I love Music and singing. For me they are as essential and as natural as breathing.
As with breathing, the quality of my music, and the quality of my relationship with Music, has been subject to constant change and evolution.
As a child I would often sing and hum quietly to myself simply as a form of gentle expression when I was feeling content. This was a perfectly natural and uninhibited thing for me to accompany any playful activity in which I was engaged.
I merely sang with my own, unaffected, innate voice. It was simply a part of who I was and I never questioned it.
Later I learned that singing was also to be used to praise God in church, as well as to perform for others and receive their adulation and accolades or, if the performance did not meet their expectations, to receive their censure.
With this new reason for singing there also arose the issues of how to mould my voice to fit in with a choral group, a musical genre and the intended audience. My ‘church’ voice had different qualities to my ‘I want to be a singer when I grow up’ voice. My body moved differently in each context, my clothing was different and my persona varied. I was a trainee angel of compliance in church, an aspiring pop star with my friends, and when trialling for various choral groups, I would do whatever was required to pass the audition.
This pattern became the fixed singing template for my life as a vocalist and I have had several decades singing many musical genres in a variety of configurations, from soloist to choral group, harmony ensembles, a rock band and a classical quartet.
What each had in common, however, was the need to receive an accolade from my listeners that my singing voice sounded lovely, beautiful, pleasing and that my voice fitted in with what that genre or group expected.
This was a far cry from the little girl who sang because singing was simply part of her. So, I stopped performing and waited to see what would unfold. Three or so years ago I felt inspired to start singing again after hearing Michael Benhayon’s Glorious Music albums.
This time, however, I was singing just for me, only when I felt to sing, and whatever glorious song I felt to sing.
What occurred during this time was truly delight-full. People responded to me with great wonder when they chanced to hear me singing gently to, and for, myself in many everyday situations.
- Singing while shopping at my local supermarket, a lady approached me saying: “Thank you for your singing. Why does no one ever just sing anymore?” I could hear in her voice that she was puzzled by this and had missed hearing people just singing as they go about their day.
- While singing in the bulkfood section of my local healthfood shop, I saw a lady wandering around, staring up at the ceiling. She saw me and explained that she was trying to locate the source of the heavenly sound and had then realised it was me. She took me to the storeowner and asked them to record my voice and play it all day long in their shop.
- While getting out of my car in a basement car park under a prestigious Gold Coast resort hotel, I was stopped by two ladies who were similarly looking around in wonderment for the “beautiful sound echoing through the car park.”
- Stepping out of my car in front of the beauty therapist’s on the Sunshine Coast, a lady stopped her purposeful walk to work and stood perfectly still exclaiming, “Wow! That sound is incredibly beautiful. Why aren’t you on the stage?”
- A favourite comment from a work colleague during a singing dry spell: “Please start singing again. It doesn’t feel right here when you don’t sing.”
I did not respond to these confirmations as accolades because my voice already felt lovely… to me! I simply thanked them and shared with them whatever I had been singing about.
I share this not to show that I have a beautiful voice that people love. It is to share how, my singing glorious music for myself as a natural expression of how I am feeling at that time, has a deeply profound effect on so many people. And yet I sing because I sing – because it is part of who I am. It is the same quality I used to have as a child that I feel people are hearing in my voice. They are hearing a woman connected with herself: lovely, gorgeous, content.
No need for accolade, no need for a stage, no moulding, no applause. I am simply just being me, singing about who we are and where we are from.
Is it possible that this is what singing is in its most natural form?
So, I have learned to detach my singing from performance and the effects have been exquisite.
Will I ever sing on stage again? Yes, I will take this natural quality of self connection to my ‘performance’… which won’t be a performance, but rather a sharing of who I am and who we all are.
Music and singing have become for me, once again, as natural and lovely as breathing.
Dedicated to my Dad, William Hensey, who made sure my childhood home was filled with music, song and dance.