I was honored to be asked up on stage at the Comedy Catch / Giggles Grill to sing a bit with the band this weekend.  Angel, the female head singer of the band Danger Kitty was sweet to share the mic with me. I had a blast. It also awoken something in me I’ve tried to keep quiet.

I love singing. straight out. I LOVE it. I trained classically for many, many, many years and invested a lot into myself.  I also know that there are many others out there (even on a local level) that are so much better than me and untill lately I’ve been comfortable with sitting back and letting someone else do the vocalizing.

A stage of any size has never intimidated me, an audience of any size has never fazed me. In my humble opinion, I think that your responsiblity as the artist/entertainment  is to perform just as fantastic for the group of a half-dozen, as you would for a group of 20,000.  I’ve been comfortable singing in groups of various sizes, to audience members of various sizes. I’ve been comfortable playing instruments in similar situations as previously stated. I’ve performed improv, acting, stand up, prop and large illusions. Live audiences are fun, you get that extra level of excitement that you don’t get from taped or broadcast performances. (even though I have my fair share in those departments too)

The only two things that intimidate me in the slightest are: my voice and the piano.

I know silly right? It’s taken years but after hearing in the back of my head the voices of kids in high school mocking any of my solo efforts, and my complete and total freeze up in front of a jury of music professors on an audition for piano and voice, I did my best to keep from remembering those bad experiences. The best way to ignore my nerves was just to avoid any situation similar at any cost. Even if a little bit inside me died every time someone would say “you have a great voice, why don’t you get up there and show them how it’s done?” as I was humble and differed.

It’s something I’ve never quite understood. I have never gotten nervous speaking in front of a crowd, walking a runway, prepared or off the cuff on stage, rehearsed or improv. I’ve never had any issue performing in a musical capacity in a group, but to actually “solo” it made me feel vulnerable. Sad that all these years later with the battles I’ve fought and won, that somewhere in my mind there is still the ridicule that I suffered as a teenager. See I didn’t sing the “cool” songs, I favored Bette Midler, Neil Diamond, Rita Coolidge, Barbra, Madonna, Diana Krall. So not cool as a teenager. Not to make matters any better I was Daria (if you don’t get it google it). 

The piano was my blessing and my curse. It was my escape and I enjoyed it, alas I put up a fight whenever it was necessary to play in public. It was one of the few things I didn’t do for the public, in as much as I thought I might want to at the time, I did it for me. I was never “good”, never will be. It just makes me happy. I still won’t play in public, and even wait till my husband and children are out of the house (or napping) till I touch the keyboard.

I have played many other instruments over the years, but none of them were are dear to me as the voice inside me.  How can I tell my children they are the only ones in control of their dreams, of how far they go. They are the pilots of their own destiny,  when their mother has demo tapes that she was too chicken once cut to finish the submission cycle? When their mother has been to chicken over the years to just accept I’m never gonna be the best but I’m far from the worst, but at least I’m doing it. I can’t expect my children to push and work towards what they dream of if I’m not willing to do it for myself. How can I expect them to grow from being vulnerable if I’m not willing to do it myself? They see me as strong and fearless, willing to tackle any audience or broadcast, yet when they ask me about being nervous I can’t lie… I’m not. I just have avoided the situations that make me have a minor quake.

I’m not saying you are gonna find me putting together music act anytime in the future, nor am I gonna be crashing the karaoke bars (because quite frankly that’s not the same thing as actually having a real gig where you are responsible for the audience and there is no safety net. Just because you sing karaoke doesn’t make you a musician, entertainer, or a singer. When it does it will the day that drinking coffee makes me qualified to be the CEO of Starbucks). I will gladly start listening to the set list of some of my fave bands a bit more closely and be better prepared next time someone decides to pull the comic on stage.

  Yep. The woman who has opening admitted of never getting stage fright or nervous, does. BUT very rarely, only in a  select couple of situations. I will get over that this year. Everyone has weaknesses, we become stronger and take a step to bettering ourselves when we can admit to them.  It’s a minor hiccup that I never thought I’d ever face again, after all, once you start having kids and focus on multiple career paths, it’s hard to make time to do something for you. My music has always been my soother, the “Mezzo – soprano beast” as was my nickname once upon a time is going to work on her leash.

*Thanks to Angel Michaels and the rest of the guys of Danger Kitty. You guys ROCK and I had a blast. I look forward to rocking with you guys again!  Also thanks to 976 Photography for the image.