“To me, singing is easier than breathing. A skill I had to learn in my youth was how to NOT just be singing all the time. I wake up with an earworm (song stuck in my head) every morning, and any given phrase or tone might conjure a song from my throat, like a human jukebox. I am glad that I grew up in churches that put a heavy emphasis on singing, and on teaching the whole congregation how to read their parts. Singing with a group raises beautiful emotions!
My relationship with singing solo has been complex, with conflicting messages coming from inside and outside my home. A series of vignettes with varying weight: my sister pretending she didn’t know me in public restrooms (understandable, but who could resist singing in that delicious echoey space?); being asked to join the choir at every new church I attended; singing Rubber Ducky in 3-part harmony with my sisters while we washed dinner dishes; being chastised by my mom who thought my friend and I were trying to out-sing each other during devotions, simply because we have loud voices; qualifying for regional singing competitions and performances; my mom’s opinion of my university vocal career, “I just don’t understand why you’re doing this.”
Writing this biography has been a big step in liberating my psyche from the mixed messages and my mother’s attempts to make sure I don’t get a big head. I know she meant well, but every time I perform or someone asks me to, I feel like I’m clawing my way through a cloud: something inside me starts screaming that people will think I’m full of myself, that they’ll be inconvenienced by my attention-seeking. I try to tell myself instead that I love listening to musicians, and chances are, people will love listening to me sing! I try to tell myself that just because people pay attention when I sing, does not mean I’m “attention-seeking.” Eventually, the healthy, loving, celebratory messages will outshine the suppression of my youth. I’m grateful to everyone who has celebrated and encourages me to sing. I love working with the various groups and acts in Butte who include me, and I look forward to owning the stage more and more over time, for the enjoyment of all who can hear us.”