Mama, Don't Make Me Sing
Here's the thing about singing: I LOVE to sing. "I'm using the word 'LOVE' here." (name that Jack Nicholson reference). Not hyperbole.
The Voice Memos on my phone is 15% audition dialogue and 85% my musical catalogue. My shower is my booth, my living room is my stage, my car... forget about it. It's a concert. My mother sings, my grandmother sings, one of my brothers sings. Fun fact: my father was once on the Apollo. (He never had a chance... You can't follow an ATROCIOUS gospel singer who's used up all of the audience's available patience and expect to get through a whole bar of a Fair Weather Friend by Johnny Gill if you're not Johnny Gill *rolls eyes*). Anyway.
You get my point. But I'm not really a singer. I sing. But I learned the hard way (from a brutal experience with a director) not to call myself a singer. I can't belt. I have short breath control and my range is about as short as Angela Rye's patience for that bullshit. But ask me to sing a jazzy something or other, a classic, or a bluesy standard and I will be all over it... That is, if it is me actually asking myself to sing for moi and no one else is listening. And I'll be damned if I'm not constantly asked to sing. It's my personal version of hell to be asked to sing for something important. Or heaven forbid a performance!
So, I have worked very hard to control what can only be explained by the worst version of stage fright I have known (outside of that one time when I couldn't remember the rest of my routine for a gymnastics recital at 7 years old.) My new response to the cringe-worthy, "Can you sing?" is now: "Yeah, I sing a little and dance a little."
And last night I sang a little. In fact, I created a melody for what will be something between a song and a chant for our Hollywood Fringe Festival show The Goddesses Guide: Adura for the Women of African Diaspora. I steadied my nerves, dropped the key, and used all of the power my little diaphragm could muster. And you know what? It sounded pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.
Pray for me though...
enisha b jane
In my own words.