Friday, August 28, 2009

Unrehearsed

I am a singer. I've always been a singer. Ever since I sang my first song in church at age 7 I've been singing. I sang at my church. I sang at revivals. I sang in a summer youth choir. I competed in vocal competitions. I sang in the University Choir and the University Show Choir. I graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre. I sang in summer stock. I sang in musical after musical working toward my Equity card. A card I'm happy to say I got! I moved to New York and began singing at auditions. I started singing less at auditions. I started working on writing and singing country music. I cut a demo and moved to Nashville where I quickly got discouraged because no one seemed as excited about me singing as I was. I moved back to New York. I sang at auditions even less.

Fear crept in and singing in public all but ceased. My last audition was 8 years ago.

Over the past 6 months I began singing at Karaoke Night and Open Mic Night, each held in the lounge of the theatre complex where I work. I don't like to make a fool of myself. I'm very much a perfectionist. Let's just say that not only do I rehearse what I'm going to sing at open mic, I rehearse the karaoke songs too. My friend Erin who runs karaoke is always willing to hook up the machine and let me sing through a track 2 or 3 times before I sing it in public. Most of my friends laugh at me about that. It is karaoke after all. Perfectionist typing here. I want to know what the track sounds like. I want to know if the song is really in my range. Honestly, I want people to want to listen to me sing. Karaoke is not really the best place for that, but hey, it's where I'm singing these days.

Tonight there was a new me at karaoke. I sang three songs for the first time in public and did not rehearse them beforehand. I just decided it was time. The lounge wasn't very full. In fact I knew almost everyone there. That can be comforting or nerve racking. I chose to kind of feed off of them. I have been wanting to sing the theme song to True Blood for some time now. It's a country song by Jace Everett called Bad Things. Erin actually downloaded it tonight for me. I got up there and just did it. It was amazing to just sing like it didn't matter if it was perfect or full of mistakes.

My confidence was strong at the end of that song and I decided to sing Mercy by Duffy. I laughed at myself as I messed up phrasing. It was okay. No one was there to judge me. I truly felt supported. After that there was nothing holding me back. Erin, Ryan and I sang Closer To Fine by the Indigo Girls. We did our best to harmonize. It wasn't our best moment, but we had a great time and will probably do it again. I personally added two new songs to my repertoire tonight plus the trio song. The more I face the fear the easier it gets to just sing again.

I am a singer. I've always been a singer.