What's UP from Wyoming, USA

Hello fellow students. I have been singing for about 40 years unless you count earlier as a toddler singing Carpenter's songs from my parents' LP ("Top of the World" - badly). I started singing in church, then different plays, events and gatherings. There was a long period of time when I kind of forgot about singing until 7th grade when our US History assignment was to recite the Star Spangled Banner- but if you had the nerve to SING it, you got extra credit. I not only sang it, but it seemed so mind-blowing to the other students that we were talking about it after class, and just messing around I bellowed out some operatic note Pavarotti-style. This was so amusing to the other students that some laughed, and some were just dumbfounded. The next couple of weeks I'd get stopped all the time by different students asking me to do the note. I had been all but invisible before that. There were some cruel ones too though, and one time after I delivered the note, I was rewarded with a punch to the gut that doubled me over on the restroom floor. I've taken licks over singing more than once, but the positive always outweighed the rest. I was in Boys Chorus, then A Capella in high school. I was proud to sing at our Sweetheart's Ball in 1988, a lower key of Peter Cetera's, "The Glory of Love".

I had some dark times in my twenties that were made bearable when I was introduced to Karaoke, and I've been a fanatic ever since. I think it is supposed to be pronounced "CRACK-ee?" I'm a huge fan of variety, and the prospect of so many different songs and styles of music is irresistible. I enjoy trying to mimic different artists while also looking for my own style, especially for songs from the 80's. Sadly, some that I most want to sing seem completely out of reach unless the key is lowered like Cinderella, Skid Row, Guns 'N Roses, Scorpions, Def Leppard, and other Glamrock giants, as well as Metallica- well, actually, up until I watched some of Ken's YouTube videos, I was pulling off "Unforgiven" , "Whiskey in the Jar", and "Enter the Sandman" - but he scared the hell out of me about distortion. Now I've substituted Operatic bellowing for the scratchy parts. Some people say it sounds totally normal. Ok.

I was SEVERELY disillusioned here very recently, and probably a bit depressed when I was first elated to find out about a karaoke collaboration app called Smule Sing. It is so shocking to have years of karaoke performances behind you before you really get a chance to listen to how you really sound on the other side of the speakers. I HATED how my voice sounded! I hated how pitchy I was, how inconsistent I was in the volume and quality of held notes, and often how crackly or "hootie" I sounded (no offense Darius Rucker). It also became very clear how pure and clear other singers on Smule sounded compared to me. It made me very discouraged- to a point where I suddenly found myself having to push myself to sing purely just because it has always been an enjoyable outlet. In fact, I was at a bar in Deadwood, SD last night, a karaoke night, and for the first time in my life I was actually gripped by a horrid anxiety about singing. The only things I could hang onto was knowing how much I enjoyed it in the past, how much positive mileage I had gotten out of it, and how I had always managed to make it off of stages alive. I am happy to report that I sternly told myself to "hold my beer" and delivered John Mellencamp "Hurts so Good", followed by David Allen Coe "You Never Even Called Me by My Name", and bidding everyone a goodnight with Garth Brooks "Rodeo". As I crossed the stage to leave a lady came up to me and told me she wanted to let me know that she thought I sang really good. Those are the moments that keep me coming back.

All of this is what has led me to this course. I want to be a great singer. I don't care how old I am, or that I'm probably already above average. I want to get really good- like some of those on Smule that were an ice water wake up call to how much I COULD be. Maybe even love the way I sound. I have hope. I've unfortunately learned one thing since starting this course- I can't do one damn sit-up! I hope that there are some suggestions on constructively working up to where I can get through that exercise. I can't be the only one, right?

Here are some examples of some of my Smule Sing performances/collaborations:

Gary Jules- "Mad World" (Low) : https://www.smule.com/c/2288498339_3334463823

Josh Turner- "Your Man" (Low) : https://www.smule.com/p/2288498339_3329103018

David Allan Coe- "You Never Even Called Me By My Name" (Tessitura?) : https://www.smule.com/p/2288498339_3327145446

Olivia Newton John- "I Honestly Love You" (HIGH- and don't judge me- it was New Years!) : https://www.smule.com/p/378139297_3333725995

Metallica- "Unforgiven" (Operatic) : https://www.smule.com/p/1538513317_3333495602

. . . sorry this got so long- I guess what Ken says is true- music is our own story. Thanks for letting me share my own in this intro. If anyone reading this is on Smule Sing, feel free to follow me. I'm ScrffyCrmujn there too. Happy singing everyone!


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