So, I’ve realised that I haven’t written a blog where I just say what’s on my mind for a while, and I think that’s part of the reason I’ve fallen behind with blogging. I think I just needed to be re-inspired. If you follow me on Twitter you may, or may not, know that I recently graduated from university. I didn’t blog much during my final year due to work-load, and since graduating I’ve been taking some time off to just relax and wind down after three years of trying so hard and constantly working towards deadlines. But we’re getting off track here.
For those of you who don’t know, the initial thing that drew me to a career in the music industry was my love for singing. As a child through to my teen years, whenever I was asked what I wanted to be my reply was always ‘singer’. However, I was always taught that it was important to have a career, something to fall back on just in case singing didn’t work out. I studied music at both GCSE and A-Level, both of which had performance elements, though I’ve never been confident with singing, it’s something that I loved doing and it meant so much to me that I kept it close to my chest; scared to put myself out there.
The one and only time I threw caution to the wind was my 16th birthday, I had a band play at the party and I got on so well with all of them that they ended up pulling me up to sing. Sharing the stage with, and having the support of like-minded people, I felt so comfortable that I just let go and let the music and the moment take over. And I have no regrets because it was the most fun and most alive I’d ever felt.
As a requirement of studying music at A-Level I started to have singing lessons too. This saw my confidence grow slightly but I never felt completely comfortable, I felt like there were still things I didn’t get, I didn’t understand what suited my voice, I felt like I was being taught rather than worked with. My lack of confidence combined with the fact that my personal experience studying music at A-Level wasn’t great, kind of killed my want to perform for a while. I didn’t think I could do it.
During A-Levels I became so stressed, for lots of different reasons, that I started to question whether I wanted to continue with them. It was around this time that I decided that I wanted to be a music journalist; getting paid to go to gigs and write about them seemed like something I’d love. But I’d recently been to a university boosters day and a lot of the reps I spoke to had said ‘do you want to be a journalist? then why are you doing a journalism degree?’ I thought it was a trick question but I was told that most places want people with experience, not people thinking they were qualified just because they have degrees. So, I was anxious about the fact that I didn’t have any experience and I didn’t want to spend my time working towards something without any, because I could put in all this work and end up hating it. So, I contacted some places for work experience, two of which happened to be my top picks; the one’s you think ‘there’s no way I’m going to even get a reply to this’ but there’s a part of you that always hopes. Kerrang! and NME. Yet, weirdly enough, Kerrang! and NME were the ones that ended up getting back to me and offering me placements. (and yes, I did finish my A-Levels.)
I did my placement at Kerrang! and absolutely loved it. I got on really well with Katie P (‘Introducing’ editor) and she ended up giving me writing practice, sending me old transcripts of interviews and having me write them up in the ‘Introducing’ style. She even sent one of my pieces to a member of the band, and he raved about it, which was great for me. When I left K! I’d pretty much decided that music journalism was the direction I was headed in.
Having not sang for two years, and after becoming comfortable with my housemates and singing around the house with them, during my second year of university I realised how much I enjoyed, and missed, singing. I managed to find a place close to where I lived that offered pretty cheap lessons, and went there for nearly a year. I finally felt like I was being worked with, and as a result my confidence grew and I felt more like I understood my vocal ability; what I could and couldn’t do, what suited my voice, and that, with a bit of nurturing, I was pretty good.
Fast-forward to now, after months of singing in front of my computer whilst doing work, the passion for and want to perform slowly started building again. I realised that all I want to do is perform, I want that moment from my 16th birthday back/again. Now I’m at the point where I just want to go for it. What have I got to lose? It’s something I enjoy and I know I’m not the worst singer in the world, why not right? Queue my first audition.
I don’t really want to go into detail about the audition its self, it’s more about what it made me realise. Admittedly, I let the nerves get to me and I was pretty awful. I could hear it in my voice as soon as I started but by then I’d committed to it. However, the experience did make me realise a few things. One being, that even though it didn’t go well I’m glad that I didn’t bottle it and I actually went, because that’s proof that in some way my confidence has grown; because I believed that I could do it enough to go, instead of sitting at home taking the safe option. I’m proud of myself for that because a year ago I wouldn’t have even thought about going to an audition, I would have wanted to, but I would’ve let the nagging doubt hold me back.
The second thing is that, I don’t want to do it that way; on my own. I would rather fall into a band with some like-minded friends and just have fun, as opposed to putting all the pressure on myself to sound ‘perfect’ by someone else’s standards, whether it be technically, or in regards to a specific genre etc. I’d rather be hanging out with friends, sharing the weight, knowing that we respect each other enough to spur each other on, not to put pressure on one another. No singer or musician is ever perfect. Music shouldn’t be about that, it should be about having fun and doing it for the love of music, because it makes you feel alive and it makes you happy, rather than striving to ‘be’ something that a small group of people define as good enough. Be you, do what you love and everything will fall into place. As one of my favourite vocalists, Alex DeLeon, once said “When I was 15 I got kicked out of a band for not being good enough. So I started The Cab. never give up. you ARE good enough. fight for it.”
I was always going to continue with the journalism side of things, and right now that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to stop singing and I now know what I need to work on, but I’m not going to put pressure on myself, I’m just going to have fun with it and see what happens. As it should be.
“There’s so much pressure that people are, especially girls, are afraid to do something and be bad at it and I think that doing it is more important than how fucking good you are…And I think that if more people just tried, just simply tried, it’s not about being good or bad, it’s about having the courage to put yourself out there and that’s the difference.” – LynZ Way (Mindless Self Indulgence)