Friday, April 23, 2010


How do you walk out in front of hundreds of people like you own the stage?

How do you smile confidently at a bunch of people you don't know, reassuring them that they're going to love every second of your performance?

How do you stand there, perfectly still with your head proud, completely self-assured in your own body, positive that nobody is criticising you?

How do you open your mouth and sing: blindly; dumbly; without thought process? Without stopping to think - did I come in exactly in the right place, or did the entry sound a little late? Am I loud enough? Am I too loud? Does it sound beautiful? Are people put off by the sound of my voice? Do I look convincing? Why does that woman look bored? Why does that guy look so disinterested? What does the next verse start with? Am I perfectly in tune with the piano? Am I remembering to think about the emotion of the text? What am I doing? Oh wow, I'm singing a song onstage and I totally just had an OMG moment in my head and got completely distracted and now I'm kind of singing on autopilot, fuck. That woman still looks bored! What am I doing wrong?

How is it possible to spend so much time in a practise room; perfecting the technicalities of the music; spend so much time walking yourself through the emotions and journeys of your pieces; watching every version possible on YouTube; placing yourself in the characters' collective shoes; really feeling what they're living; and then: forget all of that the minute you get onstage because you're worried about what people think of you?

Curiouser and curiouser.

Something I've said to at least three different people this week is that I don't think I could've chosen a more challenging career path for myself if I'd tried. Once upon a time, I thought maybe I wanted to be a doctor. If I had ever followed that path... I don't think I would've found it as personally challenging as I find this career path to be. What other career allows me to be a literary, book and poetry nerd with the texts of my songs and operas? Allows me to sing and work on the technical glory of voice? Allows me to learn musicianship and musicality? Allows me to learn to act, move and dance? Allows me to develop a strong work ethic, perfectionism and drive? Challenges me to step outside of myself? To stand and deliver? To put aside inherent shyness and insecurites, and offer my heart up on my palm, while remaining far enough removed from the subject to deliver the sound technique that I should have?

I commit to what I'm doing 100% when I'm by myself. When I'm singing in front of anyone else, that 100% commitment isn't there; I lose the connection with the heart of the work, for... fear? I become way too consumed with needing to prove that I can do all this technical amazing stuff that I forget to connect my soul to what I'm doing, and then it's curiously detached. How do you reattach your heart in front of others? What holds me back? How do you fix that?

The psychology of singing.


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