Growing up in Detroit in the ’70s and ’80s, I seem to have good Music and good singers around me all the time. Whether at church, home (Moms has a beautiful voice!), my uncle’s crib or listening to the radio, I would hear someone belting out some beautiful melodies. I too loved to sing but never really thought of myself as a singer…and was also too intimidated to sing around folks that I knew could really blow. I can still hear my mother saying, “Boy, you better get on top of that note!”, on the rare occasions I did sing a few lines.
As the years went on I got deeper into Music and started learning Bass guitar…but even though I took the road to becoming an instrumentalist, I still enjoyed singing (and continue to do so). I usually sing at home but have been known to get down to some Stevie Wonder in a local bar or karaoke spot. On more than one occasion, I’ve had people tell me, “Man, you got a good voice…”, however I would quickly turnaround and say, “Naaaah. If you hear so-and-so back home, you’d think I’m nothing!”
A few years ago during an impromptu Karaoke session with my man Bobby D., I casually said to him, “You know, my man…I really want to SING.” He replied with, “You’ve got a good voice. Why don’t you take some lessons with a pro to work on a few things?”
Well, after years of procrastination, I decided to do it.
Honestly, the thought of letting out my [singing] voice in front of pro was a bit nerve-racking. I had a couple of weeks to practice before the first session but was still crazy nervous on the day. After meeting at the studio, my teacher and I talked for a bit about what style of Music I like, what I want to sing, etc. He then schooled me on breath control which was followed by a series of breathing exercises to warm up (this also helped me calm down). We then moved on to some simple singing exercises so both he and I could see where my range was at. After doing this for a while I could hear my voice sounding like it never had before. It’s not like I was blowing down the house or anything but I could hear a bit more depth and harmony. At one point my teacher said, “I can hear a nice tenor in there!” We continued on for an hour and I got some great tips which I’m definitely going to put to use.
I’m still not quite ready to go our tour but my confidence is definitely building.
Next up…a group lesson in front of a bunch more people at a local live house.
This should be interesting…
Oh yeah, for folks in and around Tokyo that are looking for a great vocal coach, check out my man Ashton Moore. He’s a fellow Detroiter and performs regularly here…and is and damn good!