I ran across this old picture of myself this morning. I had to scan it to the computer because I felt a blog coming on. I think it is hilarious! This was my alter ego, "Dolly Jean". She is a singer - complete with red wig and all. Hannah Montana wasn't the first Diva to don a wig for her double life! "Dolly Jean" was evidently my stage name. No one knows where it came from. But somewhere deep in my toddling mind, she was born.
Singing is probably my oldest passion. The story goes that even as an infant I would hum along when I was being rocked and Mom was singing to me. As a little girl when me and Samantha, my best friend from across the street, were playing the pretend game that we were grown-ups - my career was always "singer". I find this all pretty amusing now since I was the kid who was so painfully shy it was embarrassing. When I was in fourth grade I wanted to have a small part in the school musical. You would not believe my horror when the music teacher required that ALL auditions must include a solo. I was so scared that when I opened my mouth to sing - nothing came out! No sound AT ALL. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Passion prevailed, however. I continued to be in the elementary school choir. Then in seventh grade I tried out for the school show choir. Every year from then on I was in the regular school choir plus the show choir. Except for eighth grade because the show choir wasn't an option. My high school music teacher was THE BEST. I'm not joking. John Tyner. That name is legendary back home. My senior year of high school he took a bunch of lazy misfits all the way to the National Finals and brought back the Grand Champions. He lost his mustache over that - but that's probably another blog session. All that time in choir taught me how to hide my nervousness, for the most part. I eventually got where I could actually sing a solo. I sang at church and even made it to State Honor's Choir twice. OOOh, aren't you impressed? (I'm being sarcastic here.)
After high school I went on to enroll in another school to be a part of their music program. Unfortunately, I didn't learn any more about the technical stuff there than I did in high school. Remember, Tyner was the best. What they did teach me was about performance. Performance; stage presence, how to hold your head, move your hands, NEVER close your eyes...
What I've found out since those days long, long ago is this: I'm just not cut from that same school of thoughts cloth. I think that life should be more about passion than performance. Whether it's singing, playing an instrument, speaking, painting, or whatever creative outlet there may be - just a performance is "flat". Anyone can perform. Some better than others. Not everyone is passionate, though. I don't have to agree with you or particularly like you. BUT - make me believe that YOU believe. If that means that you close your eyes, then, so be it. I like to hear music that is just an extension of who the person is inside. Not that they're trying to impress me, but rather that they HAVE to do it. It's who they are inside. And if you don't like it - tough. It's not about you anyway. I like passionate people. I think it makes the world much more interesting. Performers are pretty much all the same, with maybe just a few varied twists. How boring is that? A passionate person says, "I don't care whether you like it or not. This is who I am. I can't be anything other than who I am." Take Bob Dylan, for instance. As far as vocal ability goes - well, I don't think I need to say any more than that. But the guy has made a life long career in the music business because it's just who he is. He's passionate about music. And you know what? I really like him. I have two of his Cd's. What would the world be like without all of the Bob Dylan's?
I don't do a whole lot of singing anymore. My "Dolly Jean" days are far behind me. Oh, sure, I still croon to my dishes and shampoo bottles! But I don't do much in the way of public performance. I still love music, though. I have tons of Cd's. But I find that the ones I listen to the most are the ones where the singers have made me believe that they believe what they're singing about. They're passionate. That's how I want to live my life. It may make me a little odd. But at least I'll be interesting!