At one point in all our lives, we’ve either lip synced to or sang along with a song that was blaring on the radio, Ipod or CD player. For the brief 3-4 minutes we were all rock stars singing in front of tens of thousands of our adoring fans. We relished in the thought of being the center of attention, the crème de la crème of pure entertainment. It’s a fantasy that we’ve all undoubtedly played out in our mind’s eye.
As a young kid I enjoyed singing as do most children. At that age of innocence, we all unabashedly sang out loud to our hearts content regardless of who was around our immediate vicinity. It didn’t matter if we got the words wrong, we made up new ones just to keep the flow going. We actually wanted people to hear us; we wanted the spotlight so that we could receive the self-gratifying accolades of all the adults.
Any chance I had, I would burst out into a song; my dad would encourage that habit by recording me and then playing it back to my delight. At that age I honestly can say that I could carry a tune.
As the years wore on and I got older, my singing in public became less and less. There was no reason to my recollection as to why it decreased but it happened. I then graduated to singing in the confines of my room to my favorite songs. I truly enjoyed it; it even spurred on dreams of becoming a songwriter. On a daily basis, and in true merriment, I held “one night only” performances.
I even went as far as recording how I sounded acapella style to one of my favorite songs; it was pitchy, out of tune and I realized I was tone deaf. That put a dash into my dreams of becoming a singer, but that was okay because I still had my “bedroom gig.”
When college rolled around, karaoke bars were slowly popping up. My friends wanted to go to one because that was the “rage” at the time for all the college students. To satisfy my self-indulgence, I went along thinking that this was going to be great. To live out a fantasy even if it was in front of my friends; how bad could it be, I bet they sound just like me.
My experience with a karaoke bar did not go as I intended it. I soon realized that most of, if not all my friends could sing “well”; and some even had vibrato voices. My future wife was a part of this group and she had an amazing voice as well. I truly felt intimidated. When it came to my turn to sing a song, anxiety set in.
Thoughts started to pop into my mind.
“How am I going to sound among my friends who had the ability to sing well?”
“How come I didn’t know they had such great voices?”
“I don’t even have a great voice to command an applause.”
“What’ll they be thinking when they hear my voice?”
The list went on and on.
When the mike was placed in my hand and I froze. The song came on and all that my voice could conjure up was a whisper. I could barely finish the song.
After that incident I didn’t want to be in that predicament again, so I decided to take voice lessons. It was a sign of hope that I wouldn’t be afraid and it would build my confidence. It took a lot of courage for me to take private lessons but I overcame them. I felt good, empowered even. Should the day come when I would revisit a karaoke bar, I’d be ready.
The day came to showcase my newfound confidence, with having voice lessons and all. My friends went and all sang beautifully; that did not help my confidence one bit. When it was my turn, the same thoughts popped into my head. The body was willing to give it a go but my mind had other plans. All I could do was whisper the song in a semi-sing song fashion; my friends joined in to boost my confidence. When that happened, I went into lip sync mode and finished the song.
Suffice to say, it was another terrible experience that brought me down to reality. I could never in my wildest dreams be a singer. It even put a damper on my private performances; just could not enjoy my “bedroom gig” anymore.
That ended my stint with singing altogether. To this day, I won’t even sing “Happy Birthday” out loud…I’ll only do the lip sync version of it with a group of people. The only bright spot in all of this is that my daughter has a great singing voice with a fearless attitude…I can vicariously live out my fantasy whenever she sings.
It was fun while it lasted…my daughter can now take the reins from me. Now onto my next lifelong fantasy…being a hip hop, B-Boy dancer!