IT’S TIME TO SANG.
Heading into day one of this Spring Intensive I had those first day jitters you get when you start a new job or a new semester of classes. You know the jitters where you’re constantly trying to stay calm and collected while simultaneously battling the storm of emotions inside you that make you wonder what every single person you interact with is thinking about you? Then once you’re in the groove you think back to how silly those jitters were because you’re obviously so totally awesome and you can handle that new class or work schedule like a pro. Those jitters I was prepared for. And those jitters I knew how to work through.
Then came day two. Oh no but not just any other easy day two. No no no. It was a day two filled with singing auditions. There’s something about a singing audition that brings what I can only describe as sheer terror into my being.
When I was little I used to sing all of the time, and I strutted on stage acting like a boss just belting note after note. And then came that awkward and uncomfortable time of adolescence that brought along with it harsh criticism and self-doubt. That time in life is so delicate and fragile that in order to get over the hump that is second guessing what you’re passion about, you need to be surrounded by love. I cannot reiterate enough how extremely important this idea of surrounding yourself with love is. As I entered into high school, someone I looked up to as a singer actually tore my confidence down and made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. And even worse, that I would never be good enough. All of that reckless abandon of passion and intensity and happiness that I cultivated as a young singer was slowly whittled away by a mentor who didn’t understand the idea of inspiring a young creator. It got to the point where even when I received good criticism or compliments, I no longer believed it.
I started to seriously consider myself a bad singer, a poor performer, and someone who didn’t deserve to do what she loved. Singing no longer became something that inspired me, only something that scared me. It’s been over three years since I have been out of high school, and still those feelings of low self-esteem and worthlessness as a singer creep into my mind whenever I sing. Oh I have made huge steps in building confidence and loving myself and what I do, but as most of you know it’s terribly difficult to ever escape those hurtful words entirely.
So as you can guess, I was terrified going into this session. (Side note: I cried some nervous tears before heading to class to my lovely girlfriend Stephanie who of course was as patient and loving as always and reminded me how much of a freaking star I was.) As class began a few of the other performers went up and sang (beautifully I might add), and as one girl sat down after her audition I forced myself to jump off the deep end and stood up to sing next. I got through my song – I Enjoy Being a Girl from Flower Drum Song – with nerves, and whaddya know I was surprisingly happy with how the song came out! Of course right? As Eric workshopped the song with me, he left me with some inspiration that I jotted down to share with you all.
- Auditions are scary, but they’re not nearly as important as working through emotions and motivations and messages as an artist and as a creator.
- Acting/Singing/Performing is a never-ending pursuit of impossible perfection. You will never be completely ready. You will only be as ready as you are in that moment that you step on stage to perform.
- It will never be perfect, so don’t strive for perfection. Whatever comes out, comes out. Your goal is to simply spread the message of the song because when the emotion is real, that’s the reason to sing. That’s the reason music exists.
Leaving the class, I felt exhausted once again from the rollercoaster of emotions I rode throughout the span of two hours. But the most important feeling I came away with was an inspired ferocity. Eric was right. I cannot be a product minded performer. I perform to relay emotion and rawness and a message. I can no longer be defined by the self-doubt I fostered as a high schooler. I am here for a reason and I continue to do this work because I cannot possibly live without.
It’s time to step into a life of striving for improvement and authenticity. Not perfection. I mean, easier said than done for sure. But, I’m ready to go for it.
We’ll see what next week brings!
(I recorded the time Eric and I were working one on one so I could review what we had talked about later. Not the best quality video, but you can hear me belt some sweetness. To hear a little minute snippet of my song, head over to https://youtu.be/1liIvR94ZZk)