Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Singing out loud with your mouth shut.

When I was a kid I used to lip sync to songs in the car. Somewhere in the back of my head I decided it was better than actually singing the words out loud, I was told by my choir master that I couldn't sing, and being the impressionable lass that I've always been, I took it to heart.

My grade school is what "after school specials" and "life time movies of the week" are derive from... who thinks it's okay to tell a kid they can't do something? I know I'm no Ronnie Spector, but be nice. (Oh and Ronnie Spectors Choir Master beat her because she thought Ronnie's voice was so good the devil must have given it to her - oh catholicism)

It happened to me again in high school. I told a girl I was thinking about taking singing lessons - I just always liked singing and thought - hey! That's what teachers are for, she told me that it was pretty much pointless (I found out later that she had a huge crush on one of my best friends and thought we were together - oh girls - get jealous = be a bitch).

The first time I sang out loud was in high school. I did one of those recording things at Cedar Point... (is that option even there anymore? Probably went the way of the Pirate Ride... I miss the pirate ride...) On the way home a friend told me "good job!"
"You have a nice voice."

I became obsessive over it in my twenties and my confidence grew. Yes, still no Ronnie but I can hold my own and mostly I'm not shy, so I'll belt it out if I can.

The thing with singing is like when you hear your speaking voice recorded. It doesn't sound like the voice in your head, so most people cringe. The best thing I ever did was have to stand between two vocal towers at our old practice spot - I couldn't run from my voice and over time, practice after practice, I started to like it...
Sadly, the songs I sang that I really liked my voice on were never recorded. Both of my bands fell apart just around the time I found out that I'd be a mother. With every intention of getting the "band back together" the term has become more of a cliche, an Edward Burn's comedic movie moment, than it has ever been the truth.

I still write songs.
I'm really good at sappy break up songs. My theory was and has always been the same - the one thing we ALL have in common... heartbreak. I've had people tell me after shows how they "totally" understood what I meant - most times I made me silently giggle because I'm a writer - I write. Yes, I have things, moments in my life, to draw from - but I'm married and have been with the same guy for a long time so it's not like I'm a forlorn broken hearted fool waiting for Mr. Right to show up while I'm hanging with Mr. Right Now.

I also sing every day.
I make up songs for my boy. Yes, he has his own theme song that I wrote over the first 6 months of his life. I sing it to him here and there and while he has no idea it's about him, he always smiles.

I just love it.
Writing songs.
Singing those songs.
Singing ANY songs...

I still don't understand why people say such negative things, especially to a small child... is it really fair to take the burdens of your life and pass them down to a kid that didn't do anything to deserve your strife.

If there is anything you've ever wanted to do, I say you should do it. (with in reason here, I'm not suggesting anything malice or evil. Hate is worthless, so keep it to yourself.)

I work so much these days I forget that the things I'm doing are those choices, those dreams that I want to work on and let my tired mind warp them into burdens that they are not. It's so easy to dismiss the good things and just hang on to the bad for dear life.

With my love of music I try to branch out into any genre I can find inspiration it. Maybe one day that's Jay-z or maybe that turns out to be Krishna Das or even Gerald Finzi to Minor Threat, but they all have their place.

We all have our place. Even when it's hard. Even when we pray for miracles. Even when it looks bleak. Even when you're on cloud nine. It's all there for a reason.

When I was a teenager, some of my friends smoked pot A LOT. One of the guys used to tell me about "god" and "dude last night I knew the meaning of life - it just came to me!" My response was always the same, "Did it? Did it really?"
It took me a bit longer to figure out the meaning of life... and I wish instead of criticizing him I would have said, "that's awesome!"Because even if I didn't agree with how he got there - for one moment he was happy and for one moment I was my Choir Master.

We can all sing
If we all sounded like Ronnie Spector or Mike Ness this would be a boring world, that's why we sound like us and that's what makes it perfect.

Uniquely our own.

To this day I still find myself lip syncing on long car rides. It has become a warm blanket that brings comfort - but most days, if it just me, I'll find a song I love on my ipod and crank it up and sing at the top of my lungs. You've probably seen me from time to time... I'm that chick in the red car with dark hair singing like its her last chance to live, and loving ever single minute of it.


  1. I'm a car singer too...Now the kids join in...It's like a bad TV show...But there's nothing cooler then your 5 year old son belting out The Who with you in the car...

    I hope I never stop writing songs...It makes me feel like I've done something, even if I'm the only one who hears it.

  2. I always say, with all this new technology like garage band, that one day I'm just going to buy a keyboard with a midi and write a whole album. I'm sure I could do it - I may never tour or be some super star, but at least I'd have that album, ya know.

    And that's awesome about your kids. I can't wait for stuff like that. Every time he takes a bath I play music for him an when we play two. I like to pick something different each time. World music to pop and everything. The biggest response I ever got from him was to Patsy Cline - lol...