So last weekend my best friend got married in an amazing ceremony. I was so privileged to be there and felt honoured to be his best man also. If you recall in a past post, I mentioned that I would be singing the first dance song for my friend. I also told you that I was scared about doing this due to the feelings that I had attached to singing in public.
As the day drew closer, I felt like I wanted to back out and make excuses and I did have a real opportunity to do so. We couldn’t find an instrumental or backing track anywhere for the song that he wanted. I then had a decision to make. I could have decided to leave it at that and put it down to bad luck. However, when I confronted myself, I knew this was not the truth. I was going to use this as an excuse to not perform. I was trying to run away from it all in my head. I had to remember that what I was doing was in fact not for me but my friend. He had wanted this moment and expected it to happen and so I could not let him down.
I went on to you tube to look for options and stumbled across the website audacity that allows you to edit song tracks. I taught myself how to remove the vocals from a song and created my own instrumental to use. With that done, all excuses were out of the way.
The best lesson I learnt through this experience came two nights before the wedding itself. I practiced in front of my wife and she said that it was good. Ten minutes later whilst I was cooking in the kitchen, she came in and basically said that I could sing the song far better than I was.
“What’s wrong with what I’m doing?” I asked. I was hurt, but also curious.
“You’re not being yourself when you are singing it” she said. “You did it better the other day.”
“Alright then.” I responded defensively and I carried on with my cooking. I didn’t speak for the next ten minutes and was left to stew alone in the kitchen about what my wife had said. I appreciated her feedback because I knew she would tell me the truth. I was now also completely terrified. I felt like I wasn’t ready to do the song and that I would not be very good. All my old conditioning was kicking in. However, within these ten minutes, all the work that I have been putting in to becoming my best self kicked into play. I replayed what Annemarie had said and confronted the truth. She was right. I wasn’t performing the song to the best of my ability and I knew why. I was over-thinking the whole thing and did not allow myself to interpret the song authentically as myself. She had basically called me out for being cowardly when I was singing and this was true.
“I want to do it again for you after dinner” I said to Annemarie. I knew what to do this time. I had to be present when singing the song and stop having an inner monologue going on in my head. I had to connect with the emotion of the song and become vulnerable. I basically had to show myself.
When I performed the song this time, I forgot about where I was, the time and my fears and I threw myself completely into those 4 minutes as if they would be my last. After my last note, I looked to Annemarie and her reaction was written all over her face. She grabbed me in the tightest hug.
“That’s more like it!” she said. I had known in my heart that I had done it this time, because I felt in total alignment. All aspects of who I am came together and I committed my body, mind, heart and spirit to the song. It is this alignment that makes all the difference.
I knew I was prepared to perform at the wedding, and when the moment came, I produced one of the best vocal performances of my life.
My wife and younger brother were all moved to tears as were other members of the wedding party. I received tons of praise from people who wanted to show appreciation for what I had done and I was grateful to everyone for their kind words.
I connected deeply with the song and was motivated by the opportunity I had to create a wonderful memory for my friend. He told me afterwards that it was one of the greatest moments of his life. Adding that kind of value to someone is one of life’s greatest gifts. I learnt so much from the experience, and it has accelerated my personal growth no end. I also felt the power of doing work that is completely congruent with your character. I could have sung all night and people did ask me to, but I had done what was necessary. I will now ensure that I have music in my life daily to raise my spirits and revive that part of my personality that I let lie dormant for so long. I am a singer, and should always sing. It was a crime to not let my light shine. I won’t make that mistake in the future.
My fear of singing in public is now cleansed. I’ve realised that my perception of singing from when I was a teenager was a false paradigm that I had carried around until last week. Now I see singing as a way of expressing my true self. I also see it as fun and uplifting.
Do what scares you, and it will no longer have power over you. You can and will find a way to overcome. That was what I learnt.
Let your light shine.
I wish you the best