Friday, October 26, 2007

I Miss Singing

When I was in high school, I sang all the time, especially my senior year. I had 8 periods in my school day... and though I don't remember the order, I had music survey, music theory, solo voice, senior chorus, gospel chorus, English and Social Studies (depending on the day) and gym.

Of course, when I graduated I could do absolutely nothing, but I sang pretty well.

I went to work at the now long-defunct B. Altman and Company after high school, because Aunt Ellen (Aunt Sinah's friend) worked there in HR and she got me a job. I thought that I would be a singer, but back then it was the disco-moving-into-house-and-club-music era, in which I had no interest. I had some interest in musical theater, so I went to Nat Horne's musical theater group on West 42nd (back in the bad old days when Times Square was deliciously scary, and Theater Row actually had theaters on it) and tried to learn some jazz dancing (which I sucked at), some acting (which I sucked less at) and practiced my singing (which I did really well at).

I went to one audition... Maurice Hines was auditioning for something I'm pretty sure was called "Tropicana". It was an open casting call and every man, woman and transvestite within 200 miles of the Big Apple showed up. My voice cracked, I was nervous as hell and only managed a few bars of a Billie Holiday song before Maurice himself said "Thank you. NEXT!", and that was that. I never auditioned for Broadway again. But if I had a dollar for every JoeSchmo who said "you're gonna be a star! Bring me a demo" I'd be one rich beeatch. Too bad most of them were more interested in how I looked in a low cut gown or whether I could dance and smile at the same time. And I've always had an attitude problem; I once told an aspiring record producer/song writer "I would NEVER say that to a man" in response to some disco-sounding drivel about a woman wronged by a man. (Never mind the fact I actually HAVE said that to a man, but whatever. I was young.)

So, I stopped singing for a while and went to work, and only sang occasionally, usually on the alcohol-drenched sales department boat rides when I worked at MTV. But then I ended up on the Rock and discovered Karaoke. The bar out here had Karaoke on Tuesday and Saturday nights, but there was a very odd collection of Bronxites who could actually really sing. The beauty of Karaoke is the pre-recorded tracks, and if it was in my vocal range, I would try anything... GnR's "Sweet Child o' Mine" or the Beatles "Come Together" or Bonnie Raitt or Whitney Houston or Michael Jackson. And I rocked, if I do say so myself. I was best friends with a 6 foot tall blonde chick, who's about the only white girl I ever met who could sing En Vogue and mean it, and between the two of us we were the stars of the show. There were a few others... the guy who ran the Karaoke Show had an amazing voice, for one, but most other singers felt they sounded just like so-and-so, and so all they ever sang was so-and-so's songs. Whereas Blondie, KaraokeDude and myself would try anything.

That led to me and Blondie doing a few local bargigs with her psycho guitar-genius boyfriend, but I think he was actually jealous of the fact that when we sang, people forgot about his guitar-genius self, so that gig didn't last long.

Then the Sun came along. Blondie left the psycho and married some other dude and got too busy for me and my progeny, and my karaoke/bargig singing days came to a screeching halt.

The poor quality of the air in the Bronx, along with my allergies and asthma has done a number on my lungs, and lungs, like any other part of your body, need exercise. And I don't exercise at all... and I feel my voice failing me, which sucks. Sometimes, I even forget to sing... and I used to sing all the time, even in my sleep.

But I miss having songs to sing. I miss that power to stop a crowd (although I never had the desire to be a big star)... I miss singing.

2 comments:

Janet said...

It sucks to grow up and lose sight of your dreams. I realized that the other day in conversation with a friend regarding teaching our kids to follow their passions and giving them the tools to do it.

If you really miss it there are ways to bring it back into your life. Some simple and easy, and others not so much. The SUn is older. He has friends with whom he can spend the ight and you can find another good karaoke club :)

Go for it! Find yourself!

The Bear Maiden said...

Thank you darlin'. Sometimes, you don't really realize you miss something right away, and that's sort of what happened. But now that I realize it, I've actually been thinking of ways to bring it back...