Nera

Monthly Archive: August 2014

Fear less

You know those test on the internet, you answer a few questions and it gives you an answer of who you are or should be. You might say they are just silly entertainment, a waste of time. Yet you still do them, right? You usually get the answer you want to get, cause let’s be honest here, you know what to answer so that the outcome is to your liking.

All excited you might even share the results on Facebook and you say, yay, I knew it, I ought to be a writer/carpenter/astronaut or whatever. It’s a true confirmation of the state of things, meaning that what you dream of is true. I mean of course it it, it was just confirmed by a test on the internet. You should be a writer. Damn it, I should be a writer! And then you bask in the afterglow of that test and wait for the day when you will be writer or an astronaut. Meanwhile, your life goes on without you.

I’m not saying this to judge you. I’ve been there, trust me. I had all the excuses in the world lined up for why I am not doing this or that. I mean I knew for years that I want to be a singer. So what did I do to achieve that? I daydreamed while washing the dishes of a life of a singer. I did everything that I could to avoid it and yes, kept on dreaming. Until one day. I realised that I’m running out of time and that my life really depended on it. I mean of trying at least.

So why was I sabotaging myself? I was afraid. Maybe I wrote about this before, can’t remember. But it’s true. I still am. I am afraid that if I follow my dreams my life will change forever. Just stay with the old, familiar stuff. At least I know misery, right? And I can keep blaming the circumstances and lack of luck forever. I also thought that the reason of why I am not doing anything about my dream is because of fear of failure. Well, that was not true.

A few years ago my scriptwriting teacher asked me if it’s really true, meaning that am I really scared of failure, because if you fail that means things most likely stay the same. But if you succeed, your life changes forever. So I realised that he is right, I do not want to disturb the status quo.

I also realise now that the way I saw things were somewhat limited. Yeah, I still have limitations, we all do. But I know now that I put myself in a box or allowed others to put me there. Meaning that I thought that my borders are fixed, you either have it or you don’t. Mostly I thought that I have it, whatever “it” is, but I listened to other peoples opinion. They kept telling me that having a career in singing is impossible, it’s so hard. “Why don’t you just get a decent job in an office and forget about it, or you can sing as a hobby.” So I did that, until I felt I am suffocating. It took a serious brake down for me in order to “set myself free”.

Yes, I still agree with the doubters that a career in singing is hard. But I ask you this, please tell me of any profession that is not hard in any way. I can’t think of any. You gotta put effort into what you are doing and I hope you realise that it’s not about failure or success actually. It’s only about the work you put in.

Another thing that I realised is that when people say this and that is so hard, they talk about their own fears for themselves or occasionally for you. Plus they compare you to the ones that are already on the top of their game, without seeing the struggle they had to go through. I mean it’s a tad bit unfair to be compared to Beyonce, at least in my opinion. We all walk our own path. I have to admit that I’d love to sing at some point at the Colosseum in a sold out gig, but maybe that’s not the goal I need to set right now.

I’ve know for a long time that I am my worst enemy.  I can come up with zillions of different variations for reasons that I am not doing this or that. I can hold on to them like to dear life and not move forward. It’s easier to stay stuck than actually take responsibility for your actions. So I learned to set small goals. Really small. I dare you to try it and upset the status quo.

Here is a short video about setting goals the “right” way:

 

Connection lost

A few weeks ago I attended another singing course, I keep going back every year, although I also study with the same teacher during the year. It is different to do an intensive course, then to have private lessons once in a while. It is also very rewarding to listen to other people’s singing lessons. I think I learn more from those than from my owns. Why?

I don’t know, I guess it’s just the thing that different people have different approach to learning and dissecting things and somehow a different approach makes me realise things. I guess when you are doing it yourself, occasionally you are just too close and you can’t see the woods from the tree.

I like this course also because at the same time there is a classical singing course in the same building and we can go and listen to those lessons as well. It is really interesting. Here is a picture of Ritva teaching Margareta in the classical course (yes, I asked permission to publish their picture) Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the pianist.

Ritva&Margareta

 

I have no clue about classical singing, so I’m fascinated with what’s going on there. I did not have time to listen to too many lessons, only a few, but… Well, the message is simple, again and again, you should not sing the melody but the lyrics. Or actually don’t sing the lyrics, speak. The lyrics drive your singing. Sounds oh so simple, but it’s harder than you think.

I had a gig since then, at my friends 50th birthday party. We didn’t have time to change any of the repertoire that we played. We had a week to practice, basically twice about 3 hours at a time. There wasn’t much to do about Sunny or Hotel California and all the rest of the old classics that are just boring me to death. So what could I do about them?

I talked about this before, tell the story. Right, but how? How can I find meaning in Sunny? To whom should I sing and about what? It’s a song about being thankful, okay. I get that, but how do I implement that into my emotions? And nope, it doesn’t mean vocal acrobatics. It means conveying what you feel, if you feel anything. So I had to dig deep, with a shovel, and no I didn’t succeed with Sunny. At the gig, I just sang the melody and hoped that it would be over soon. And yeah, I hope I’ll never have to sing it again. But…The thing is that I don’t think I should give up on it so “easily”.  I should go back to Sunny and dig even deeper. How can I make it my own? I don’t know yet.

Some songs that I sing in my cover band are not chosen by me and frankly I would never choose them because they don’t speak to me. There is no connection between the songs and my emotions. So the next step would be to find that connection, no matter what is thrown at me or you. That’s real professionalism.

I loved the fact that there were three actors in the singing course. They have this ability, I’m sure they put a lot of effort to achieve it, to embrace whatever song is given to them. They can’t say, oh no, I’m not singing this, I don’t feel it. They’d be out of a job pretty soon.

I don’t know, maybe I should take up acting or whatever. I do think that I need to dig deeper and try to find connection to any song.

And well sometimes, there is too much connection, too many feelings, like with the song below. Have to find balance. But, if you feel nothing, the audience will feel nothing too. So maybe it’s better to feel too much than nothing.