What makes an Artist interesting? Wit, Humour, Charm, Sex Appeal – everything is secondary to one prominent thing, “Struggle.” We look upon them, we want to worship them because of the obstacles they overcome. Like it is not triumph, but the struggle. The journey makes them a Hero of their own Story that radiates motivation and hope to many. These obstacles are not always circumstantial or external but sometimes self created or internal. Doubt, Fear, Insecurities, Self harm and Self exploitation are few of the many hurdles, an artist overcomes to find their own Little Voice.
Little Voice (TV Series) includes 9 episode (30 minute each) that follows the story of a young girl trapped in a millennial world who wants to sing her own (written) songs, but is struggling with self doubt and audience acceptance. She sings covers from the 90s so people like or listen to her, while her dream is to become an original playback singer, one day. It is her tale, narrated in a romantic and musical way that is sure going to charm you melodiously. Created Jessie Nelson, Little Voice doesn’t revolve around Bess alone but everyone near and dear to her. It gives some really fresh and delightful characters on screen but before that, let’s explore what Bess Alice King’s story is.
Bess Alice King (Brittany O’Grady) does all odd jobs to sustain and survive. She is a dog walker, a part time music teacher, a bartender in an open mic bar and what not. Though her real dream is to sing, sing her own songs. She writes songs while she walks around the dogs on the street. She sings them perfectly too when alone but when she is in front of an audience, she bombs. It has nothing to do with her talent, but her own self doubt and confusion that barriers her singing. She becomes gabby on an open mic, before her performance, to set the mood of the audience but in the process, falls flat cracking poor pjs and unnecessary commentary.
Self Doubt is not the only hurdle to her dream, but she has to look after her mentally challenged brother Louie King (Kevin Valdez). An absence of a mother and a father who is a faded out singer turned into an alcoholic – puts all the responsibilities on Bess’ shoulder who juggles between jobs, family, career and love.
When a guy, Ethan (Sean Teale) enters Bess’ life and makes her believe in her talent, Bess finds a ray of hope to go on stage to finally sing her own song. But it isn’t so simple and all the obstacles make Bess’ journey countable.
Obsession with Self Doubt
The life of an Artist, in a nutshell, is a series of events that jump from one obstacle to another. Our cynical and hateful world is quite enough to give us enough of it, but when an artist fails to encounter any, he becomes the inventor of his own problems. Though these obstacles are not entirely his/her own but an influence of negativity conceived from the world around the artist.
Bess Alice King’s character derives many such conflicts from the life of her own and people around her. Prominent of all is her Self -Doubt.
She speaks to Ethan, “I don’t like anyone listening to the songs I write.” When Ethan questions that, we get to know Bess’ past dilemma of a failed attempt in front of the audience, a memory she is trying to repress. A further exploration of their conversation underlines Bess’ doubt of her style of writing and singing that resonates more with the yesteryear artists than millennial. Ethan remarks, “It’s such a cynical time.”
A major introduction of the series explores the premise it promises, that is Beth’s struggle with her own self doubt and a journey to find her voice in between. Though most artists are aware of their style and uniqueness, they don’t gather enough courage to use it. Bess is trying to impress the audience and thus fails to impact a cynical audience who are not ready for anything new. Even Bess doesn’t want to accept it because she wants to be accepted and heard rather than sing and enjoy.
When she spots a violin player in the alley, playing soothingly, she is enchanted. She narrates the feeling to her dad, Percy King (Chuck Cooper), who is now an alley singer himself. Bess speaks, “His music was just so effortless. I just don’t have that thing.” Percy talks to her about the effort an artist puts to become effortless, Bess is a work in progress and she should sing more of her songs everywhere and anywhere to recognize her little voice that is missing.
It is the first episode of the series, Little Voice that puts down all the correct tones and grasps the audience’s interest and attention. With other obstacles to follow, it is Bess’ encounter that does the magic.
Flaws of Little Voice
Romantic Musical Drama is hard to write. Not because of required talent, but the inherent virtue of the genre. It has been explored so much that there is little room left for freshness. Little Voice might look like a fresh piece in the beginning but it slowly follows the track of all the old dramedies out there. I hoped it would follow her struggle towards her talent, but the series quickly skips to Bess’ own personal problems and romance. Though it might work for a certain audience, it will act monotonous and dull to a mature audience. A character that suffers due to its own choices is more an interesting watch than one who suffers from only circumstances. Later one creates sympathy that becomes monotonous, but for one who digs its own grave, is always an interesting watch to catch up.
Little Voice (TV Series) had all the chances to escalate the drama, but it took the way of cheesy romance and not very complicated family issues that are much cliche in the genre. It could have been saved, only if the writers wanted to invest more on bringing out new ideas to create obstacles in Bess’ journey.
Little Voice (TV Series) has an excellent blend of fresh new songs that will leave you humming the lyrics. The kind of characters it introduces in the series breath out novelty but their virtues are kinda cliche and done to death. However, the balanced story arc to each character is a fresh new take and would appeal to a wider audience, as they will have a wider canvas to relate from. It is motivating and might drive your inner passion as well, or as to say Percy King’s words, “Sometimes you just gotta do it for the love of it.” So stop thinking and doubting your talent and go out in the world and spread the word.
Little Voice (TV Series) is streaming on Apple+ TV.
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