I have always loved to sing. I just haven’t – and still don’t, completely – love singing in front of other people. To me, it has always seemed sort of an unwelcome aural assault when people are too free to start crooning at a moment’s notice. And it’s often the case that the most confident are sometimes the most unskilled, as explained by The Dunning Kruger Effect.
I was shy growing up and never sought out musical theater, or chorus. I would make fun of the girls my age who sang musical theater numbers at the local state fair, imitating their brassy tone and secretly wishing I was brave enough to get up there myself. I was horribly self conscious in general as a kid, like many of us are, and never really sang except when I was sure no one else could hear me. Some of my fondest memories growing up were riding my bike alone along a trail through the woods, singing loudly to myself.
I have played guitar since I was about 12, and was in a doom metal/sludge band in my early twenties, a fact I blame for the occasional ringing in my ears, but though I love a good sludgy distorted guitar riff, my love has always been for more traditional sorts of music, those songs with sung vocals, rather than screaming. I was never quite in step with my peers in terms of modern music that was popular at the time, but I can find something to like within every genre of music. I love it all, though jazz and blues are my favorites.
For the last 4 years I played in a garage band with a few friends, singing, playing bass and guitar and mandolin when needed: mostly covers, but some originals. I started writing songs when I was about 16 or so, but it has only been within the last 5 or 6 years that I have begun performing them. I’ve also worked up the courage to perform with friends who are far more accomplished musically than myself — the absolute best way to learn.
Because I am naturally reserved and not known for my electrifying stage presence — and I love to research, I have enjoyed looking at photos of some of my favorite female musicians since I started getting up on stage. A sense of style helps define performers and gives them confidence, just like all good clothing should. I loved reading that Patsy Cline’s mother made many of her outfits.
From left: Dinah Washington, Linda Ronstadt, Karen Carpenter, Patsy Cline.
Here is a video that my friend James and I made last summer, from an original song of mine. It’s far from perfect. But if sewing has taught me anything, it’s patience – and also, just MAKE it already, who cares! The journey is always more fun than the final product, and I’m proud of this song nonetheless. Just like a sewing pattern, I look forward to re-working it soon to make it better.