Friday, May 16, 2014

Don't Sell Yourself Short

I always think of myself as a guitarist, but people usually ask me to sing or write songs with them instead. I'm not complaining. I love doing those activities as well, but I'm still waiting for the day when someone calls me up and asks me to play guitar on their record.

I haven't done a huge amount of singing with other people aside from Dia. You always hear about siblings being able to harmonize naturally. I'd have to agree that family members do have that extra special touch when it comes to singing together. I don't know that it has anything to do with genetics though. I think it's more of a comfort thing. 

My friend, Jimmy, asked if I'd sing back up along with another lovely lady for his record release show. I said "yes". Of course I wanted to help out my friend. Also, I wanted to experience how singing with someone new would feel.

Since I've known that I was going to be helping Jimmy out, I've been practicing quite a bit on my own, trying to get comfortable with his material. 

As the day of our first practice drew near I began to feel a bit anxious. Am I going to be able to find the pitch when everyone is playing together? Is Jimmy going to like the harmonies I came up with? Will this new girl and my voices mesh well? 

All of these uncertainties coupled with stage fright had me rethinking my agreeing to sing during his show. 

Fortunately, I didn't back out of my commitment. I attended the first full band practice. Everyone in the room looked like they rolled straight off stage at a rock concert. I stayed hidden in the corner of the room after nodding hello to everyone when I got there. 

I heard them start playing one of the songs that I was supposed to sing on. I jumped up from my seat and stood behind an unoccupied microphone. I felt totally self-conscious. I had to close my eyes to focus on the words, pitch, and tone in a group full of serious musicians.

We practiced at the guitar player's house. His pretty girlfriend sat and listened on a fancy one-armed couch in the adjacent dining area. She held a glass of red wine in one pale hand, a wine bottle in the other she generously shared whenever anyone's glass emptied. She's a singer too, a good one. 

I thought I got through the songs o.k. No pressure. Sheesh! No one stopped mid-song to wag a finger at me and tell me I was doing it all wrong.

I had to slip out early as the band continued, so I waved goodbye to my boyfriend who plays drums for Jimmy. 

Later that night, over dinner, Nick told me that my singing inspired both the guitar player and his girlfriend, the wine caretaker. I almost choked on my fruit punch. "Yeah, they really dug it," he said. 

Spaghetti and steamed peas never tasted so good.

The next day Jimmy invited Maria and I over to his place to work on our vocals without the distractions of the band. Maria and I chatted about Atwater Village and over-priced farmer's markets while Jimmy took his guitar out of its case and tuned up. 

As Jimmy started the first song, I sat up on the edge of my seat and stuck my hands in between my knees to keep them from shaking. 

Some of you are probably wondering why I'm so nervous since I've been singing for almost a decade. Firstly, I took a three year break from music. Secondly, these were new people, not the five members of Meg and Dia who I consider family. Also, I think I've mentioned this several times before on my blog, I will NEVER not be afraid of performing.

Immediately after we sang the first lyric, I realized I could have skipped all the "doubting myself" crap. Mine and Maria's voices sounded fantastic together. We even worked out a bunch of new parts that I think will really add to Jimmy's set. I memorized all the words and never drew a blank. Also, I think I've found a new hiking buddy!

Singing those songs with Maria like a champ felt like a big accomplishment, a step in the right direction for my self-esteem and musical aspirations.

If any of you ever feel like I did, not knowing if you are up to a challenge, or good enough, or whatever, I challenge YOU to believe and trust in yourself a little more.

I think you'll be surprised.



  1. Harmonizing successfully is one of the most satisfying feelings. Especially when you feel and hear it click with the other person's voice. Loved this blog! I am the Queen of double-guessing myself when it comes to sharing my talents, thanks for the encouraging words!

  2. Never any doubts with your fans, or people who admire you! And warning... If I ever recorded again... You and Nick would be begged and pestered to play on it! And if that didn't work I'd mortgage my home again to pay,haha.

    Unrelated recurring thought: Do you guys from M&D actually know how great you were and are?! Maybe not in the moment, but retrospectively? From a musicians musician... I am still amazed every time I have a listen!

    Waiting for Summer...

  3. I love you I'm so happy you're singing again