This is a little note for the singers those who grew up performing in choirs, eisteddfods, and/or community concerts.
Perhaps you were even a gigging singer, with a degree in music, and had aspirations of performing all around the world and becoming the next Lady Gaga.
But somewhere along the line, you stopped. Life got in the way.
Maybe you had a family or fell into a different career.
Maybe you had doubts about your ability and didn’t think you had the talent to pursue a career in it anyway.
Perhaps your voice never felt quite ‘right’. Like, it was massive effort to sing, so why bother pursuing something that felt difficult.
So, you turned your back on your voice, your singing and your dreams.
This is what I did anyway.
I grew up in Bundaberg and was always performing. I did my AMEB classical singing exams and I won the Senior Vocalist Prize at the eisteddfod. I was pretty convinced that I was going to become the next Maria Callas. After all, I was a quarter Greek. Maria and I practically had identical lives.
As a 17-year-old, I auditioned for the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and got graded an ‘A’, which meant that I was a shoe in for the bachelor’s degree. My life was sorted.
When I received what I thought was going to be my acceptance letter, I was devastated to read ‘thanks but no thanks.’ I wasn’t going to the Con.
After a year of doing a performance course in Rockhampton, which I didn’t enjoy at all, I decided at 18 that I wasn’t cut out for this career and enrolled in a journalism degree. When I finished this, I found myself working in government and corporate media departments.
Years of getting stuck on the corporate treadmill followed, along with developing vocal nodules from singing in rock bands using incorrect vocal technique.
Also, I got stuck in ‘paralysis by analysis’ land from not knowing where my voice sat in terms of genres. I couldn’t sing classical anymore, and after falling asleep in several operas decided that I didn’t want to follow in Maria’s footsteps after all.
I loved rock music but wasn’t convinced that my voice was suited to this either.
That’s when I stopped singing all together. It just felt too hard.
And I have to say, this left me bereft and sad.
To fill the void that singing left in my life, I decided to try jazz piano lessons. I had always loved jazz but in the past had never thought about learning it. So, this felt new and exciting.
Funnily enough, it was these lessons that led me back to singing again.
My piano teacher asked me to sing ‘Misty’ – the only jazz song I knew all the words to. I did and his enthusiasm for my voice but more so my love for the music, put me on the path that I am on now.
I’m obviously taking a lot of short cuts with my story but since that day, I have become a professional singer with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz, which I received after a life-changing three years at the Jazz Music Institute (JMI). I ended up going to the Con to do my master’s degree and have sorted out my vocal issues with good technique practices and pathology. And as you know I’m a proud and passionate singing teacher.
Anyway, enough about me. I just want to say that even though you may have turned your back on singing, it hasn’t turned its back on you.
You will find your way back to singing again. I promise.
That’s all I’m going to say.
Lots of love