Capability, the ability for someone to perform at their highest level, is made up of two key ingredients; skill and will. Insufficient skill and you’re unable to perform the technical actions required in the role. Insufficient will and you’ll have no desire to put your skills into action. If you have neither then you’re in the wrong industry or doing the wrong job.
Potential talent, in any industry, requires a great deal of capability to make it from ‘could be’ to ‘will be’. The desire to develop your skills, and then the motivation to do something with them, and be accountable for how you use them, is critical.
The conversion from ‘potential’ to ‘actual’ is a huge ask in any industry but perhaps more so in the music industry. And most definitely in the singer-songwriter category. To succeed, unless you’re bankrolled by a major label, potential talent needs a considerable amount of diverse skills; song-writing, music theory, vocal delivery, stage presence, creativity. And then they need to apply them and make things happen.
Singer-songwriter is the wrong field to get into if you’re looking for the easy life.
Jason Allan, Liverpool’s 21-year-old singer-songwriter, certainly has the potential to reach high up the pop charts. If he wants to. And if he makes sacrifices. Accessible, confident, and blessed with the looks often needed to succeed in pop, Allan passes a lot of pop’s entry level tests. He exceeds the tests by having considerable flourishing’s of the right skills; recent singles ‘If I could’ and ‘Tell me’ both suggest his song-writing is progressing and tonight’s show demonstrates strong stage performance and vocal delivery skills.
But there’s work to be done. And it’s potentially on the will side. Because for all of the nice pop hooks and moments of synth-heavy groves (‘Refrain’ standing out) it’s the intimate ballads which make the night (‘Scars’, ‘Runaway with my heart’). And there aren’t enough of those.
A good all-rounder, what tonight potentially proves is that Allan is strongest when slowing things down and letting his voice become the central focus of the show. Soulful, intimate, and appearing vulnerable, it’s the slower moments of the evening which draw out Allan’s best features and display the potential. And it’s considerable.
Unfortunately some of the more upbeat moments of the show work to counter that potential; an unfocused version of Coldplay’s ‘Fix you’ doesn’t quite hit the right performance delivery, and occasional flashings of on-stage ‘banter’ detract from Allan’s desire to have you see him as a mature, skilled, song-writer. Which he is. When he’s focused.
Jason Allan has the skill, and the talent, to do interesting things. If he wanted my advice, I’d tell him to keep the onstage banter to a minimum and let his singing do his talking; that’s where people will see the potential and that’s where he finds his greatest skills.