11. I'm a good singer. Sometimes I'm surprisingly good (at least to me.) Growing up in a home with a hippie mom, attending a Pentecostal church with my grandparents and going to mostly African American elementary and middle schools, I was surrounded by and influenced by various musical styles. My real exposure to music, however, was at church.
At church I got to experience music and participate. Music at a Pentecostal church is not empty and distant, it's full and present. It interacts with all of your emotions, whipping you into a frenzy or pulling the fibres of your heart to the snapping point, and beyond. Is this healthy? Not always, but it's a great way to really learn about music and about what music means to the human soul.
Although surrounded by music, I was not trained in music as a child. I was never in band at school. I'm not sure why. I can't remember anyone ever asking me if I wanted to be in band or making the offer. I guess I just thought band was for other kids, not for me. It just passed me by. Before I got into singing, I got into rapping. (Go ahead and laugh. It's an appropriate response.) In high school I thought of myself as a rapper, but I would rather have been a singer, except that I had no idea that I could sing. I first became aware of myself as a singer when I was eighteen and in South America. Someone said, "Hey, you're a great singer," and I thought, "Really?" When I got back home, my church friend Drew, who was a musician (we had a lot of musical talent in our church,) heard me sing and was like, "Dude, you've got a great voice. When did that happen?" "In Paraguay," I said.
After that, singing was a big part of my life, but only through my church experience. In college I was in Christian youth bands. Then I was a music minister for a couple of churches in my twenties. I sang with groups and did solo performances and had a lot of fun. Now that I'm not a minister, and in fact am hardly involved in religion at all, I don't really have a context for musical expression. We attend a Methodist church semi-regularly, but I have no interest in the - to be brutally honest - soulless music they perform. I feel a little hypocritical singing church songs these days anyway, since I really don't believe what I'm singing. I'd like to find an outlet for singing outside of the church, but society doesn't make that very easy. I'm not young and cool and attractive. I'm just a portly, aging dude who likes to sing. So, I sing in the shower. I sing in the car. I even sing in the office a little. That's probably going to be the extent of my illustrious singing career.
Hello, friends. How are you today?