Dealing with Negative Feedback

This week started well but was suddenly book ended with some negative feedback from a client who was a bit difficult to work with. The problem all started when this person, about a month or two ago, all of the sudden hired me on oDesk to sing on a couple of songs. This was surprising for me because I never thought of myself as a great singer nor have I ever advertised myself to be one on oDesk. However, I once worked with him as a composer to write some big band music. He was happy with that one and was rather pleased with the demo vocals in that piece; it must have been the reason why he hired me again. After toiling over songs that were very difficult to sing and trying my best to deliver what he wanted, he decided to trash my feedback score.

It would be fair for him to give me a 1 out of 5 score based on the quality of the actual vocals. Again, I’ve never seen myself as a great singer, and this contract was initiated by the client. I did not actively apply for this job. I even went out of my way to sing harmonies and even fake female vocals to give him a good idea of how his song/s would go. After doing all of this work, this is where things began spiraling down.

The songs were awful and his instructions were equally difficult as well. He asked me to sing without vibrato. It felt very unnatural! When I delivered the rest of my recordings to him, he went ballistic as to how they were so unusable. He also went on to complain about how fake the female vocals were. First off, the contract didn’t specify that I hire a separate female singer, and the fake female vocals I used were intended to just give him ideas. He could have cut them out in the mix if he wanted to. If he wanted a really good female singer, he should have asked me in the first place and gave me a more reasonable budget to work with. Once we had cleared the air about it, I even offered to make the necessary revisions and ramped up my offer by stating that I would even hire singers for him if he were so unhappy with the recordings. But he said that he was pressed for time and he’ll just use the crappy mockup recordings I sent him.

I will not dispute his quality concerns. What I would dispute, however, is my score with regard to communicating and cooperating with him. I tried my hardest to please him and to try and get what he wanted. I even made offers to make any number of revisions if needed. I also have qualms about my rating for deadlines: I was able to submit recordings on time! I sent him a message that I’m disputing the score he gave me; I do not expect a change given how much of an asshole that person is.

So, what have I learned from this experience? A lot of things. Flattering as it may that I never applied for any of his jobs on oDesk and that he actively sought me out, I will never accept any singing jobs from him again. If he still wants to do so, I’ll just hire a bunch of singers to do the grunt work. It was a humbling experience as well. I’m very happy that a majority of the people I worked with gave me glowing reviews. This client even gave me top scores for writing a big band tune. This job was, unfortunately, the exception, a stain on my oDesk record. I suppose I should just stick to composing, being an instrumentalist and performing music transcription. Maybe it’s high time to forget about singing except perhaps for personal and educational purposes. This is further reinforcing the fact that I should seek out a dedicated lead singer for my band (that is if the band would come to life this 2013).

Life has its ups and downs, and this is one of those down moments. The important thing is that I have enough strength to take the lessons learned and become a better person as a result of them.


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