So, remember when I said in my last post that a big event was coming up for me? On Saturday that day had finally come, so I no longer can keep it a secret. I’d only told 3 people about it beforehand and I chose them wisely. Because I knew they would get it. Or at least they wouldn’t break out in laughter or give me that strange look that says: „Maybe you should see a doctor about this!“ Because when you’re dealing with a challenge and you get to the point where you just want to quit because you feel like everything you’re doing is just not good enough (and trust me, you will get there eventually), the last thing you need is people standing in your way. What you do need is people who encourage you and help you to stay focused on your strengths and your goals. And I’m lucky to have such people in my life, even if they’re rare!
But enough with the epilogue, here’s the story: A while ago I put up an ad on some music-related websites looking for people to start a band project of some sort. As I’ve mentioned here before I’ve been working on writing songs (or rather lyrics + melody) lately and in the process somehow started to work on my voice, too. I have always loved singing. I remember sitting in the kitchen when I was about 4 years old singing each and every song out of my beloved children’s songbook while my Mum was washing the dishes. I couldn’t read yet, but me and my Mum had gone through this book so many times that I knew all the songs by heart. Later I sang in the school choir (never liked it much though) and I discovered that singing depressing love songs actually made being lovesick a little less painful. When I lived in Japan Karaoke was my most favourite hobby, by far. I would have done it on a daily basis if I could have afforded it. My personal Karaoke record was 5 hours of straight singing with just one other person and it was one of the best nights of my life. So yeah, singing has always been something I’ve enjoyed and had a lot of fun with. So I thought looking for people who enjoy music as much as I do and want to create something together would be a fun thing to do.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get as many responses on my ad as I’d hoped for. And the ones I got weren’t exactly what I was looking for (electric Ukulele, anyone?). But then I received an e-mail that caught my attention. It was from a band who was looking for a new singer and they thought my ad sounded interesting. I called the guy who had sent me the message and we had a nice chat. He told me a little about the band and their plans. When the words studio, live gigs and video fell, I felt the need to set some things straight. I told him that I had never sang for a band before, that the only experience I had was made in Karaoke bars and my living room. There was silence for a split-second. But then he said it was ok. He said they would like me to join them for a rehearsal. So I said yes. When I hang up the phone I was excited. And terrified. So, so terrified! I hadn’t even hoped for an opportunity like this in my wildest dreams. But now that it was right in front of me, I suddenly wasn’t so sure anymore if it was really what I wanted.
In order to prepare for the rehearsal, the band sent me 2 songs of theirs they wanted me to sing. They sounded good. Loud guitars and a pounding bass, just the way I like it. They sounded like a proper band. How was I supposed to fit into this picture? And how was I supposed to learn these songs in just a couple of days while being on numerous business trips and having to deal with a move on the side? But this was not the time to ponder. I had to either leave it or jump right into it. This was a chance I wasn’t likely to get again anytime soon. I hadn’t lied about my abilites, so the band knew what they were getting into. And I had nothing to lose really. So I practiced whenever I had the time to. The songs weren’t that hard to sing, I had some trouble hitting the deep notes due to the songs being written for a male voice. But I managed to give the best I could. When I told my guitar teacher about it, he more or less forced me to sing one of the songs to him. So I did and he gave me some great hints.
When I was on my way to the rehearsal, I was pretty nervous. The band members seemed pretty nice though. We chatted for a bit and I told them again that this was my first time ever singing with a band. They didn’t seem to bother that much and started playing 2 new songs to me that were still missing the vocal parts. It sounded great! Like a mixture of Green Day and Blink 182. But man, it was loud! Then it was my turn. We started with the first song. I started to sing at the right time – but I couldn’t hear myself. So I stopped and told them. They turned down the guitar’s volume a bit and we tried again. I was able to hear myself a bit better now, but still it sounded pretty weak even when I was singing from the top of my lungs. We finished the whole song and decided to try the second one, too. In this one the guitar was a little less prominent, but still my voice couldn’t quite break through the sound wall the other instruments created. I knew that I didn’t stand a chance right from the first sound I had uttered. And so did the guys. They were friendly though, offered me a beer and told me how they had to think about all the people they had played with today. They also made clear that they had big plans and that it would be hard for a complete beginner like me to catch up with them. They asked me if I wanted to sing something a capella for them, so I sang one of my songs. I think they actually used this as a distraction for me to make their decision because when I was finished they told me that they had decided against me. I said that I’d totally understand and asked them if they could give me any tips how to continue from here. They were really helpful and even offered to put up a flyer for me in the building they were rehearsing because they knew there were some bands around who were just starting out and probably a better fit for my current skill level.
I can’t deny that I was a tad disappointed when I was sitting on the train home. I mean, I had been pretty realistic about my chances right from the start. But to hear it said right to your face is a whole other story. The old me would have quit now thinking that there wasn’t any point in continuing something I obviously lacked talent for. The current me doesn’t though. The current me just thinks that I will have to work really hard, as hard as I can and beyond. And that everything happens for a reason. I learned a lot that day. I know my weaknesses now. I met some cool guys with great musical talent I hope I’ll be able to see performing on stage some day. And above all: When I was standing there with the mic in hand singing from my heart, I was being me. The real me! And I definitely want to be that person more often. So, yay me! 🙂