If you’ve been following my story you’ll know that I started on stage at the ripe ‘ol age of 3. From the very beginning we were taught that when singing, we were to sing as loud as we could so our parents could hear us right up the back.
Well. I had a loud voice and was competitive so I didn’t need too much encouragement to let it rip. That concert version never really sounded too flash, as any parent would well know 😉
All the way through primary school I received good reports on my ‘lovely voice’ and easily excelled in music. But I when I moved towns I discovered I was actually an extremely shy girl that really only spoke when spoken to and so whilst I continued to love music and get good reports, it was mostly kept between myself and my teacher.
When I began taking lead stage roles in high school it was only then that my drama teachers learned that I had a voice. I remember one saying to me “I never knew you should sing” “You never asked me” was my reply. I meant no disrespect, I just didn’t have the confidence to speak up unless directly asked a question. I figured that no one ever really cared. (A bit like the Elephant character in the kids movie ‘Sing’ (although clearly not to that high standard)).
But singing was my purest joy so I took up lessons and loved the gradual confidence it gave me. Sadly I tended to suffer from throat infections a lot as a kid and found myself with a lot of vocal strain. With hindsight, I would say that I was still that little 3yr old trying too hard, and found I really couldn’t hang around in the upper register without it hurting. So I worked mostly in my lower.
Fast forward 20 years and I had made a new habit of daily singing – lullabies to my babies. It was during this period that I found my true voice.
You see my dad was always very loud and I found I had to compete with him to be heard so I either yelled or said nothing (no offence intended there Dadio). But the truth is, loud noise has always actually caused me physical pain, and thus, always caused me stress. Still does.
It was only when I sang gently and quietly to my children that the vulnerabilities in my heart were expressed purely through my voice and I met some of who I truly was. This fragile creature, full of love and an emotion that could be shared.
Sure I could sing loud, but I just sounded like everyone else competing for attention – a pet peeve of mine. What I really needed to do was just turn inward, relax into myself and turn the volume down, to truly be free. And training with all that in mind has completely opened up my registers. I have to be singing an awfully huge amount (or yelling out to my own kids) to suffer from vocal strain these days.
So I have my children to thank for allowing me to find my true and vulnerable voice. Who I really am as a person only re-emerged as I began to write my first album. But that’s for another blog…