Greetings, my family of singers. Today’s article is more of a reflection than my typical singing tips, but something within me told me I should share it, so I hope you don’t mind lending me your ear.
I had one of the most interesting performances of my life a couple of days ago. Most of you know, I don’t really go out and perform anymore to speak of since I dedicated myself to coaching nearly 10 years ago, but this was a very special occasion… my grandmother’s funeral.
I grew up in a house with my mother, my sister, and my grandmother, Mama Lee. She was a beautiful soul who was both kind and giving. I often referred to her as my second mother.
Random, but strong memories of her include arriving home from school to the sweet smell of a bundt cake, her hosting family gatherings ensuring we all had an excuse to get together and catch up, and every time we’d go out in her car, we’d listen to Don Ho, since his cassettes were the only ones she’d ever buy.
**for those of you who are too young to know what a cassette is, google it :-p
I was very close to her growing up, so memories ran deep when I arrived at the grave site with my guitar in hand. Naturally, a part of me didn’t want to do this… it was going to be hard. But this was one of the few things she ever asked of me, so come hell or high water I was going to make it happen!
Suffice it to say that the performance went well. My younger second cousin even got up and played guitar to accompany me for the second song we did, which was super cool. Which brings me to what I really wanted to say…
There are many things fighting for your attention in the world. As singers, we may be chasing after fame, praise, or simply self expression. Whatever it is you happen to be chasing, I really encourage you not to lose sight of two things: family and helping others.
Be there for your family. Love them. Care for them. When you need to, forgive them. They aren’t perfect, and neither are you, but you can still be there for each other in the best way you know how.
And help others. Help them move forward with their lives. Lend an ear when necessary. Encourage them. Inspire them. And when they’re less than agreeable, try and give them the benefit of the doubt… you have no idea what they’re going through in that moment.
In memory of Mama Lee and her instilling that value of helping others in me, I’ve got a surprise coming for you guys. I’m not going to go into details, but you singers should absolutely love it. So keep an eye out!
Anyway, thanks for reading, and thanks for being a part of my family of singers.