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Who am i, and why am i here?

Hi all!! I'm Andy. I'd like to introduce myself and give you a little story behind what led me here. I posted this on one of Kens videos on youtube, so i thought i would just cut and paste it here to save time LoL. Sorry, it's really long.

I went on a cruise not too long ago and volunteered for the talent show to sing My Way by Sinatra, as i had graduated from the esteemed college of singing in the car and karaoke and had performed it quite well i was confident that i could nail it. Down a glass of red wine, i got this. My first problem, i was overconfident.

My second problem was i didn't know the words to my song inside and out. Realising that this was not karaoke and there would be no words on a screen, i started to feel anxious. Not to worry I had wine, which was my karaoke wingman and unfailing support to my voice, and i had a few days to go before the show so i could get in a bit of practice and commit the words to memory. Only i didn't.

Third mistake, i didn't prepare well. I glanced a few times at the lyrics and listened to the song a few times, but all i could see was the audience of 500 odd people hearing me sing for the very first time without lyrics on a stage! So nothing sank in. Added to this i started practicing Music of the Night. as i knew this better than My Way. But my voice just wasn't working for Music of the Night, and i didn't want to change my song choice at the last minute for something i had never sung in public before!

Finally the day of the show arrived. All i could think about was "Don't stuff this up!!!" I was in a line near the stage seeing act after act of comedy routines and other songs. If you asked me one thing about any of those other acts i couldn't tell you anything because my mind was fixated on my anxiety. To the bar i went for another glass of fortitude in the form of a shiraz.

I was a fly wing thickness away from bailing out, but with some encouragement from my friends and some more wine i stayed in line. My friend went up before me and nailed his performance with another Sinatra number, which also made me start to feel a bit insecure an doubt my ability (More wine). That's right. My overconfidence had evanesced into a pungent vapor of extreme doubt and worry.

After a fourth glass of wine to calm my anxiety i got up there to sing. This was my first time in my adult life i ever sung in front of an audience of that size, around 500 people. I was on the stage, alone, in the spotlight and without wine. My knees felt weak and i gave a nod to a very talented pianist to start playing. I opened my mouth and the powerful confident voice that was my companion during many karaoke shows, was noticeably absent. My first thought was, "Is this mic on??" I then increased my volume but the quality wasn't there. After a few lines i started to worry about my lines, i started thinking "For god sake don't screw this up!!!", but i kept singing, my voice was weak, shaky and flat in a couple of spots and i mixed up a couple of words and even tried to correct myself mid line!!!!!

Finally my performance was over, the audience gave the obligatory applause as a form of consolation as i slinked off the stage and joined my friends who were giving me the thumbs up. My cruisemates thought i did a great job, but when i watched the video i cringed. I was like "What the hell happened???" "Who is this guy???". The person who chatted to the audience after a karaoke performance and had a laugh, rather sheepishly retreated to his quarters. After this i ran into a couple of passengers who had heard me sing karaoke and the first thing they said was "What happened??? You were a bit shaky up there". I made up some crap about not feeling real well or something like that.

Later on my fellow performer and i ran into an elderly gentleman who was a vocal coach, and asked my friend if he was planning on taking his singing further because he enjoyed his performance. He then started to give my friend some pointers to improve his singing. My friend pointed to me and said "He was up there singing as well" To which the old guy looked at me and simply said "Yes" Then continued asking my friend about his singing. I told my friend i would meet him at the bar when he was done.

My song choice was fine for my voice, but i was just not wearing my game shoes. So the embarrassing lessons i learned that day have led me here. I thought i was fine the way i was and that i could step up against any other singer on the boat, but no, i wasn't. I need to practice, i need to know my song inside and out, i need to learn control and breathing. And one thing i learned that day which was a smack in the face: I thought i was good enough, i will never be "good enough!" And i don't mean that in a self defeating negative way, i mean that in the way of, If i feel i'm "good enough" Then i stop trying, i stop practicing, i stop listening to advise, i stop noticing the amazing singers out there and learning from their talent. Accepting that someone is a better singer than me is not a bad thing, it's a motivator! Hopefully after applying some of the lessons Ken has so generously showed us, i will be able to sing in front of an audience without all the crap i went through.

So that's the long and short of it folks. I generally sing, Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Josh Groban that sort of thing. But now i have started going toward musical theater, 10th anniversary Les Miserables in particular (I think i can do an alright Javert). Haven't really done much rock, as i prefer the slower stuff.

But one nagging voice issue i have is that when i sing, you can tell it's me singing. I have a rather distinct voice. That is speaking voice. That's not necessarily a bad thing as my speaking voice isn't bad. But it's not what i think is a good singing voice. I'm rather self conscious about it and don't like my speaking voice gatecrashing my singing, so i really want to work on the quality of my voice timbre. I also get mild stage fright sometimes, which affects my voice and then i get even more anxious. Thankfully my hands don't shake when i'm holding the mic too much. So those are the 2 things i really want to work on. I'm not a bad singer, but i'm not real good either.

So any advice you lovely folks could give me would be so much appreciated! Thanks everyone!!

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