial


    • Sadiya

      May 19, 2020 at 2:03 pm

      How to join them please tell their vocal class


  • Marc S

    April 10, 2020 at 3:28 am

    This is so true! We can easily confuse SKILL and TALENT. If you can do something… but you can’t TEACH it… you can be TALENTED but you can’t be a teacher and you can’t be a Master…and you that lack of knowledge won’t even help you to know how to PROTECT the talent you have. Hard work and time are the only ways you get a SKILL and it’s the only way we can UNDO the wrong ways to do things that we have been taught, learned, or developed on our own. Your message made me remember… your course is not a MICROWAVE dinner … it’s one of those all-day slow cooking dinners you only get on Sunday… where the meat just falls off the bone… and you get the gravy from the drippings and the buttermilk biscuits… and if you try to rush it … you will just make mama angry or cheat yourself.
    I think you have REVERSED engineered Singing Talent… to be able to Rewire our brains and help us to form proper muscle memory so that our mind and body will respond like those “more talented” and at the same time giving us the HEART and confidence to push over the hard parts. My wife and I are on LESSON 1 and we are having FUN.

    When I was 12 years old I had a strange accident and lose my “Singing talent” and my ability to hear myself talk. With a lot of help and prayer, I learned to talk and even sing again. But recently I’ve noticed that I’m getting lazy and my speech is suffering. Whether you have Talent or not it’s hard to unlearn bad habits and cheats… My wife is here to sing … I’m here to improve my speech. Thanks for doing this ….for all of the TRIBE around the world!


  • Alex

    April 10, 2020 at 3:31 am

    This post is worth everyone’s attention. When can I find out more?


  • Ejiofor Grace

    April 15, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Wow Cheryl. You’re really an inspiration to me. Too bad I can’t join the classes. But I watch your videos with others and the lock down exercises. I really aspire to be like you someday. Someone who makes others see how great they are. Thanks for your move and I like the fact that you acknowledge God in what you do. God bless you really good Cheryl. You’re in my prayers. Thank you ma’am.


  • AJ

    April 17, 2020 at 5:27 am



  • breia

    April 17, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    i have watched your youtube videos mrs. mama cheryl and you are so amazing my passion is singing and i was like i want vocal lessons


  • Priscilla

    April 17, 2020 at 10:43 pm

    Very encouraging


  • Sabrin

    April 22, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    I would love to take some Vochal classes online because i live in a different country. I know i am good but i need practice, my voice cracks when it comes to deep voiced singing and other things. I need your help it would be great!!


  • Rinchui Horam

    April 23, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    This is so inspiring mama, I have been complaining all my life. I used to sing a lot while I was younger but later I doubted my talent, I kept comparing to my friends and eventually I feel like I was left out and I thought to myself that I will never be a singer but I was wrong, I can still learn from mama Cheryl and climb to the top. I am gonna give my best. thank you so much. may God bless you more!


  • Weslei

    April 27, 2020 at 4:52 am

    Adorei ler esse artigo. O conteúdo apresentado e desenvolvido abriu muito a minha parte, ainda mais quando comecei a ver os vídeos do canal da Cheryl.


  • Gabriela

    May 2, 2020 at 4:48 am

    an experience that life teaches us


  • Paulina

    May 2, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Ciao Cheryl!
    Thank you for this post! It mirrors beautifully what is written in a book “Talent is overrated”. At the end of the day, what counts is hard work!
    Love xx


  • Julie

    May 4, 2020 at 5:47 am

    I also believe that talent is nothing without hard work! People keep telling me that there’s nothing I can’t do, that I am gifted..but I’m actually working really hard !!! I’m a big fan of you, I love you so so much! Watching your videos just brighten up my days, you are a burst of sunshine!!! I’m so excited to take your course! 😀


  • Lauren

    May 13, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    SO well said, and so true. Your writing is as moving and inspirational as your singing and teaching! But I beg to differ with your sentiment regarding your own talent…which is clearly limitless. You are also a talented healer….you give so many of us the permission we silently seek to express what lives inside. As I see it, encouraging-guiding-supporting others to unblock their self-expression is the greatest GOD-given superpower. ♡


  • Zebaze Joe bryan

    May 20, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    Cheryl my tree is growing .. come take my hand and let’s take that tree to God above… I found myself in you



    May 23, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Isso que eu chamo de uma injecao de ânimo e superação para aqueles que não acreditam em seu talento ,como eu.
    Deus abençoe pelas lindas palavras!!


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