Adele, the singer, and I have a few things in common.
A. The obvious – we share the same name. Along with my 93 year old grandmother, Adele, The Original.
B. Adele, the singer, has fabulous nails and is known to WERK her hands.
I work with my hands too…
C. Adele sang the enchanting theme song for Sky Fall.
I had a small part promoting the Bond-inspired manicure.
Lastly, Adele and I like to sing. However, her voice is exquisitely expressed while mine has been silenced for decades.
We don’t share the same inhibition when it comes to singing. As Adele belts out her beautiful voice to the world, winning countless Grammys, and most recently signing a record-breaking $130 million contract with Sony, I have been scared to sing publicly since I can remember.
It all started when I was 5, and sang Rhinestone Cowboy in front of my big Italian family. Despite having difficulty remembering what I did last weekend, that particular memory is burned forever into my psyche as the first feeling of, ‘What the f*ck am I doing?! Get me out of here!’
At first, I was excited to sing, but as soon as all eyes were on me and it was time to PERFORM, I’ve never felt more uncomfortable in my entire life –granted I’d had a short span at that point, but still. For decades since, I’ve done everything to avoid that feeling.
Well…there was that one time I decided to make my second solo singing debut in front of three thousand people at my high school GRADUATION.
I only had one line in the song – Be A Lion, but when my moment came, I looked up at the crowded stands, freaked out and froze. The young voice of my inner critic, Choid chimed softly in my ear: “This moment will change your life forever (not in a good way).” Sure enough, my voice cracked under pressure.
Suddenly, my mouth and throat were no longer connected to my body. The notes came from somewhere, though not from the same voice that had rehearsed hours before.
I may’ve been 18, but I felt 5 again.
After college, I recorded a few songs with a music producer. Yet I was still too shy to get on stage so I told only a few friends, and had them promise to keep my singing a “secret”.
I’ve always been more comfortable in choirs and the chorus. In groups, I could put my whole heart into small parts, supporting the soloist stars to shine.
Or praising the stars and sky…
The thought of being in leading role TERRIFIED me. Not because I didn’t feel I had it in me…but because I was afraid to be seen, Out There on My Own, like my early idol, Irene Cara. What would they think? Would I be too much? Would I be enough? Would I let myself down…again?
My shrink says I have “visibility issues”. Hence, a career where I can hide behind my hands has come in handy.
I won’t go into detail about the insecurities that led me to be so stuck. I don’t want to give these fears any more power than they’ve already had in my life.
I’m sick of being scared. I’m not even sure anymore what scares me or WHO IS the big bad bully out to steal my self-esteem. I’m done bowing down to bullies (inner and outer).
If I was kicking out of the chorus line of life anytime soon, singing solo would be on my bucket list. Not because I want a singing career (clearly I never did)… but simply because I refuse to live (or die) full of fear.
It’s been years since I’ve sang (even privately), but last week I signed up for a singing class with the lovely Julia Holland and told my husband Chris to bring his camera. We made a video where I celebrate a singer who always rocks my soul – my inspiration, the great Adele Adkins.
Heck, I figure if I can finally fart in front of my husband, I can sing in front of people.
Here goes folks…
This one’s for my cat.
If you’ve hidden some part of yourself, come out in the comments section below. I’d love to hear!
With every part and all my heart,