I used to think I can’t sing. I hated the quality of my voice. This kept me from fully loving myself for a long time – at least one of the reasons. But I loved music. I would sing to myself all the songs from old Hindi and Kannada movies. When I sang the songs, I would enjoy singing them very well; I could feel the emotions coming out with those Kishore Kumar or Rajkumar songs. So, it was there in me but I just didn’t seek the required path.
But all this changed one day. We were invited to a birthday party at a friend’s place. Into the party, the hosts brought out a set of speakers and microphone and started singing. Soon one by one followed. I was reticent to join despite some pressings arguing that singing wasn’t for me (much like many still do). But what I noticed was those who sang and those who listened around had a LOT of fun.
After the party we visited India for the summer break. The joy at the party was still in my mind and went ahead and bought a karaoke CD. After coming back, the enthusiasm was just building up. Thus I made a weekend stop at a Best Buy and bought a Karaoke machine. From that day, it was fun to sing along with the music. Spent a lot of time to the amusement of my wife and son singing away. First it was the old Kannada songs; then I dabbled with the old Hindi songs. I subscribed to an online Indian Karaoke website. From that point there was no stopping me. Every time I got a break from work while working at home or evening hours, I would pick up the mike, switch on the system and sing away to my own happiness. This was all about 4 months after the party.
Come spring it was another invite. This time I was enthusiastic to pick the mike up and sing. I was way surprised by the reactions and the encouragement. I still remember my first song in a ‘public’ setting – ‘Neera Bittu Nelada Mele’. Another song, and I was convinced I could sing!! There was no turning back from that point on. I signed up to sing at community events and continued at parties. I would sing and record myself and listen to it (here I wasn’t impressed when I heard myself most of the times, but that is for later). I bought more Karaoke songs. I added more equipment, literally building a small studio environment. I realized I didn’t want to ‘tax’ my family while singing; so I would turn down the speakers and just use the headphone while singing. I found other singing websites. I started taking Karnatik music lessons from my sister-in-law every week.
It is three years since then. I have gotten better now. Now coming to the main point of the post. Three years is a long time. I could have progressed a lot quicker if I had the time to devote more time. But we all have that mortgage to pay off, right? So it couldn’t be full-time. So…what am I saying? If you were like me i.e., thought you were not the type to be a singer, give up that thought. Next make some efforts in the direction. Buy a small system, some CDs, visit so-called social singing web sites, start singing at home, don’t hesitate to sing at parties. Here, with some practice at home you can sing in public. The first time might not go well, but the friends and family you sing for at the parties – these are not critics. They will appreciate your attempt. You will see others in the same boat and that will add to your confidence. A few tries and you will start feeling much more good about your abilities. Just don’t stop yourself with some self-perceived roadblocks.