One of the only fears that I could actually recognize during my adolescence was my fear of singing in public. I could do anything else in front of large crowds, since I loved to perform music and act since elementary school, but when it came to singing, it was a difficult block to overcome. I could sing as long as it wasn’t serious. An improv game, a comedy sketch, anything like that was fine, but if it was a musical, there was no way you could get me to do it.
I don’t know if it was embarrassment, or if it was just because I wasn’t confident in my own voice — I’m still not a fan of it, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll always be my biggest critic in that regard — but I know that I did not like it and would not do it. I would tense up, become immediately shy and definitely would not project with my full voice or any voice for that matter. It was only out of necessity that I had to overcome this odd performing block.
In my last year of high-school, our Drama department decided to do a production of the musical Annie. Just as most theatre classes tend to be, the ratio of guys to girls was heavily weighted toward girls. And of the few males involves in Drama class, I was the only one committed to the craft enough to be a candidate for the role of Daddy Warbucks. If I hadn’t had the close-knit relationship with the teachers of that department and the desire and drive to be a performer beyond school, I probably would not have taken the part. But as it stood, I was the only piece left to make this production happen.
So that was it. I had to be Daddy Warbucks or else I’d be letting down the people who helped me develop the skills I needed to be a theatrical performer. I took home the sing-along soundtrack and learned all the songs while driving everywhere. I sang in the car. I sang in my room. I sang in the shower. And despite all my fear, I sang at rehearsals.
I was shaky during the songs in rehearsals, but I worked at it and got it to a point where I could at least not sweat so much out of nervousness. It wasn’t until opening night that I realized I had no choice but to let it all out now. Go big or go home, as they say. So I went big. And I haven’t looked back since.
I don’t remember exactly how that first night went. I tend to have a bit of a memory blank-out after a performance, with only the tingling in my arms and body telling me it went well. But after that first night, I knew that singing was now a part of my journey, and it very still is in a big way, today.
Truthfully, everybody should sing. Even if you’re terrible at it, there’s something about creating music with your own voice for no one else but yourself that is satisfying, relaxing, energizing, and just plain ol’ fun. My favourite moments with my closest of close friends usually involve singing songs from our favourite TV shows, or musicals, or Disney movies. (Nashville, the new TV series has been a favourite of mine to sing to with one of my closest friends.)
Sing. Everything is better with music, especially yours.