I've been blog-quiet lately, but I guess that's sort of reflected my real vocal life.
Recording the tracks was amazing, but the next day, I felt exhausted. I hoped I was just tired, til I woke up Friday with a sore throat, runny nose, coughing, and aches and pains. I felt terrible! And it just went on and on for days. I eventually started to feel less pain and more energy, but my throat was still pretty messed up. I started keeping quiet as much as possible,
But, of course, in the "when it rains, it pours" phase of life, the last 3 weeks have also been busy with my new job - working for Ben Speer! Don't get me wrong - I have ZERO complaints about working for Ben. It's just awesome! First off, I get to spend my days talking to people about the Stamps-Baxter school, which I love! (the "talking" part being the only drawback - hard to keep quiet while talking!). Second, I'm getting to learn a lot about how to run a ministry, from the business side. I'm also learning a lot about the history of Southern Gospel music, through the history of the Speers. And third, I get to spend time with a living legend in SG music. One day, we're out for lunch, and an Elvis song comes on. Ben leans over and says, "Brock and I sang the harmonies on this one." Yes, with Elvis! For the next 20 minutes, I get the story of how Ben, the man I'm having lunch with, got to sing with Elvis Presley. Ladies and gentleman, welcome to my new job!
But back to the voice - I just tried not to speak at all for the first week. The second week, I started doing small vocalises (vocal exercises) each day. Simple stuff, like lip trills and humming. All this time, I kept listening to the tracks. I was given rough cuts the day of recording so I could have practice tracks. Even if I couldn't sing out loud, I kept listening so I could learn the tempo and the dynamics and the nuances of each song. Actually, this is probably a good exercise for every singer. You never really hear the song when you're singing along. Just stop singing, and listen to it. The more I listened, the more I fell in love with each track. They just sound amazing!
Now, it's my turn.
Not that I haven't been involved from the beginning, but the next few sessions are my responsibility - The Vocals!
Of course, I'm nervous! Did you think I wouldn't be? I've recorded before, but as I've stated many times, this is just so far above and beyond anything I've done. So, yes, nerves are definitely present. Twice this weekend, I've gone to drive somewhere I know, like the grocery store, and gone in the totally wrong direction! Yes, a little nervous.
But I'm also very excited! All the other stuff is great, and it's wonderful to see it all come together, but this is my arena now. This is what I'm good at - singing, song interpretation, having fun in the music, being emotionally open while I'm singing, delivering a message, making these songs my own.
Am I bragging by saying this? Maybe. But I also know I need to say it out loud, because, like all artists, I also have those nasty critic voices in my head ready to tell me I'm not good enough, not pretty enough, not talented enough. You artists know what I'm talking about. You can get a standing ovation from a thousand screaming fans, and that nasty critic voice will cut through the din with a quiet, but powerful, 'You don't deserve it".
The first time I did a solo recital, I was terrified. An opera singer at my church told me, "Remember, you love to do this!".
So that's what I'm doing tonight and in my prep time tomorrow: I'm remembering I LOVE to do this, I CAN do this, and I'm GOOD at doing this!
*deep breath* I'm also praying, and focusing on God. I went to church this morning, and it's left me grounded and inspired. I've had so many people, here and home, tell me they're praying for me, and that just gives me huge amounts of strength.
I'll remember those prayers, think of that love, know that I'm talented, and recognize the Savior who's brought me here.
And tomorrow, when those nasty fears threaten to rear their ugly heads, I'll remember David, grab 5 stones, put my sights on God, and run like crazy towards that giant.
But first ... tea, and a good night's sleep!