The first time I ever sang karaoke was my senior year After Prom Party. I sang "One Moment in Time" by Whitney Houston. I loved it. When I was 21, I started going to a local bar for karaoke every Tuesday. My husband at the time would play pool and I would sing. I usually picked the big ballad-type songs. Some of the songs I was known for early on were, "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion and "Broken Wing" by Martina McBride. People liked to hear me sing. People would request songs here and there. I sang "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan one night so I could have a recording of it for my Granny.
Side story: My Granny loved to hear me sing. She was my biggest fan. Every year for her birthday and Christmas, she didn't want me to buy a gift. She wanted me to give her a tape of me singing. I'd always ask her what songs she wanted to hear. "Angel" was one of the songs.
Back to our regularly scheduled program:
So, I'm singing "Angel" and when I finish a lady walks up to me and compliments me. She then asks me if I would be willing to sing it at her father's funeral. He had just passed that day. I was floored. I had never been asked to sing a funeral. I really hadn't been to many funerals either. How was that supposed to work?!? I told her I would do it. She gave me the details. She offered to pay me. I told her she didn't need to. I went to the funeral and sang my one song. She thanked me profusely, hugged me several times and insisted I take $100. I remember how weird it felt to take her money. But at the same time I was really excited. I JUST GOT PAID TO SING!
When I said that I went every Tuesday to karaoke. I meant EVERY TUESDAY! The only times I missed were the week before and after my daughter was born...that's it! Up until now, I had sang everything in a pretty choir-type voice. That's what I had always known, so that's what I did. After a few years, I realized that they didn't really sound like that on the radio, so I wanted to change it. It all started with one song, "Sin Wagon." There was a gal that was a regular at karaoke. She sang this song one night and I fell in love with it. It's by the Dixie Chicks. I had the CD for months already but never really gave it a good listen. One day, I sat down in my living room and I was determined to learn it and sing it right. And I did. This was when I found "my" voice. Gritty, dirty and powerful.
"Sin Wagon" became MY song. People would ask me to do it every week. Even people that don't like country music! After finding my voice, I had a brand new confidence! I could tackle almost anything now.
I started entering karaoke contests. Some I won, some I placed top three. The majority of contests were popularity based. So while, I may not have won the contest, I no doubt had their attention.
Tune back in for the final installment of My Vocal Journey: The Evolution of Noisy Neighbors!
Sunday, January 6, 2013
I started choir in 7th grade. Ms. McGee was my teacher. She always commented on my perfect posture in class. I was regarded as one of the better singers here too. She would make us hold out notes and tell us they needed to sound "rich, like a hot fudge sundae." It's something I think about when I'm singing still to this day. I continued in choir in 8th grade with Mr. Carr. I was allowed a few solo lines in songs.
My freshman year of high school, I was in Women's Chorus with Mrs. Mackey. Who would become known as Ma Mackey as I went on to Concert Choir, Honors Choir and Rebelaires (the show choir). I spent at least two hours a day in her class. Add to that evening performances for Rebelaires and then also the musicals that she directed. She was my second mother. I was frequently chosen for solos. I also sang the National Anthem for several basketball games and sang at a few pep rallies too. This is where I really started to stand out from the others. I wasn't popular by any means, but people knew me because I could sing.
I contemplated going into music for a career. I had always hoped that I would be singing along to the muzak in a store and some big name record exec would sign me right then. Of course, that didn't happen.
Stay tuned for the next blog where I talk about my karaoke days and where that lead.