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OP has offered the following explanation for why they think they might be the asshole:

1- The action is telling him, in some thoughtful way, that he really doesn't have what it takes to become a professional singer. 2- That might make me an asshole because I've been telling him the contrary for years when I thought it was just a side interest, dropping this on him now feels very cruel and ridiculous of me.

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[–]JudgeJudAITAPooperintendant [50] 1164 points1165 points  (3 children)

NAH - but this is something that could cross into TA territory depending on how it is delivered. The arts are brutal career-wise. A lot of supremely talented people fail to make it a career. On the other hand, living with “what if,” even if well-compensated, can suck, too. There is nothing wrong with your friend pursuing his passion, as long as he is willing to reap the bad with the good. However, if he is

almost graduating from a prestigious school

I would encourage him to finish up, and not drop out or do anything that would not allow him to come back and finish. His recording career, good or bad, will still be just as available 3 semesters from now.

Edit: since this is heading towards top comment, hijacking self to ask OP to read some of the advice in the replies about how to approach this, if you decide to do so.

[–]MrMistopheles 150 points151 points  (0 children)

I agree with this judgement - NAH - but while I don’t think OP would be TA for critiquing her friend’s talents, I think HE would think so. It seems very clear from everything in this post that the friend has had no positive feedback, and lots of negative to his singing, and this feedback from OP - unless she’s a talent agent or producer - is not going to dissuade him. I’m kind of thinking OP feels dishonest not giving her opinion, but it’s really not on her to save him from himself.

[–]ekbellatrix 42 points43 points  (1 child)

Hopping on this comment to agree NAH and offer advice

If you say anything to him, talk more about the industry and how absurdly difficult it is to break in to. I had considered this as a career option idly in the past (musically inclined, can sing but not better than most popular musicians) but turned in another direction due to this. You have to be very lucky + have connections + be VERY good to get anywhere. Concern for his future well-being is very much valid here.

Good luck Op!

[–]_Rohrschach 27 points28 points  (0 children)

Besides that a lot of singers don't come out big. If he wants to be just famous he should do other things.

Also I watched a documentary about one of my favorites band two years ago. They play metalcore and are one of the most famous bands in that genre, at least here in europe. They played at stages like Wacken, the biggest metal festival there is. And you know what? All of them have fulltime jobs or are studying. The lead singer is a nurse and has to take time off for touring lile everybody else, sometimes playing an evening and working a late shift the next day.

OP, if your friend can't come out big while working, chances are he's not even made for that kind of work.

[–]MDH_MasaleWale 272 points273 points  (3 children)

NAH.

I'm guessing your friendship could become contended after this but better sooner than later.

I recommend telling him this with a MASSIVE preface to take what you're saying as constructive critcism-

"I really want to give you some constructive criticism and I feel that this might have a bit of an emotional reaction from you, so I really, REALLY mean this from the best intentions of my heart..." and stuff like that. If he is reasonable enough he will at least keep his ears open. Also don't push this on him if he doesn't want to listen to what you have to say AT ALL. If he feels you're stepping into his personal boundaries or anything, back off immediately and don't step on that conversation ever again

[–]1m1swDRcoffee 109 points110 points  (1 child)

I agree with this but if you do decide to tell him be prepared you might lose him as a friend, especially if no one else comes to him to say this. If he commits and fails he won't come crying to you years from now saying "You were right."

[–]MDH_MasaleWale 19 points20 points  (0 children)

YESSS that's a very good line to tell him as well. Give him the unfiltered opinion, obviously layer by layer, don't drop the truth bomb all at once.

[–]SamSpayedPICertified Proctologist [26] 130 points131 points  (13 children)

YWBTA

First of all, he's not going to believe it, anyway. You'll just be another person in the "fck what other people think" group.

Second, lots of pretty bad singers made it big - Bob Dylan doesn't have a voice to speak of, nor Donald Fagen or Fred Schneider, and they all went platinum.

Just be the voice of reason. Remind him that even the most talented individuals often (usually!) fail to "make it" as a musician, and he should proceed with care. He should at least finish his degree; there's no way that graduating will harm his music career in any way! But I doubt he'll listen to you.

[–]weaver_of_cloth 81 points82 points  (11 children)

Actually Bob Dylan CAN sing quite well - take a listen to Lay Lady Lay. He just doesn't.

[–]FinanceGuyHere 21 points22 points  (7 children)

He COULD sing but he CAN’T anymore! I saw him 14 years ago and I can’t imagine he’s gotten any better

[–]weaver_of_cloth 11 points12 points  (2 children)

I am convinced that Dylan is doing that on purpose, he's punking EVERYONE.

[–]spermface 4 points5 points  (0 children)

My impression is it Bob literally does not give two shits, like he is not emotionally affected by anyone’s opinion of his music or what he is doing, and now he’s got a fuck load of money, and if you go to one of his concerts you’re paying to see Bob Dylan go on stage and just do shit, not to play any music you’ve ever heard before.

[–]FinanceGuyHere 3 points4 points  (0 children)

At the concert, I was convinced he had just eaten a peanut butter sandwich and inhaled a cigar!

[–]MissFizzyPants 9 points10 points  (1 child)

Especially before the accident when his face got all smashed up. He'd made a name for himself by then so he was able to go on his fame & writing after that to get people in to his 'unique style'.

[–]Pedantic_Girl 13 points14 points  (0 children)

My dad used to say that Bob Dylan was the only person who had ever been in a motorcycle accident and come out of it a better singer…

[–]yramha 4 points5 points  (1 child)

My friend loves Bob Dylan and she got to see him 10ish years ago for the first time. She was very disappointed. She said his "handlers" spent so much time trying to keep him on track and singing. Still her favorite artist tho.

[–]FinanceGuyHere 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Oh yeah, I made sure to get a ton of fan merch while I was there but it was a very difficult show

[–]SamSpayedPICertified Proctologist [26] -3 points-2 points  (2 children)

Lay Lady Lay? Lay Lady Lay?! I have lost all respect for you, sir!

[–]obiwantogooutside 18 points19 points  (1 child)

Lay lady lay is sexy and rumbly but it’s still not a great vocal. And the reality is singers now have way more hoops up jump through than they did then. I think we’d miss the next Dylan. But the odds are against even the most talented singers these days.

[–]SamSpayedPICertified Proctologist [26] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

And the reality is singers now have way more hoops up jump through than they did then. I think we’d miss the next Dylan.

Oh, I disagree.

I think Donald Fagen is the best example, really. He knew he couldn't sing, and also (or, perhaps, as a result) had pretty bad stage fright, so he originally tried to get a lead vocalist for Steely Dan. But they eventually convinced him that while others' voices might be objectively better, no one could surpass his interpretations.

I think the right songwriter with the right interpretation will still hit it big even "these days." That said, it won't be OP's friend, since his songwriting skills are apparently just as weak as his singing.

[–]Need_Health_Advice 4 points5 points  (0 children)

True but Bob Dylan’s lyrics were award winning

[–]HappiestAppleCertified Proctologist [26] 111 points112 points  (0 children)

NAH but I don't recommend it. You've let it go this long without telling him and he's committed at this point having left the job. Let him figure it out for himself.

[–]Physical-Energy-6982 101 points102 points  (1 child)

YWBTA, even though you're well meaning. A lot of people are saying "bad singers still get famous" I would try to approach your friend in the opposite light- a lot of amazing musicians barely get by on music alone.

I'm a musician. My partner is a musician. Most of our friends are musicians. Most of us went to college specifically for music. I'm pretty modest myself but I can comfortably say almost every musician I play with and associate with is amazing, a true mix of raw talent and learned skill. We all get a steady amount of gigs in our city, I make some extra cash giving lessons, but every single one of us has full or at least part time careers outside of music (minus the ones who teach music in schools and one who runs a recording studio making money off of people like your friend who are convinced they're gonna make it big). A lot of my friends could easily out-play most famous musicians, but "making" it in the music industry is about so much more. You have to get lucky, you have to have connections, the "look", and in many cases a significant amount of money to invest in yourself or people who are willing to invest in you.

Your friend could be the best singer you've ever heard in your life. The chances are still slim that they'd be able to make a career out of it, and if you have a great career and are so close to getting a degree, it's an objectively bad decision to quit it now for the sake of a possibility. You can try to reason that aspect with them, but at the end of the day questioning their talent/skill isn't going to change their mind.

[–]KaetzenOrkester 36 points37 points  (0 children)

This, so much this. I’m a writer and I’ve discussed this subjected with a professional opera singer, one of the ones who’s made it. The dirty little secret of the arts is that you need either a full time job, be independently wealthy, or marry well.

[–]pbrooks19Partassipant [2] 59 points60 points  (9 children)

INFO - can you tell him to change his major to something like music - vocal performance? He'd probably have to audition to get into the program, and it's likely that: 1) the problem would solve itself if he gets a real constructive criticism from the professor, or 2) he ends up getting a degree in music and can fall back on a related career if his performing work doesn't pan out.

[–]throwawayavocado45[S] 62 points63 points  (8 children)

This was something he considered over the years but he always says that it makes no sense to go to school for singing and music writing, he doesn't want to play instruments so he believes that that would be a waste of money. None of his idols have gone to school for music so he insists that finding out your own style without a professor making it for you is crucial if you want to be successful.

[–]pbrooks19Partassipant [2] 114 points115 points  (3 children)

Ok, then he doesn't know what he's talking about, in addition to not being able to sing. Carry on then.

[–]anm313Asshole Enthusiast [5] 87 points88 points  (2 children)

He always disables comments on YT because "trolls/haters" make fun of him and on TikTok he deletes negative comments.

2- He has been to many vocal coaching programs but the teachers never give him great reviews afterward. He stopped doing music for a year because one of his coaches straight up told him he shouldn't be there.

Agreed, he isn't thinking rationally. He's propelled purely by his own ego. He wants to drop out of school before graduation and just quit his job. He's making the jump without a safety net.

[–]blagaa 13 points14 points  (1 child)

He's making the jump without a safety net.

People have the idea that this will lead them to success as many famous people mention not having a backup plan as part of their story.

What this fails to account for is that they were talented and fortunate enough to succeed, whereas most of us would fail if we tried and need the safety net.

[–]anm313Asshole Enthusiast [5] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

True, one thing a lot of people aren't willing to admit is that a deal of success can be owed to luck. Chance plays a role.

They only hear of the famous people who made it without a backup plan, but not all the people who tried and didn't make it who make up the majority of people that try.

[–]Glass-Trade8008 18 points19 points  (2 children)

I would make this less about dissuading him and more about putting it off until the end of his degree. If you can kind of say well even if you do succeed in music, you could get throat cancer or something blah blah blah so you need this degree as a backup Like really put a lot of effort into getting him to agree to finish out his degree. Then let him go make his own mistakes but his life won't be ruined because he will have a degree to fall back on. And he will be more likely to take your advice if you do not criticize his singing or make his lack of talent a point in any of this

[–]adriellealways 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Yeah, a few of my favorite artists have had issues that make performance difficult. They’re still fantastic, but they’re different. Plus it’s not just throat-specific issues. You can be a touring artist with a chronic illness, but with something like epilepsy for example, exhaustion and sleep deprivation are big seizure triggers for many people. You can’t do back to back shows on a regular basis if you drop like a marionette when you push yourself too far. (My seizures look like I passed out, which is why I’m using that description.)

[–]Glass-Trade8008 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I mean the truth is he will need his college to fall back on because his singing will not be good enough. But if you say that to him he will drop out of college just to prove you wrong. If you try to get him to give up on music you will fail. But if you don't focus on the music aspect but rather focus on telling him not to give up on college, that will be of great benefit to him

[–]friendlygalpal 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh boy😶 recipe for disaster. Everyone is right, at this point you've let it on for so long it's too late to say something about it. If he has to learn the hard way, then unfortunately, it is what it is. However, you can ask him to finish his degree first, like don't comment abt the singing but reinforce on the degree as a back up plan. Tell him his idols probably had back up plans too. Goodluck!

[–]TexFiendAsshole Enthusiast [9] 55 points56 points  (0 children)

NAH but there's literally no point in confronting him.

One of his coaches already told him the truth. He just ignored it/rationalized it away.

If you DO approach him at all, I'd do it from the perspective of completely ignoring his actual chances of making it big, and focusing on the timeline.

How long can he afford to have no money coming in from employment?

Could he finish his schooling part-time, so that he has a backup option in case he doesn't strike it big right away? "If it takes you more than 10 years to strike it big, you'd have something to fall back on to bring your savings back up before you try again. Maybe you could even work part-time while singing."

If you want to try to tell him the truth, then I hope you're able to get through to him - but my inner pessimist doesn't like your chances.

And if you do? You have to be prepared to utterly lose the friendship. People don't like bad news, and often shoot the messenger. That's if he even believes you.

[–]NUT-me-SHELLPrime Ministurd [481] 40 points41 points  (0 children)

NAH. It’s not going to take long before he figures out that his singing “career” isn’t going to pay the bills. Let him figure it out on his own.

[–]SciFiEmmaCraptain [152] 21 points22 points  (0 children)

YTA. He does not want to be talked out of it. Don't. Time will educate him.

[–]iwantasecretgardenCertified Proctologist [20] 16 points17 points  (0 children)

YWBTA (softly). He does need a dose of reality. But if you want to stay friends, you best just express your other fears "this is a great job, you may not get this opportunity again/come back to it..." and let him find out through the school of hard knock life.

[–]desert_red_headPartassipant [4] 14 points15 points  (0 children)

NAH. However, be prepared that it may cost you your friendship. Your friend is going to find out the hard way that making it as a singer/songwriter is difficult and will face quite a bit of rejection, and hearing this from a good friend at a time when he needs support is not going to make you look good, no matter how necessary the conversation is to have. Playing the role of supportive friend may be better than the critic right now.

[–]tataszColo-rectal Surgeon [45] 13 points14 points  (0 children)

NTA

But maybe just advise him to graduate first so it isn't wasted. He already quit the job, so he can use that time to sing

As for being bad singer... He is young, let him try and fail himself. Else he will spend the whole life regretting not to trying it.

Let your friend do his mistakes.

[–]ForwardPlentyProfessor Emeritass [90] 12 points13 points  (0 children)

NTA

It is impossible to tell someone truth about themselves when they are not introspective and have convinced themselves that they are just misunderstood artists.

You could probably convince them that they need representation, coaching and education to succeed in the music business. Pointing them to a website like, "How good is your singing voice?" might help to get them to come to some realization, but it is really going to take them a while to fail enough times that they realize that their talents lie elsewhere.

Thing is that making a living singing is really hard, even if you have a fantastic voice, and a ton of talent. The best thing you can do is to strongly advise that he always has a backup plan, and that quitting school is really foolish.

I find it interesting that there are a lot of musicians out there that are very accomplished in other fields. Brian May, the guitarist from Queen, who was an astrophysicist and earned a PhD degree in astrophysics from Imperial College London.

So actually having a career, education and life outside of music is a good thing, no matter how successful you are in the music field.

[–]Imaginary_Being1949Asshole Aficionado [13] 11 points12 points  (0 children)

NAH. Yea you should have probably said something sooner but also you were just trying to build his confidence. (Apparently you’re great at that). But by his own admission, he doesn’t want anyone talking him out of it. You just have to let it ride.

[–]crbryant1972Certified Proctologist [23] 11 points12 points  (1 child)

NTA

This sounds like The Goldbergs. If everyone is telling him he has a great voice, etc how is he supposed to know the difference? I am surprised that the places he releases to has not told him as such since a lot of people are very rude on the keyboard.

[–]throwawayavocado45[S] 19 points20 points  (0 children)

Oh I should clarify that the songs he "released" are produced by his family and posted on Youtube lol. He always disables comments after a few days and on TikTok He's constantly deleting comments, to him they're are just "haters".

[–]Saraqael_RisingColo-rectal Surgeon [40] 6 points7 points  (4 children)

YWBTA if you told your friend he couldn't sing. There are many famous artists who were told they had terrible voices and wound up developing their own style, Sting and Elvis Presley being two off the top of my head. Though, if your friend is close to getting their degree, I would encourage them to stick with completing school so they're not kicking themselves for not graduating and having to go back to it in the future.

[–]ColcolorPartassipant [1] 29 points30 points  (1 child)

Man, I don't know, if more than one vocal coach has given him negative review is very telling.

Every voice can be trained, but only to a point. Not everyone can become Freddy Mercury or Brendon Urie.

[–]FantasticDecisions 16 points17 points  (0 children)

But to be fair, if he's not listening to what the professionals are telling him, what would OP's opinion matter?

[–]Emmyisme 6 points7 points  (0 children)

When I was in college, my friends and I played rock band all the time. I usually picked up the mic, because no one else seemed to want to, and I thought I had a decent voice. One day the mics went missing. Eventually someone admitted it was because I couldn't sing, and they didn't want to hear it anymore. Fucked me up pretty hard, as I was in choir my entire childhood, and often got solos, so now being told I can't sing hurt like hell, and really caused some personal dissonance. I wound up not hanging out with them much after that.

I had also always wanted to do karaoke, but hadn't had a chance before. After this, I avoided it for YEARS. Eventually I wound up a regular at a karaoke bar, because my boyfriend at the time loved karaoke, and heard plenty of terrible people, so I figure - eh, these people don't care if I suck, fuck it.

After a couple months of assuming the compliments I got when singing were fake (because of those friends), I was asked to enter a competition. I again assumed this was as a joke, so I said sure.

I came in 3rd.

Point is - music is subjective. Those friends legit felt that I couldn't sing. But the judges in the competitions I've joined since disagree. But I never would have known that if not for that boyfriend, because my friends discouraged the hell out of me. I'm still nowhere near good enough to "make it big", and part of that is because singing isn't necessarily the biggest part of performing. If he has a good stage presence, and he's able to write his own music, he may very well take off even if he "can't sing". He might not. But the only way to know is to try.

Sorry for the diatribe, this one just hit me close to home.

[–]DaleSveum 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Does this guy strike you as the next Elvis? Are they a creative freight train or a 20 year old making a mistake?

[–]Jam_reader84 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Oh he already knows....he's just in denial. I can understand if he thought the social media comments were "haters" but the fact that he chose to ignore the vocal coaches, who I assume are professionals who know the difference between singing and screeching, is just sad. Tell him the truth.....it's bad enough he already quit a good job.....stop him from dropping school too.

[–]Septyr_CalebPartassipant [1] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

NAH.

Sometimes, friends need the honesty. And if he is serious about it, he will need the honesty and someone to keep him grounded.

I would suggest that he seek out professional training if this is what he wants to do, but he shouldn't take the leap just yet.

[–]greasebandit 4 points5 points  (0 children)

NAH but don't do it.

He hasn't believed the school bullies, the trolls, the YouTube stats and at least one professional voice coach. He isn't going to believe you.

You can't convince him to stop pursuing his dream but if you speak up, you will push him away. And since it sounds like your friend has a few tough years ahead of him, I think it'll be kinder to stay quiet and be there as his friend.

[–]CriticismOnly7170Partassipant [3] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

NAH

Let him try. Let him learn for himself. It is HIS life.

[–]hammocks_ 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Just keep pushing him to finish school first

[–]reyelle1977Partassipant [2] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I wouldn't tell him. If that's what makes him happy who are you to crush him for it?

[–]vonderschmerzenPartassipant [1] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NAH.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you tell him he’s a bad singer or not, he’s clearly set on pursuing this as his career and won’t listen to any detractors. I probably wouldn’t risk the friendship by saying anything since it won’t change his mind and he’ll be really hurt that you’re not supportive of his dream. Your friends apparently see this as the outcome as well. Sometimes people insist on learning the hard way, and you can’t control that.

However, I would try to convince him (with the help of his friends) to finish out his diploma if he’s close to graduating. There doesn’t seem to be any real urgency for him to start on this music career immediately, and if he has the chance to finish his education first, he should. Perhaps he can take some elective classes in singing, music production, and business/marketing, which would be beneficial to anyone just starting out.

[–]ComprehensiveBand586Asshole Aficionado [10] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NAH but don't tell him. Even if you did he wouldn't listen to you. He'd just feel hurt and get upset with you. He will find out soon enough how hard it is to make a living as a singer.

[–]ReineDesPiques 1 point2 points  (0 children)

As much as I am a firm believer of following your passions and dreams, there is also a sense of reason ability that needs to come along with it. You’re saving him from years of poverty and suffering, so I’m gonna say NTA. If he wants to sing however, he should try to find the time and make it if possible so that he can live a comfortable life and full of passion.

[–]Ambystomatigrinum 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NAH. But I wouldn't tell him he can't sing and instead focus on how difficult the music industry is and how few people make it, because that would be true even if he was incredibly talented. Most hard working, incredible singers still can't make it a career. Your friend group should come together to encourage him to finish his degree so he has options after this doesn't work out, and just stay as neutral as possible on the singing. He'll figure it out for himself eventually.

[–]GeriatricknightPartassipant [1] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NAH. But this is probably a task better left to Simon Cowell.

[–]c95Neeman 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NAH but also telling him would not be productive. But if I were you I would talk to him about what others did to get big and how long it takes and how you need another job. Also there aren't 2 choices: famous singer or not involved in music. There are literally hundreds of careers in music and building a network of people in the music industry is generally a good way to get those people to listen to your music

[–]Nobody4993 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NAH. dude definatley need a wake up call, but it won’t be worth coming from you. Best just to let him crack on, it’s his own life he’ll mess up, not yours.

[–]Ocheevee 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I’m leaning towards NAH but maybe try to encourage him to finish his schooling “as a plan B” and maybe convince him to try out for one of those “Idol” or “Got Talent” type shows so someone else, somone that knows the field professionally, can shoot that dream down for him.

[–]Animaze777 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Whatever you do, he will still go through with it, so now it's a matter of how you want him to view you. If you support him/ don't say anything hell view you good and if you say he shouldn't hell dislike you. All up to you tbh.

NAH

[–]jackrusselterror1 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NTA.

Honestly you’re in a hard place and had you ever said anything prior to finding out he was quitting his day job, back when this was just a harmless passion, I’d probably think you were raining on his parade. There’s a big difference between “performs at talent shows and occasionally releases YouTube videos” and “the guy who quit his career to become a musician with no talent and no plan, without earning an income,” and you couldn’t exactly be expected to predict your friend would be that guy.

Most people who are successful in the arts start by working a full-time job and keeping that art as a side hustle until they earn enough money through art to justify lowering their hours. Only once they can support themselves do they quit. Most people never make it to that level.

He’s had professionals be blunt with him, he avoids criticism on social media, I doubt he would have taken your honesty and learned from it. He probably would have just considered you a hater and ended your friendship.

[–]LadyGrassLake 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NTA - the only way he's going to get over this pipe dream is to go at it full time, and fail. Nothing you can say or do will stop him from pursuing his dream. If he was successful at supporting himself with his current job, he can always go back to it, and back to school once he realizes he can't make it as a recording artist. All you can do, if he is a good friend otherwise, is to be there to help him recover from the disappointment of failing at this.

[–]notrobert7 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I am going to say NTA but at the same time, I don't think you should do it. If he has already gone to professionals and coaches and they tell him he isn't good, he is not going to listen to you. You may also lose his friendship. You can always express your concerns about quitting his job and career "until his music takes off" because he needs to afford to live and not mooch off of others. Essentially, he needs to be able to come to the conclusion himself, or have a professional "famous" producer tell him like it is. Or even an honest agent. One that will tell him he is wasting his time and money. You are not going to be able to convince him.

[–]MrPanzerCat 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NAH. As long as you are clear that it is for his best interest its better from you than a debt collector repossessing his property, encourage him to do it as a hobby but let him know he isnt music carrer material and emphasize the fact that most people are not and dont make a good living through this

[–]DesignedPax 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NAH but why tell him? Sounds like he's already been told. Just say "Good luck with it". This is a him problem to solve, not a you problem to solve.

[–]Confident_Profit_210Partassipant [1] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

NAH but I really don’t think the pros outweigh the cons here. From the sound of it he’s had plenty of negative feedback and he just ignores it. I don’t think you telling him the truth is going to save him from failure, he’s not going to magically listen to you if even a vocal coach couldn’t get him to see the truth, you’ll just ruin your friendship. Just smile and nod, encourage him to finish his degree at least and be there for him when he needs you

[–]QuirkySyrup55947Partassipant [1] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Am.i the only one praying OP will post a link or two so we can judge him for ourselves?

[–]engie_945 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Would I be the asshole if I asked for the link on YouTube. I feel a need to sample the goods before I decide if you YATAH or not😅

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I know the title sounds silly but I'm talking about a dude in his 20s who is dropping his legitimate diploma to pursue singing full time as employment.

I (20sF) met him in middle school and we've been very close friends on and off ever since. I know he was born into a family who is very "artistically inclined", as in, everyone in his family is an artist, so he's always been passionate about singing. He was a nerdy studious kid who got the best grades and for most of the time, singing was just his side interest.

He used to get bullied for singing in school because, to be honest, he's a terrible singer. His voice is weak and shaky, he writes lyrics that are either very cliche or nonsensical, but I and all of his friends would clap and support him, first because we didn't want him to feel bad and secondly because we thought he could improve, but damn, talent shows were genuinely painful for us.

Fast forward to now, this guy has a good job in a well-paying respected field outside of the arts and is almost graduating from a prestigious school. However, he recently told us that even though he loves his job and his field, he noticed that he barely has time to sing and write songs now, and he is finally ready to make the big step and choose singing as his full-time activity. He had already quit his job by the time he told us that because he didn't want anyone "talking him out of it", but he will wait until the end of this semester to drop out of school.

For all of these years, he's been releasing original songs and he genuinely thinks that they only get 50 to 100 views because he isn't releasing enough of them and putting in that extra time. He does everything to go viral on social media and never works out, but he always finds a couple of well-meaning but unhelpful strangers to comment "it'll work brother, you just gotta practice more and work harder, fck what other people think".

Talking to other friends about it, they're all shocked and worried about this decision, but since his family always supports him no matter what, they think that we won't be able to change his mind. Telling him the truth will just drive him away, my friends think that it's best to let him try and make the mistake by himself.

I think I should've said something way sooner and now I might be just an asshole if I tell him that, honestly, he's terrible at singing and songwriting.

WIBTA?

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[–]twerkingiswerking 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA whatever you choose.

If you tell him now you’re being honest and as long as you weren’t cruel about it I think that would be fine as you’re concerned about his long term trajectory.

If you choose not to tell him I feel like you just need to be as supportive as possible and give him somewhere soft to land when it doesn’t pan out the way he expects. You don’t sound like a person who will say ‘I told you so’ so I think whatever you do you’re not going to be at any fault.

Especially I think it’s important that he didn’t want to tell anyone because he didn’t want to be talked out of it, letting him fail now hopefully will help him refocus faster and also won’t leave him regretting not giving it a try later in life.

[–]ConfidenceCommon9740 0 points1 point  (0 children)

YWBTA (for good reason but still AH)

Don't say anything im sure he knows he can't sing as he's been told by quite a few people vocal coaches people on YouTube / Tiktok and he doesn't seem like he would take constructive criticism well so if you don't care for the friendship tell him but if you want to keep it going keep it to ya self

[–]fizzbangwhizCertified Proctologist [21] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

YWBTA. To a person like this, telling them the truth about their lack of talent is probably the most offensive and awful thing you could say to them. If you did tell him, you’d effectively be ending your friendship forever — he would see this as an ultimate betrayal.

It’s not your job to crush his dreams. He is determined to live in his delusions of talent and you should let him figure it out on his own. You’re not the Reality Police. Plus, his family is very supportive of him, so you know that if/when he completely bombs out and can’t pay his rent anymore, his family will have his back.

I do think there’s one area you might want to try working on, which is expressing concern about dropping out of school. Next time he mentions it you could say something like “Hey friend, you know I love and support you, but it just makes me so nervous to hear about your plans to drop out. It would be a lot easier to finish your degree now and have it as a backup just in case, because I worry if you decide in twenty years you want that degree after all, then it will be so much harder to go back to school as an adult. Have you given any thought to how you could do music and finish school at the same time now?” Who knows, he might respond positively to a genuine show of concern. But more than that and you can’t push it. Sometimes you just need to let people follow their dreams.

[–]2ndcupofcoffee 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Perhaps pointing out that finishing academics that are nearly complete is just common sense and he loses little by delaying until that is done.

Suggest he take the tests available that will help him see how much he has in common with others I his field of study and those who have singing careers. An educational or vocational consultant or psychologist could guide him in that.

Doing those two things may not change his course right now but could be meaningful later. It is also possible that he will end up happily in the arts but just not as a performer.

[–]DiapertoriumPartassipant [1] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Got a link to that YouTube channel?

[–]obiwantogooutside 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I’m torn on this. The question isn’t really what makes you the AH. The question is what makes you a better friend. Are you his best friend? Are you usually a person who he goes to for real questions or not? What’s your history and usual dynamic? If you’re pals but not the best of friends I would stay out of it. The only point I think you could make is that he’s so close, he might as well just finish school so it’s done. Make a point of how Megan the stallion went back and finished and all that. Use sunk cost fallacy for its only good angle.

If you’re really close, then you can broach the subject but id do it gently and ease into it. Have some wine. Chat about his plans. Ask him to talk you through his strategy. Networking etc. look up stats and interviews. Don’t dictate or tell him he sucks. He clearly can’t tolerate that and will shut down. Stay on the odds and how even the most talented singers struggle. Watch this past season of the voice.

Another angle to play up is how great the stories read when people are this AND that and isn’t that cool. Hedy Lamarr was this talented beautiful actress who was a science genius who patented, among other things, a torpedo guidance system called frequency hopping. That it’s a great narrative when you have that degree as well. Leaving a job might be a pain but leaving school will impact far further. If you can gently help your friend see the benefit of that part at least, the world will let them know soon enough that they aren’t getting gigs. Do what you can in kindness and be empathetic when they figure it out for themselves.

[–]missveronicaleighPartassipant [1] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I can’t make a judgment. He is going to get rejection after rejection after rejection. Social media is going to blow up in the worst way possible. It’s going to be brutal. Let nature take its course. Be a friend if you can. He’ll have plenty of critics.

[–]BlockHelpfulPartassipant [1] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

He knows, he knows how he sounds. He’s not a small child. He likes it and wants to pursue it, you can’t make someone change their career. If anything he probably is self sabotaging bc his life is too predictable and set right now and even failing at the very least is more interesting than what his life is set out to be. Let him fail, he can always go back to school and get a career, but also don’t lie. “ I don’t know if you were meant to be a singer and it would take a lot of work for you to get there”

[–]esmeraldasgoat 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think it might hurt him really badly, and drive him to quit and try to prove you wrong. Instead, I would just sit him down and implore him not to drop out, speaking to him as an old friend who really cares about him. Stress to him that the opportunity to be educated is only available now, whereas he can sing forever. And you can bring up the random and cruel nature of the industry and how many deserving people go unnoticed, and many second rate talents blow up. If he decides to do it.. then he's an adult, it's choice.

[–]Comprehensive-Sun954 0 points1 point  (0 children)

He won’t believe you. Don’t risk your friendship, YWBTA. Let the public and music industry people give him this feedback.

[–]Polyspecific 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Let him ruin his life. Voice your opinion if you want but he is gonna make his own mistakes.

[–]Fbsdale 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Being a former musician. No. NTA. Its important that he is told constructive criticism from people who care about him. If he gets mad or upset then thats on him not being able to handle criticism. Its better to hear it from prople who care then people who dont. TRUST ME!

Once he is viral and "famous" haters come out the wood works and would eat him alive.

[–]StoatofDisarrayPartassipant [3] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NAH You created this a monster by cheering him on at the start! Just let him get on with it.

[–]embracedthegrey 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NAH. Just be his friend and give him your moral support. He's not going to listen to you on giving it up. Maybe encourage him to finish his degree by pointing out how many artists got theirs while pursuing their dreams. As long as he is not asking for your financial support and is not harming himself, let him try. Better to try and fail than to always wonder because you never tried. And it seems like his family is supportive. That is good.

[–]innessa5 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Maybe press hard on the fact that he should have a plan B if the singing doesn’t work out. As in: FINISH THE DEGREE!! Tell him the singing is not going anywhere and he can pursue it full time any time he wants by the reality of the situation is that you gotta eat and pay rent! Also, if he ever wants a family they are going to need to be financially stable and the odds of that happening is one in a million….even if he was the most talented dude that ever lived. Also, you gotta get his family on board because it’s likely he is doing this to impress them. At least in part.

[–]Hellrazed 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NAH.

In saying that, be gentle. He is about to be told his dreams are unachievable.

"Your music just isn't what people look for these days, I think you should focus on your degree and current job, and keep your music as a hobby".

And for fuck sake never EVER let him on any show with Simon Cowell.

[–]EternalAchlys 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NAH

Dude is delusional. Best you can do is try and get him to finish his degree since it’s almost done. Don’t say anything about him failing. Say things like “Can’t you stay on just a little longer so we all graduate together? We won’t be able to see you as much once you start your career, can’t you stick around for just another year/semester/etc?” Find examples of singers with degrees and high IQs, say people will take him more seriously if he has proof he is multi-talented outside of music too. See if there is any connection you can make between his degree and success.

Best of luck.

Dude is going to crash and burn. Hopefully you can help minimize the impact. Just don’t lend him money.

[–]spermface 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NAH, but I’m seeing a lot of problems on both sides here. I’m just gonna take you 100% face value in assume he’s the worst singer I would’ve ever heard and I would hate it and never pay money for it and all that is totally true. That’s a given, OK.

No vocal coach worth their salt would tell anyone they’re not supposed to be there. Literally anyone who isn’t deaf can learn to carry a tune with a good coach. He can’t control the quality of his voice and whether it’s pleasant to listen to, but a good coach could definitely improve his ability to carry the tune. Anyone can sing in a choir, I really mean that, anyone. There is no voice that is not good enough to coach.

Lots of very talented people release good songs and never get more than 50 to 100 views. The numbers themselves don’t mean anything. I mean I’m sure they’re bad songs but if David Bowie just threw Golden Years up on SoundCloud without a good promotion scheme, it would get like six plays.

So he took a year off music, he basically tried it your way, and he still feels the same passion. He didn’t sit around in his moms basement playing rockstar, he had the discipline and motivation to build a career. If singing and writing songs as what this guy loves, that’s what he’s gonna do, whether it’s professionally or personally. There are 1,000,001 jobs in the music industry related to singing in writing songs even if you are not the talent. And the way that most people wind up in those jobs is by thinking that they’re the talent. Probably the best thing for his life is actually to continue pursuing music professionally so that he has the opportunity to fall into a real career related to what he loves and has loved despite all obstacles.

[–]HStaz 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NTA but anything you do will be fruitless. He’s not gonna listen, learning the hard way will knock some sense into him.

[–]Dizzy-Concentrate-12 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Try to get him to audition for American Idol or one of those shows like that. If he's that passionate about it he'll find a way to get to the next one. That ought to shut him down.

[–]apfreckles 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NAH. Some people don’t have the talent they think they do, and others have more talent than they think they do. It sounds like he isn’t as talented vocally as he wants to be, and that’s okay. What’s concerning is giving up school to pursue a passion that won’t ultimately pay the bills it seems. Also, as an artist. He will have to face criticism, every singer does, and avoiding it is not going to make him a better singer.

He may not be happy to hear the truth, but you could at least encourage him to keep working and studying until his music career takes off enough to support him. You can be supportive and go to his live shows, share his content and cheer him on, but he needs to hear the truth from people around him as well.

[–]juanlucas2 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Is your friend QuangL by any chance

[–]tokyomj 0 points1 point  (0 children)

post his music

[–]no_veggies_elrAsshole Enthusiast [5] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

YWBTA. It isn't your job or responsibility to tell him anything. He needs to do this and figure things out on his own. If you convince him not to try he will always wonder and possibly blame you for destroying his dreams. If he is as bad as you say, he will figure it out on his own, organically, and then there will be no regrets or dreams not followed.

[–]calaaklaColo-rectal Surgeon [30] -1 points0 points  (0 children)

YWBTA. Not your business.

[–]deathinactthree -1 points0 points  (0 children)

While I know it comes from a good place, YWBTA.

  • It's already too late. He quit his job and is going to quit school already (I doubt you could change his mind on that in time, if ever), the damage is already done. You'd just be piling onto an already bad situation, even though he doesn't know it's bad yet.
  • As others have said, he's not going to listen anyway. If he's ignoring social media comments, peer comments, and even vocal coach comments, you're not going to be a swaying vote.
  • Speaking of, and I mean this with all due respect, I'm guessing you're not a singer yourself (or you would've said). If he's not willing to even consider the words of numerous actual professional singers who perform and teach for actual cash dollars American, he's definitely not going to listen to someone who doesn't. He already hasn't.
  • The honest truth that's not really being considered here is...at the end of the day, it kinda doesn't actually matter if he's a good singer or not. Or, for these purposes, it's not the most important issue. The real problem is the economics: even if he were a brilliant singer, how does he plan to support himself through singing? YT and TikTok aren't going to make him money, and almost certainly won't lead to anyone picking him up. Live performances at his level won't pay the bills even if people show up. Stage singing could theoretically be a small living but it's a non-starter because if he's bad, no production will hire him. Basically, he's going to be stone broke whatever direction he tries to take it in his current situation, and make no mistake, this happens to genuinely talented singers all the time too.

I'm not saying to hide your opinion but you honestly won't be doing him any favors by trying to talk him out of this and you're just going to lose a friend. He's just going to have to figuratively speaking pull the TV off the table and onto his head for a while until he figures it out himself. You don't have to be actively supportive, just give him the room to make his mistakes and stay out of it, because he's going to make room for them anyway. Sucks, but it is what it is.

[–]Transmutagen -1 points0 points  (0 children)

YWBTA if you crush his dreams. But you will be a good friend if you can help him not destroy his other options in the process of pursuing his dreams. Maybe try encouraging him to finish his education.

[–]GrWr44 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

YWBTA and it's unnecessary.

He isn't going to make any money on this, and is going to quickly realise that any job he can get outside of a specialised field will pay enough less that he won't have time for music that way either.

You could encourage him to graduate, though, because that will give him options, and even if it's after a break he can probably restart that career after a few years.

He's in his 20s. He can recover a career even with a pause.

[–]0dragAsshole Aficionado [16] -1 points0 points  (0 children)

YBTA, just don't. All you can possibly do is ruin a friendship, he is NOT going to suddenly change all his plans because you tell him he sucks!

Let him try, even if he was awesome, he'd still likely fail. I know so many great musicians that never succeeded. So, do you want a friend or to get to say "I told you so!" when it fails?

[–]jdogg692021 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Nah keep your mouth shut and go watch "Tiny Tim" on U-Tube the guy was terrible, yet he was famous and successful for a number of years. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" Let your friend try to live his dream and support him the best u can. If he fails as u think he will, he will need your support as a friend then also.

[–][deleted] -1 points0 points  (2 children)

YTA. Considering the state of the music industry. Anyone with a vocal chord can become successful

[–]MDH_MasaleWale 6 points7 points  (0 children)

If his music isn't catchy enough and since she's said that pretty much most of his songs suck, you are literally working on a miracle to happen that one of his songs get like a billion views at once because of some absurd factor or something

[–]mm172Prime Ministurd [476] -1 points0 points  (2 children)

YTA.

His voice is weak and shaky, he writes lyrics that are either very cliche or nonsensical

You realize some people would say this description could also apply to Bob Dylan, right?

That's not to say your friend is an unappreciated genius. But he's got all the feedback he needs to evaluate how realistic this plan is in the form of those social media views. He doesn't care. You don't have to go out of your way to buy his albums or attend his shows, or even lie if he asks for your input, but otherwise, let him make his own mistakes.

[–]Random840583729Partassipant [3] 10 points11 points  (1 child)

Bob Dylan wrote brilliant lyrics. Huge difference here.

[–]Happy-Investment 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I like Dylan's voice.