I love music because it’s challenging. It’s quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve done.
For example, yesterday I took a stab at lead vocals for the cover I’m recording. I was singing along to Stone Temple Pilots in my car earlier and my voice felt good and warmed up.
My approach is to take a section at a time, do 3-4 takes, splice together the best bits. But as I was listening to the takes, two things bothered me.
First, my intonation was off, and there were some phrases where I was consistently off that amongst my 3-4 takes none sounded good.
And more importantly, all my takes just sounded “blah.” There was no feeling to it. It reveals my immaturity as a singer, in that I may be hitting the notes and saying the words, but it expresses nothing.
We take it for granted but good singers pour out their heart when they sing. They are comfortable enough with the technical aspect of the singing that when they sing they focus on delivering the feeling of the song. That’s why singing and acting go together, and musical theater has some of the best singers in the world.
I come from Japan, where we cover up our true feelings and make nice and fit in. Can I switch my gear and pour it out when I open my mouth, what I’m so used to hiding? Noooooo.
It’s not that there’s no hope in me, but I am just underdeveloped in this area. Music is a life-long pursuit. I have to sing more often (not just when I’m recording), play the guitar more often, put my time in. My daughter sings constantly nowadays, she’s so in love with musical theater. I’m still trying to get over the limiting belief that I got, where I believed that what I love to do I can only do so in hiding, when nobody else is looking.
But beyond that I need to stay focused on the point of all this. We make art to FEEL something. And nobody feels anything unless someone first expresses honest, true feelings. It’s not a demonstration of a skill. It’s more like learning to laugh from you belly because you feel joyful. Or learning to cry in front of strangers. I’m not comfortable doing that, I just stick to the acceptable middle and keep my thoughts and feelings to myself.
But I’m working on it. I’ll get better.