In much the same way that the old joke goes, where the busy career woman reaches her mid-forties and states, “Oops, I forgot to have children”, my life seems to have an underlying theme, “Oops, I forgot to become a singer!”
I have just been writing our new Girl Talk journal, in which I suggest (OK, I got the idea from leading creative thinker, Sir Ken Robinson in his book, The Element), that if you can pursue something you both love AND are naturally good at, your creative energy will be released and you are sure to be successful. It’s something I really believe in and want to encourage young people to understand and pursue.
Except that sometimes, I just can’t seem to put it into practice myself – particularly when it involves singing.
I have always loved to sing, since I first burst into tears as I sang my first “real” note along with the Annie soundtrack as a little girl. We attended quite a few musicals in my childhood, Annie included, and I always came home with big dreams of being on stage, of being the star.
Yet I was always overlooked for roles in my dancing concerts, while far less capable singers (although possibly more capable dancers) got the parts. Later, at high school, I got a solo gig opening the second half of the school play – just me and a guitarist, in the spotlight. It felt GOOD! It was the last time I sang solo on a stage.
I auditioned for an amateur musical when I was at uni. My old dancing teacher was on the panel. She looked surprised and commented, “Cath, I never knew you could sing!” Argh! As it was, rehearsals clashed with Taekwondo classes, so I didn’t join the production. Then I took some singing lessons with a top jazz singer in my early 20s. I never practiced (something about not singing too loudly in front of my flatmates), and stopped when I started saving up to go overseas. Besides, we got along so well, we usually talked more than sang and it was getting expensive paying for a friend!
The Glenelg Gospel Choir provided a brief highlight of my 30s. One week of intensive training with an awesome gospel singer, Lillian Boutte, two years in a row. I even got to do a little gospel lick over the top. It ignited a spark, but the flame went out soon after it was over (not helped by a mega-embarrassing performance with a far less capable choir later in the year).
I applied for a part-time singing course at university. I chickened out a week before the audition and started an MBA instead.
And now, while it’s probably not too late, I still can’t see it happening. I love it, just maybe not enough. I mean, to be successful as a singer, you have to live it, breathe it, every minute! Perhaps singing along to Vika and Linda as I do the housework each week, and to the munchkin last thing every night, is enough.
As part of Dame Joan Sullivan’s eulogy this week, mention was made of the incredible influence on Joan of growing up hearing her mother’s beautiful voice, as she went about her day. I don’t actually expect the munchkin to grow up to be a world class opera singer (and I honestly doubt I’m as good as Dame Joan’s mum!), but who knows what influence my little home-singing performances will have on his life.
Only time will tell.
Have you always dreamt of doing something you love, but just not gotten around to it? Or have you taken the plunge and done it? I’d love to hear your stories. You may just win a pack of Story Starter cards of your choice. Please email your story to contact[at]leafjournals.com or post on our Facebook page.