In my last blog post about having laryngitis, I referenced Mariah's tagline of sorts from The Emancipation of Mimi album: "The Return of the Voice." I'd venture to say that hers never left, but mine certainly did in the most literal sense. I said it would return, but for days after that I was actually afraid that I'd never be able to sing again. Turns out that I could care less about talking. When I was crying on my partner's shoulder late at night, it was about the singing. I was really, really afraid.
It had nothing to do with anything professional... It was about the idea of never being able to sing ever again. Never matching the vocals of my favorite songs, never singing along with the radio in the car, never writing a song without somebody else to sing the lyrics for me. On that base level, even if I never achieve anything professionally in music, I need to sing. I've spent a lot of the last few years not singing, and in those moments without a voice, I really had serious regrets about that. Time wasted not enjoying the one thing that makes me feel alive. I can apply that to quite a few things really, but singing is probably first on the list. I don't want to live my life that way anymore.
I never took the time to learn how to sing properly as a kid. As I got older I learned about healthy technique but I never really practiced it. All I cared about was hitting the notes, so if I had to push hard to get there, it didn't matter to me. Hopefully I didn't do too much damage in those years. I won't know for sure until I go to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat specialist) and really get it all checked out. What I do know is...
Today I started with some vocal exercises and then I tried very quietly singing Gravity by Sara Bareilles, and all the notes were there. I'm not even going to attempt to go into Mariah territory until I'm fully recovered from this, totally hydrated, and back to my old self (or maybe better than my old self), but I know that the important notes are still there. The embellishments don't turn out to be as important when you find yourself completely without a voice. I'll never take it for granted ever again. And I'll never strain it ever again. Ever.
I'm off to start the first of the new keyboard lessons I'm taking... Step one in the process of actually getting into the business side of songwriting instead of just writing songs quietly, privately, and completely unnoticed. I've tried collaborating with others in the past, and it's been a learning experience every time, but I also walk away from it feeling hindered by my own lack of ability when it comes to actually playing music. I can play decently by ear but I'm so limited. Just like with singing, I've never taken the time to learn how to do it properly. And there's so much to be said for learning how to do something the right way. Time to stop typing and start practicing.