Discovering Your Authentic Voice With Davin Youngs
These days, it can be so easy to get inundated by the rapid change happening in the world that we end up forgetting who we are. Bringing you back to your center to discover your authentic voice, Katherine Twells invites Davin Youngs, a Somatic Voicework teacher and the founder of Davin Youngs Voice, in this episode. Working to move people into self-discovery and elevation, Davin offers us some much-needed insights, especially as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the great social changes happening around us. He shares with us the ways we can stay present at the moment and maintain a mindset of discovery. He helps us find harmony in a changing world by tapping into our authentic and unique voice, courageously going to the path where we can confidently take risks and flourish.
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Discovering Your Authentic Voice With Davin Youngs
Finding Harmony In A Changing World
In this episode, I am talking with a longtime friend at the Summit, Davin Youngs. Davin is a singer based in Chicago. He’s an incredible singer, but he is so much more. His work spans from performative to healing and is intended to move all humans toward positive growth and change. He creates one of a kind sonic immersions using his voice, sound healing instruments, looping devices, and electronic beats. He’s had the fortune of offering these experiences for diverse audiences, everyone from our community at the CMO Summit to the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, the Sedona Yoga Festival to HealHaus in Brooklyn. In each of these experiences, Davin utilizes improvisation and energetic guides in order to layer sounds and move listeners into a container for self-discovery and elevation, which is pretty incredible. Having worked as a private voice coach for more than fifteen years, Davin is the Founder of Davin Youngs Voice.
He is a Somatic Voicework teacher. He’s served not only as a teacher but a coach and a guide for prominent rap, punk, musical theater and gospel artists on the stage and screen. While his resume is incredibly impressive, it’s about who Davin is in the world and how he is walking his own unique, authentic path to bring his gifts forward. He’s the kind of person who wants to help others, not only find their own voice but their sense of center in a world that is dynamically changing and getting faster and faster as we go. As we navigate COVID and continued social change, Davin offers some valuable insight for staying present in this moment and finding ways for all of us to maintain a mindset of discovery. With that, please enjoy the conversation with the talented Davin Youngs.
—Davin, I am happy to have you on the show. Thank you for taking the time.
It’s great to see you and hear your voice. I’m excited to connect.
We were talking before when we came out there and did our inaugural podcast with you a few years ago. We also have a whole history together from the summit that we’ll talk a bit about. It’s great to have a few years go by, all the changes, and to be able to revisit your story. Thank you for doing that.
It’s a constant evolution.
Let’s ground everyone. In the beginning of the show, I will always do the bio and give people a background of who you are and what you do, but there’s always a lot more interesting nuggets of the story and the journey when people tell their own origin stories. If you would ground everyone on you and how did you get from where you were to where you are right now.
My initial introduction to your community is thematically where I still am, and that is someone who is interested in voice, singing and sound as a modality for transformation, change and healing in people’s lives. The origin of my story is that I grew up singing. I’ve always loved to sing and singing has been an essential part of who I am, but as it happens in life, it is a twisting and winding road. I intended to perform from a young age, but I landed as an adult in a number of different places. For the longest amount of time, I’m working one-on-one, privately coaching people around singing and the voice. When you met me, I was venturing into the world of bringing groups of people together to sing through improvisation. That was my initial introduction to the summit. It’s literally walking into the space and with some reluctance, not on my behalf, getting everyone to sing together. When you saw me, I had leaned in the direction of exploring, singing and sound specifically as a modality for creating healing, meditation and holistic practices to becoming more fully realized, integrated human beings.
In reminiscing about those early days, this is a show that a lot of business people are attracted to. We share it within Coca-Cola. Similar to that year at the summit, it’s like, “Why are we talking about singing and harmonization?” Everything I know about you, Davin, has not just been about sound. That’s the foundation of you, but it’s been about this authentic courageous path that you’ve been on. You taught me that by taking that risk, that gear in the summit. I was nervous about the outcome of that. We all witnessed that it was a beautiful outcome and people did come together in an amazing way. You were in that space working with unlikely audiences in the corporate arena to create harmonization, but then you wanted to pivot into something that required more courage, to go into a new and different direction. Can you share how that came about for you when you decided to make that pivot?Anyone who opens certain doors in their lives realizes that once you open them, you can't close them. Click To Tweet
Anyone who opens certain doors in their lives realizes that once you open them, you can’t close them. I appreciate it when people like you reflect back to me about that journey of authenticity because that’s my desire. Somewhere along the way, I started to try to follow that flow. The practicality of that is I had this private voice studio where I was working with clients. It did well and it was a success here in Chicago. I came to a point simultaneously with that and the work that I began to do with the summit, which was around bringing groups into collective singing experiences as a means of connecting, and as a means of getting people to have some fun and joy in their corporate spaces.
The truth of the matter is I got burned out. I had this overwhelming feeling that I was tired in a way that sleep wasn’t going to fix. It was a residual effect of hustling for a long time. Even though I was doing these things that I loved to do, there was a joy that became absent in them. Even though I could say intellectually like, “This is my jam.” I love singing. I love all things voice, but I wasn’t excited to do it. At the beginning of 2018, I decided that I needed a break. I did what I called my radical sabbatical. I started to warn people but as of June of 2018, I emptied my calendar completely.
My thought was I would take three months. This wasn’t without a lot of inner turmoil, struggle, therapy and talking with friends. I didn’t suddenly arrive on this. It was a long time coming. It was that feeling of I can’t ignore the fact that my soul and my heart are tired, and I need to honor those things. Once I had admitted that to myself, there was no other option than to take that time. In that three months off, it’s hard to describe that because I never in my life felt simultaneously lost and found at the same time. I would wake up and have days that I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself, but then I had the space to create in that time.
Once I was able to get into some patterns of making and creating specifically around music and singing, I landed on this idea of using my voice and sound as a tool to hold space for others who also were tired, struggling, and suffering with the realities of life and being human. I started to use the tools of improvisation that we use together in the summit and the space. I learned about instruments associated with healing and meditation like the crystal singing bowls, gong, bells, shakers and rattles.
I started to create these meditative soundscapes by myself in my studio. I eventually develop the confidence to share them with others and thinking about holding space. I had given myself the opportunity to rest and be. That inevitably encouraged me to see if I could give and offer that to others still around the same themes, voice, presence, authenticity and mindfulness. That’s where you find me. I was still teaching workshops on voice once I landed back, but I pivoted. I didn’t go back to the private studio space. At first I was planning to do three months, but September rolled around and I was like, “I’m not ready for it.” Here I am a few years later and I am again working with private clients, but everything looks completely different just because I took that time.
There are a couple of things that I want to mirror back to you on this. It’s not only courageous to pivot into new and unknown directions, but it takes courage to put art into the world. This is you, your voice and your creation. It’s very different than, “I’m going to take a different direction and join a different group or company.” This is Davin, and you’re putting yourself into the world. That takes a huge amount of courage. I will encourage everyone to take the time and listen to some of your soundscapes. They’re amazing and offer a place of respite, healing and centering for all of us.
Making A Change, Surfing Through Uncertainty
This was all pre-COVID when you made this change. COVID has put all of us into periods of reflection, adversity, and different things for different people. For some people, it’s been health issues. For others, it’s been economic. It might be having to come to terms with your relationships in your life or what you’re trying to do. There’s been a huge amount of contemplation. A lot of times people say, “I can’t change because I have to support my family. I’ve spent too much time doing what I’m doing.” There’s all this self-talk that says we can’t do it. What would you say to people who would say, “I can’t make that type of change?”
I’m tempted to answer in paradox. The first thing I want to say is you can’t not. Change is the inevitable truth of who we are. We can lead ourselves to believe that there’s a strict path that we’re stuck in or that we have to follow, but that’s a delusion. You can know that as simply stopping for a moment and following your breath, and know that breath won’t be the next one. There’s this inevitable shift that occurs. My paradoxical answer though is if you keep doing what you’re doing, you will find yourself frustrated. That’s another inevitable truth as well. This idea of stuckness is both a myth and reality. The reality of it is dissatisfaction, dis-ease and discomfort. It’s this inability to acknowledge the truth of change.
That’s lofty language but I stand by all of this. For me, one of the things that I’m struggling with around COVID specifically is it is highlighting how fragile and how inevitable we are in terms of our presence in this universe. We’re here, we shift and we change. We think we have control and understand what’s coming next. It’s not like that. There are these moments in life that highlight that, and this is certainly one of the biggest of most of our lives. I struggle because I’m thinking to myself like, “This is wild. Also, Davin, is this any more wild than before March or February?” Was I that naive to think that I could have predicted? That’s the gift of this moment too. It’s this illumination of our impermanence.
If we can see that for what it is, imagine the possibility. For all the craziness, unexpected turbulence, turmoil and suffering that has happened, what is the converse possibility? What is the other side of that? Can we wake up every day and consider life in those terms? That’s where I find myself. Full disclosure, most days I think everything’s going to blow up. I can speak to this intellectually, but it’s a real pendulum swing over here, and it swings hard. I do believe that this could be the most exciting time to be alive, as well as the most difficult.
We can all relate to the pendulum, but I’m glad I got what you said, Davin. You articulated that in the most beautiful way. I’m still in thought about what you said. It is true as I reflect on conversations, not just with what I’ve had on this show with other guests, but in my life. As we’ve been talking to people about the change and at Coke, we’re going through a major reorganization and transformation. There are layers of change. You get into these conversations with people about certainty. We want certainty and that control. You’ve talked about the delusions and the illusions of controlling. We had no more idea of what was going to happen pre-COVID than we do now.
Even as we talk about returning to “normal,” what was normal before? Distraction, crazy pace where we even present to each other, that burnout dynamic, and the consumption of the planet. All of these things that this grand stop has allowed us to contemplate, “How do we step forward from here? Where do we move forward from here?” Let’s expand a bit further on this idea of uncertainty and even how to navigate it because the pendulum is real. What you said is beautiful and listening to you, I think, “Davin has got this figured out. He’s got this wired.” None of us do, we all have moments of panic, moments of calm, and it keeps switching around. How would you guide people on surfing the wave of uncertainty through all of this?
First, it’s conversations like this to recognize that there is a wave and that we’re all on it. My number one piece now is around connecting with others. There’s an inevitable shift that happens within when we can converse, share and connect. I did an event prior to the shelter in place here in Chicago where I’m located. It was early March. It was the week before things got crazy. The theme of that event was about fostering connections. I had people have conversations with each other about things that I had never done before, and it felt like a premonition. I was feeling that in the air around this.
What happened? Suddenly, we weren’t able to connect in ways that we were used to. There’s a trauma that comes with that, even in work environments. The idea that a lot of people are relieved to not have to go to the office, a lot of people are traumatized by it because there was identity, habit, pattern and ritual around that. When that was stripped away, we owe it to ourselves to acknowledge that and look for ways in which we might be able to re-imagine that in our lives. I don’t think we can do that by ourselves. We have to continue to do that together through conversation, connection and community.
It’s recognizing the wave and connecting with others about the wave. The riding part is the hard part, but I don’t think it’s as hard as we make it. We just have to ride it. If we paddle in the opposite direction, that’s when we start to become fatigued and that’s when we start to feel hopelessness, sickness and despair. What that has meant is not doing things the way that I used to do them just for the sake of doing them. I’ve had a lot of inner tension around this. A lot of people who do events or create spaces where people gather, whether it be music or art or even fundraising or whatever. A lot of people that live in that world are struggling to figure out, “What do we do now?” The online space seemed excited on siding on the front end. There were three weeks that everyone was glued to their computer and they were watching everything live on Facebook.
That dissipated fast because there’s a fatigue that comes with that. There’s exhaustion. What do we do? I still don’t know the answer to that. We’re a few months in of me not being able to do a lot of this stuff that I was doing. Pretty much every day, I feel hopelessness around that because I think, “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” I also feel a clarity that I’m not willing to shove a square peg through a round hole and move it outside. I don’t have any judgment for others that are trying any of that or whatever. It’s cool to be clear with yourself around self-care in terms of, “I can’t do that. I can’t do what I used to do.” What does that feel in my body? What does that feel in my interactions with others? How can I sit, nurture and be good to that? In the meantime, can I be patient and wait for what emerges in light of that? It’s only been a few months and it feels like a long time.
Look how much we’ve changed in a short amount of time. One other thing I want to acknowledge is that I’m in a position of privilege to even be able to say these things. There are a lot of people that are trying to make certain things work. If you have the luxury, if you have the opportunity to slow your roll, there may have been some driving forces in your life, business, company and team that they don’t work anymore. It might not be about the bottom line at this moment in time because it simply doesn’t work that way. That’s been a big piece for me, how I make money. It has totally shifted and I’m just an individual. I’m a microcosm of the macro. I can only imagine what those who run multimillion-dollar budgets are considering, but the bottom line is it all changed. It’s not the same. As of 2020, everything shifted for you. The longer that you try to make it be the same, the more frustrated I guarantee that you will be. We see that both in our personal and professional lives.Change is the inevitable truth of who we are. Click To Tweet
Finding Connection In The Pandemic
There’s so much in what you said, Davin. The resistance piece is big. It’s interesting, the personal resistance that we bring into situations. We don’t want it to be the way it is or we want something that when we want a different outcome. The more we can go with the flow, it’s powerful. It’s easier said than done for a lot of people because we hold that resistance close. The other thing that you talked about was that event that you held before COVID hit. Similar in our situation, I stepped into a new role. Ironically, the official start date was March 16th, 2020. It was an interesting day to start a new job when California shut down. Prior to that, we pulled everybody together in our zone to have a meeting. Because of technology, we had gone to a lot of online things before COVID began. I had the sense that we were losing this primal need to connect as humans.
We did the silent disco and we had fun together because part of going to the office experience or any workplace is you get your work done, but it’s the water cooler conversations or the luncheon conversations or noticing someone’s going through something, and you go, “Come to my office. Let’s talk about it.” When everything is online, you start losing those opportunities to bump into each other. I think about my kids, online school. They’re starting to return to school, but to be with other teenagers, to be able to have this socialization, it’s inherent in us. I wonder, Davin, when we return to being able to be together if we’ll appreciate it on a whole new level, a homecoming to be able to hug each other and be with each other again. What do you think about that? This deprivation of that connection now is a trauma in many ways.
Undeniably so. I think about singing with other people. The irony of singing is it’s the worst thing that you could do in light of COVID-19. There are all these studies that say that singing because all these mists come into the air from your mouth and it lingers up to 24 hours. Choirs are silent and groups of people, my improvised singing and gathering that we would have weekly, it stopped completely and silent. God help me when I get to sing with other people because I’m sure I won’t be able to because I’ll be in tears all the time. I’m going to come back to this idea. I hear you on everything and we have every reason to fear the impact. I wonder if this is a call to intentionality, if it’s a call to connect with people that you intend to connect to rather than you bump into. Who are your coworkers that you wouldn’t have bumped into at the water cooler, that you have an opportunity now to see inside of their homes?
There’s different information available now. We have to hold the sadness and the loss as a real thing and know that’s not the whole of the story of this moment. I’m not Pollyanna about this. It sucks but what if this is the window in time to hone-in on our relationships? The people that were lingering that didn’t belong in your sphere, have they fallen aside? Some have in my world. The people whom you didn’t know that you would have such a profound connection with, but you’ve been able to connect with through this time, have they revealed themselves? I’ve seen some. If we can continue to engage in this idea of the effort of connection, the intentionality of connection, businesses are going to have to work extra hard at connecting with their customers.
When they do, the authenticity of it is going to be even more pronounced. They’re not going to have happened upon you, they’re going to have sought you out. My partner owns a grocery store. He only opened it in July of 2019. Who would have thought that he would have opened the one business that would flourish in the time of COVID-19? It’s a corner store in the heart of Downtown Chicago. It’s a small specialty grocery. One of the things that have been amazing to watch is first, there was all this tension around the grocery space, masks, etc. How many people do we let in the store? Can they bring their own bags in?
It was a nightmare. It was crazy, but then now it’s settled in. People come to the grocery store all the time because they’re not going to restaurants like they were. Behind masks, we were joking that there are people that we don’t know what the bottom half of their face looks because we’ve only met them with half of their face covered, but there are relationships building. We feel the impact of them through social media because people are saying like, “This market is such a great place to be. They’re kind. They open the door for you.” There are all these physical ways in which we connect in these spaces that are different now because we’re not able to connect verbally as easily. I see these moments. It’s not that this is better than before, but this is different. This is the new different thing and when you can recognize it, when you can be present for it, there’s a lot of joy to be seen and to be had in that, despite everything else that’s happened.
This whole idea of intentionality. I even think about the change in pace. Pre-COVID, I would be commuting to work, I would be taking the kids to school, I would be traveling on planes. How many of us have gotten into that conversation like, “We need to catch up. We’ll catch up.” We don’t catch up because that white space in between is limited. Suddenly, without all that travel and commuting, I know I’ve found additional space to get on Zoom calls with friends I haven’t talked to in a while. There have been ways to connect new. I do see that. This whole idea of reframing, you reframed it for me. There is always more to a story and there are all the parables about, “Is something good or bad?”
We decide if something is good or bad, and on the outset, it could certainly seem to be a bad thing. Hidden in that is always the growth, is always the new opportunities to emerge into something different. That’s the nature of change. Nature teaches us that. There’s a constant cycle of new things forming and other things falling away. Here we are creating something new and having old ways fall away, which is exciting and fascinating. Not to belittle the challenges, but to somehow know in that, there’s a seed of possibility that is taking shape. It’s going to emerge into something new and different when we get out of this, however long it takes before things change.
The practice is noticing it. If you’re a leader, if you’re someone who holds space for other people, try to hold space for both. Not coming into the environment and bringing the suckyness of this as the singular story, because someone might have had a new opportunity opened up for them, or trying to shine everything up. I laugh because I’ve had a number of people reach out to me trying to book events for the future. I’m not willing to do it. Not because I don’t think they will happen, but I don’t know when, and even further, I don’t know when I’ll be willing. I admire people that are trying to do that thing because I know that you have to. You can’t stop and not, but at the same time, I put a date on the calendar for next June 2021 that I’m possibly going to do something. I’m also fully prepared for that to happen. Both are great positions and postures to be at in this moment.
The other part of it, we’ve been clear to acknowledge the hard parts, but I have met people who have been the benefactors. They’ve been in a niche or a spot where their life has improved from this. Something has happened to change, and they’ve felt guilty for feeling happy. They’re like, “I am doing well and I feel guilty about it.” This patchwork quilt of stories, there are stories that are tragic, happy, just like life at any given time. There’s a wedding and a funeral. There are things that are always happening and coexisting at the same time that is joyful and difficult. That is the nature of all things.
There was a spiritual teacher by the name of Anthony de Mello. He was a Jesuit priest and he used a metaphor of the symphony as we’re talking about music with you. He said, “If you think about life as a symphony. All the instruments are playing, and there are high notes, low notes, and all of that. Can we not embrace everything? Our hearts are made for incredible joy and our hearts are also made to experience that pain, but that is because we love, engage and care.” This whole idea of letting it all be as it is without resistance is a powerful place to be able to stand in this present moment with whatever you’re feeling. It could be the good or the bad, and to do that for other people too as well.
That is the best self-care that we can offer ourselves. It’s acknowledging the truth of what is and not resisting, and telling ourselves it’s okay to have hard days. I’ve been creating these guided sound meditations. These practices of having an accompanying soundtrack that’s only with my voice. The one that I created as ending good meditation is stolen from another teacher who I’m sure took it from someone else. The mantra is it’s okay to feel this. It’s funny because that’s resonated with people. I even wrote the text for it prior to all of this going down. The practice is simply letting yourself call up a situation or something that feels difficult.
When you start to identify how that makes you feel, either in your body or in your heart or in your mind, simply repeating to yourself, “It’s okay to feel this.” It has a way of defanging the beast. When we resist feeling, we often grow the beast in our heads. It becomes solid. It becomes a fixture, something that never was. When people say things to me like, “I can’t wait until we get back to normal.” They talked to me about these uncertain times. That language, I noticed that because I’m thinking to myself, that’s the language of resistance. That’s the language longing for that which isn’t, and that’s human. That’s normal but I’m going to keep track of myself in latching onto some of that too. It ultimately pulls me in a direction that’s not here now.
Do you hear that a lot from your conversations, Davin? If you were to think about themes of the conversations you’re in now, how much of it is that level of resistance? Have some of the people in your sphere been able to share some wisdom with you about that? I think everyone’s in different places. That’s the pendulum swing.
People that make music are in trouble right now. It feels hopeless. My community has a number of people in it that make music. The reason I’m saying that as a response to your question is there’s a lot of resistance and rightfully so because this is a trying time. Do I go back to school? Do I give up the whole thing? Am I supposed to be making music and creating this whole time? Musicians release albums, and what did they do with those albums? They go out into the world and they tell people about those albums, and they perform those. Now they put it online and it gets played. That’s all that happens. It fizzles after that. You’ve spent years working on this album. I say that because I’m working with some private clients that are in that space. I’ve had a specific discussion around that. There’s this whole discussion in record labels around, “Do you essentially throw the album away?”When we resist feeling, we often grow the beast in our heads. Click To Tweet
It is a crazy thing to think by putting it out into the world. The bottom line is if you make money, you aren’t going to do it in those traditional senses. There are lots of resistance rightfully so. I don’t know the alternative to that. I also have a number of people in my life who I consider to be mentors and teachers who are much older than I am. They are people that I would look to and I would say, “What did we do? What was this like before?” I’m observing that those people don’t know because it is an unprecedented time. Most of us have not experienced anything that looks or sounds anything like this. Some of my teachers and my mentors and people with the wisdom of age, they don’t know what to do either.
What I observe is that a lot of them are much more comfortable with the slowness of trying to figure it all out. That’s what I’m trying to lean into is allowing for the resistance to be, but observing in some others that this is a process. This is a change. If you want to use the wildfire example in California, which I know is present for you. When the forests burn, they don’t immediately grow back. There’s this time of great despair where everything you look around is charred. Shortly thereafter you start to see some little green buds. The bottom line is you got to wait the year because the season has to move.
It has to be the next full round of seasons before you get the full regrowth. I remember being in California after one of the big fires that then yielded the most incredible bloom that I had seen in my lifetime. I remember driving through Malibu and the whole sides of the mountain were just flowers. That didn’t happen right away. It doesn’t suddenly shift. If you are wise and you’ve been around and you’re able to remember, that’s the case that if we sit, there is an inevitability of a bloom, but it might not happen in the timing that you want it to.
Being In The Space Of Your Voice
There’s that control thing again, “No, I want it at this timeframe.” As you talk about the music industry when you think about someone makes an album, they go on tour, and you get that visceral, the crowds, the people. They are sharing in that song. They’re together. It’s such an intense experience. I recall when I first met you and we were talking about doing the harmonization at the summit and bringing that into place, there was all this science behind when you sing together, your heart resonate. You start to fall into the same pattern with each other. There’s a collective experience that happens. Suddenly now, without that, as people go online and listen to a soundscape that you put out or something else, does that sound affect us through a digital means in the same way that it would if it was happening live time? How should we think about that?
No, it’s not the same thing. Anytime sound, music or voice comes through a medium it’s being altered or shaped. That being said, you and I are vibing off each other right now with our voices. I’ve done workshops through Zoom. I’ve taught voice privately and coached voice privately for ten years through Skype and now Zoom. I took all my own private lessons with my teacher through that. It is incredibly successful if you are aware that the medium is different, but it’s not the same. Being in the space with your voice, it would buzz me and vibrate me. It would make me feel a certain way your physical and energetic presence. It would have an impact on me that I can’t get through this.
We couldn’t hug after our conversation. There are all these things, it’s different. I’m confident that you and I will be in the same space at some point in time together again and we will feel that. Right now, we can’t and that’s what it is, but there’s good news. You have your own voice. You can make your own sound and you have the opportunity at any given time to interact with that and notice that. There are times in our lives where we have to go inward so that when we do go outward, we’re better equipped to handle it in a way that serves everyone, that serves all of the people that we come into contact with. A lot of the singers that I work with, we’re working on finding authenticity of expression, or even the non-singers.
The people I work with that are interested in exploring their voice as a tool for healing, transformation and change in their lives. This is about a time of going inward and exploring your own voice, exploring its nature so that when you do have the opportunity to be with others, you show up as a more fully realized expresser of sound. That’s where I see things right now. It’s going to feel good to go to a show and feel the thought of the bass and be in a little bit too close proximity to people.
Hopefully, with deprivation of that comes appreciation of things that you may have taken for granted. It also sounds like an opportunity for the development of our own self-reliance and giving ourselves what we might have expected others to give us. Through that self-reliance, bringing that back out into your space, whether it’s through your leadership, friendship, or a performance where you can give even more, because you’re much more grounded and centered from that experience of isolation or self-reliance that you’ve developed over time. This has been such a healing conversation I feel for the people reading this. We’ve talked about courage, trust, vulnerability, acceptance and all the things that we are being asked right now to embrace. I’ll ask you one last question that’s open-ended and broad as you reflect on all of your life, whether it’s recent or earlier. What is some wisdom that you would share with the people reading that has been some of the most powerful or transformative wisdom for you in your life?
I have a voice teacher and early on, she said to me, “To know the sound is to make the sound.” I find myself repeating that a lot to people because it’s profound in terms of its scope of what it’s referring to. In voice lessons, what that means is there are different parts of our voice and there are different ways in which it functions. You can think that you’re making one type of sound and someone else can go, “Do you know that sounds like that.” You go, “No, it sounds like this.“ They go, “No, what if you try it this way?” You make it and you go, “That’s different.” That’s the technical voice context of that. This is profound in that I’m going to relate it to compassion.To know the sound is to make the sound. Click To Tweet
I was thinking about compassion in terms of our ability to offer it to all other people and living beings. The reason I say that is I’m of the belief that to those who we struggle to offer compassion, they are a direct reflection of the ways in which we struggle to offer it to ourselves. The theme of our conversation is such that this is about coming back to the reality of our situation, and offering ourselves compassion around it because it’s the only way we can fully connect with others. If you’re not able to say to yourself, “It’s okay to feel this,” I promise you won’t be able to say it with sincerity and authenticity to others.
If you’re not willing to look at your job and acknowledge the fact that it’s all different now, everything’s different, everything’s shifted, everything’s changed, or that your company might not succeed, or that your company might flourish. If you can’t go in those places, in those minds, if you can’t make those sounds, you can’t know those sounds. It’s important to me that I serve as a vessel or a catalyst for people to find space and get permission to go there with themselves. Not because they should be selfish and all about themselves, but because it’s the only way that they can effectively serve, lead, guide, enable and lift up others. This is the only way to do it. That to me is the way in which I hope to live my life. It’s why I sing and do everything that I do. It’s to show up and be as fully human, as fully present, and as fully authentic as possible, knowing that it’s always shifting and it’s on a journey so that I can empower and help others to do the same thing.
Davin, I can tell you from our path together that you have shown up as authentic, soulful, real, genuine and courageous in all the things that you do. You’ve been a teacher to me in that respect. I have to tell you that this conversation is so gratefully received by myself and by everyone who has read your wisdom and insight. If there is an opportunity for all of us right now, it is to be able to stand inside that humanity that we’ve all been given, and to allow every beautiful aspect of that to flourish. It’s like that beautiful mountain in Malibu after the fires. Only through the fire do we become this greater, more expansive, more beautiful version of ourselves. Thank you from my heart for sharing everything. I appreciate your friendship. I appreciate all the wisdom that you shared. Thanks, Davin.
Thank you. I love connecting with you and I love the community that you’ve created. Onward and upward from here.
Indeed. Thank you.
About Davin Youngs
Davin Youngs is a singer based in Chicago. His work spans from performative to healing and is intended to move all humans toward positive growth and change. He creates one of a kind sonic immersions using his voice, sound healing instruments, looping devices, and electronic beats. He has had the fortune of offering these experiences for diverse audiences from our community at the CMO Summit, to the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, to the Sedona Yoga Festival, to Heal Haus in Brooklyn. In each experiences, Davin utilizes improvisation and energetic guides to layer sounds and move listeners into a container for self-discovery and elevation.
As a teacher and coach, Davin leads groups and individuals into deep experiences with the healing power of their voice. A student of Rhiannon, Jeanie LoVetri and the Sage Academy for Sound Energy, Davin knows first hand the radical and transformational power of the voice, what he calls the “essential sound.” He is the creator of Spontaneous Chant™, his signature method for Source inspired improvised singing, VOXUS, an improvised singing team-building experience and Chicago Circle Singing, a community singing gathering.
Having worked as a private voice coach for more than 15 years, Davin is the founder of Davin Youngs Voice. He is a Somatic Voicework™ teacher, and has served as a teacher, coach and guide for prominent rap, punk, musical theater and gospel artists on stage and screen.
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