While we marvel at the incredible songs that musicians and singers create, and wonder about the fame, stardom, and popularity that they enjoy, we seldom stop to think about how they got there in the first place. The initial struggles of surviving in the highly competitive and often cruel world of music remain shrouded to us. With the story of Bess King, a woman in her early 20s living in New York, ‘Little Voice’ sheds light on the insecurities and inhibitions of young singers-songwriters while they try to make a name for themselves. While it focuses on the hardships and struggles, it also inspires hard work and hope. With its captivating melodies, the story leans towards authenticity. Is it inspired by the story of a real singer-songwriter? Is Little Voice based on a true story? Let’s find out.
Is Little Voice Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Little Voice’ is not based on a true story. It is an original story written by Jessie Nelson. After working together on the musical ‘Waitress’, Nelson and Sara Bareilles set their eyes on a new project. The idea of creating a TV show about the life of a struggling singer-songwriter was proposed to Bareilles by JJ Abrams. She took this concept to Nelson, who had already been working on something similar. “Concurrently, I was writing a piece about songwriting and inspiration and where inspiration comes from, which was kind of inspired by my time with Sarah, because I was so fascinated how she birthed these songs. And so we decided to join forces and out of that came Little Voice,” said Nelson to Broadway.com.
They quickly decided that the story was to be about a young woman in New York City, struggling to make ends meet while pursuing her passion for music. While other shows use NYC as a grand city with great apartments for broke people, they focused on underlining the daily struggles of young people in this story. “We wanted to authentically tell the story of what it means to be a young person now in New York. You’re either working five jobs to get the tiniest room, or you’re living with five people in an apartment that should house two. It’s crazy that that isn’t regulated and that young people are having to come up with these rents,” told Nelson to The Guardian.
Apart from being the story about music, Nelson and Bareilles also wanted it to be about hope. For the central character, Bess, they drew inspiration from their own experience and the kind of people they used to be in their 20s. They wanted to focus on the emotions of Bess to show where her music comes from, while also considering the storylines of the people, especially women, around her.
“The show reflects who we are as people. We’re both very emotional – we don’t have a thick skin, we don’t like bitchy backbiting energy around us … and we’re both very close to the women in our lives, so we weren’t really interested in creating a show about women being mean to other women. With Sara’s music, she’s always been very good and tapping into emotion … it transcends the negative associations with ‘earnest’ and becomes pure,” said Nelson, about what forms the soul of ‘Little Voice’.
Read More: Where is Little Voice Filmed?