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Backstory Part 1: Music & Stage Fright

I think one of the main questions I get asked first by people is "Have you been singing your whole life?" or "Is this what you always wanted to do when you were little?" The answer is no and no. I didn't even know I could sing at all until I was in my mid-twenties. I couldn't play any instruments at all until a couple of years after that.

Growing up both of my parents always sang, together and separate, we just never did very much. I remember when we were little 2 or 3 times I sang a song with my sister at church, but it was like typical little girls at church singing! We just weren't really that interested in it.

As we got older that same sister would always tell me and everyone else how well I could sing, but I didn't believe her and it never clicked. When I started dating my now husband when I was 15 years old he would say it also, but I never listened to him either!

So I hit like 25ish and a family in our church decided to get blunt and said "You can sing, no really SING." and decided to help me. Problem was I had HORRIBLE stage fright. As long as my voice was buried in the midst of other voices I was fine, but if I tried anything by myself at all I would choke -BAD!

So many times I would try to sing and I would get so very sick before. I would be shaking terribly bad the whole time up there. I would do decent half way through then just bomb it and never, ever want to do it again.

For some reason I kept on trying....and trying...and trying.... finally I realized it was "mind over matter." Sounds so simple its kind of stupid but it really worked for me! I would tell myself "If you get nervous you mess up, so don't get nervous." I would start to get all shaky and sick before and I would just tell myself "Stop it, DON'T GET NERVOUS!" Eventually that started to help, but I was still awkward because I was having to work so hard to not be terrified!!

Then one day I was watching some performers in a contest and the ones that got up there and owned it- killed it, the ones that got up there nervous and timid -bombed, even if they were the ones with the better voices! Thats when it clicked how important being comfortable was. So I added that to my list of things to work on!

One Christmas my other sister was dating a musician and my mom got her a pink glitter electric guitar. I fell in love with it, and decided I had to learn to play guitar just so I could play that one! She never messed with it so I gave her $100 for it and used YouTube for lessons. I was hooked, but I have the attention span of a 5 year old when it comes to music so eventually I started picking up other instruments as well. I never have "mastered" any of them, but I get by! Guitar is still my favorite even though I have accepted that I will probably never be able to really shred and do killer solos and super tight rhythms, piano is fun, and mandolin I just love. I play around with bass just because, violin was not my thing and my kids were happy when I stopped working on it! I've been told recently to try ukulele I think I'm going to have to!

I started playing with a couple of guys, little gigs here and there and began singing at church more regularly and I started to get over all of my issues. It took a lot of self discipline and not giving up even when stepping off the stage if felt like I never, ever, EVER wanted to get back up there again. You pray hard through it then somehow suck it up and try again. Eventually you realize its actually pretty fun and not just a cruel way to torture yourself!!

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