Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Little Hard Work Can Go a Long Way

How does an ordinary person become both famous and successful? According to JC Fisher of The Texas Tenors, it can be done by working hard your entire life. He is the perfect example of the product of hard work. Growing up in the small town of Pleasant Hope, MO, JC was able to build the foundation that would serve him later in life. Now, he is one of the members of the increasingly popular group The Texas Tenors. His journey to this point has been nothing short of remarkable.

As a young boy, JC had no aspirations to become a musician or singer. He grew up on a farm with several sisters and parents that were adamant that their children worked hard and pushed them to do well. As such, they were not given anything—instead, they had to work for it. They were raised to do the right thing. According to JC, even today he asks himself when faced with a problem, “What would Dad do?” In school, JC was an athlete. In particular, he was involved with the basketball team. Believe it or not, his involvement with the basketball team is what launched his music career.

JC and his dad courtesy of JC Fisher
At one high school basketball game, the school was searching for someone to sing the Star Spangled Banner. Although JC had very little experience with singing, he agreed to do it. As a result, he wowed the crowd. Even his own mother had no idea he was going to be singing for that game and was shocked at his voice. JC could not believe the reaction he got from the crowd. In truth, he got a thrill from it. From then on, he embraced his talent and became more involved with singing by performing regularly in church and at school.

After graduating from high school, JC went on to Southwest Missouri State for three years before transferring to Wichita State University. It was while at WSU that JC became serious about pursuing music as a career. The program at the school attracted him, and it was with the help of Rosemary Owens that he was able to grow as a performer. He began to take voice lessons, and as part of those lessons, he started listening to classical voices. At that point, he began to try to imitate several of the artists he listened to. Eventually, he took on a few solos that he performed in Germany with the choir. Upon graduating from WSU with his Bachelor’s degree in Music, JC began to put together his music career. Since then, he has dedicated much of his life toward developing his career. This hard work and dedication has turned out to be extremely important. According to an article on career success, “There is nothing more important for your career than hard work and dedication. You don’t have to love what you do, but you should be dedicated and care about doing the best you can. If you don’t care or have the drive it won’t get you anywhere in your career.”

It was while JC was one of the singing waiters at the Macaroni Grill that his life began to change. Some people that were in charge of putting together the Miss Kansas Pageant heard him sing and asked him to sing a duet from Phantom of the Opera with Miss America. This pageant happened to be where he met Jennifer Vannatta, Miss Kansas 1998 and his future wife. Shortly after the pageant, JC embarked on a 4-month program to Italy where he was able to perform in the Puccini Festival. He stayed with a family that spoke no English and became fully immersed in Italian culture. It was a great experience for him, and it allowed him to further develop his classical voice. Upon returning to the United States, JC put together his own show that he was able to take on cruise ships around the world. He sailed on more than 75 different cruise ships as a performer. In fact, it was on one of these cruise ships in 1999 that he met Marcus Collins, now a close friend and fellow member of The Texas Tenors.

JC and Jennifer courtesy of JC Fisher
Several years later, JC was working on a construction site and met John Hagen, a classically trained musician and now third member of The Texas Tenors. They developed a friendship while working together and eventually decided to put together a group with JC’s music teacher as the third person. JC sent in a recording of the group to America’s Got Talent. The response from AGT was that they needed to try again the next year. The next year, JC asked Marcus Collins if he would join the group. This time, AGT asked them to come to Houston for the audition. The trio graduated through the ranks of AGT and came in fourth place as the highest ranking vocal group in the history of the show. Ever since, The Texas Tenors have been touring around the world, including to the United Kingdom and China. They even perform over 60 shows each year at the Starlite Theatre in Branson. To date, they have performed over 650 concerts together since AGT. This past December, their very own PBS special entitled “You Should Dream”, named after one of their original songs, was aired for the first time. Since then, they have been rapidly growing in popularity. In fact, their newest CD has spent the last 11 weeks in the Billboard Top 10 for the Classical Crossover chart.

Photo courtesy of Helen Flynt
Somehow, JC has handled the rise to fame very well. He has worked hard to get to where he is today and credits his upbringing to achieving his goals. As he states, “God will give you the opportunity. You need to take that opportunity and work harder than everyone else. Then you will succeed more than everyone else.” According to one article regarding the importance of hard work, “Success is not measured by the position that you are in today but the amount of hard work you put in and the number of obstacles that you overcome to reach your goal.” Additionally, he believes it is important to follow your gut and have a positive outlook. He still maintains his humble attitude and instead uses the group’s popularity as a platform for causes he and the other group members believe in. They have the opportunity to make a difference through organizations such as Homes for Our Troops and Child Fund International. JC also would like to eventually work with children with disabilities.

JC has a soft spot for children. This can be seen through one of his favorite pastimes: spending time with his three children, Jackson, Jenson, and Jennings. Unfortunately, being on the road so much means that he is away from his family quite a bit. He states this as being one of the most difficult parts of the job. However, that means that the time he does get to spend with them is that much more special. Other hobbies that he has had to more or less give up due to his busy schedule include hunting, fishing, and pick-up basketball games.
In five years, JC has even more goals in mind to work toward. He anticipates new shows, new albums, and even wider name recognition. Also, he would like to be able to play his guitar much better. Although he only recently began to play the guitar, he has worked very hard at being able to play it in select portions of the show. He plans to continue working at it and eventually become an excellent player. Also, JC would like to have the opportunity to help more people and to have both his immediate and extended families be financially and emotionally secure.

JC and his children courtesy of JC Fisher
JC is the perfect example of how a little hard work can go a long way. There have been many obstacles along the way, but he overcame them and continued to work toward his goals. His journey from Pleasant Hope, MO to a prominent member of the group The Texas Tenors shows that an ordinary person has what it takes to achieve his/her dreams. 

Photo courtesy of Helen Flynt