Thursday, May 6, 2010

Karaoke, and past reflection

Since I was a little girl, I've always loved to sing and dance. I was never trained in either, but I loved it nonetheless. I think I have a natural ability for both, since my mom and dad were avid and natural dancers back in their barrio days in Mexico. Looking back at my childhood, I realized that even though I did what was expected of me, what was good, I really rebelled against a lot of what my parents loved. My dad LOVED to dance, so I decided I would NOT dance. He wanted me to learn how to change my oil...I refused to listen. "You need to learn how to cook so you can get a man" I heard early on from him. F that, I thought. I'm my own woman. And what still gets to me is that my dad says "Your mine." Ok, I don't mean to paint my dad in a bad light. He's actually quite an awesome dude. He's super outgoing, funny, not afraid to shake his "bote" to the music and always willing to give advice. All these things were early on in his life and he's become more loose in his old school beliefs as time goes on. He helps my mom around the house cleaning, he folds laundry...but the food he leaves to my mom, but he is by no means helpless. I guess, when I was younger, I just felt like if I had to conform to all these rules about being good, I will rebel in other things and that was just doing the opposite of what my parents like. Also, I went through a brief identity crisis in middle school, so to me being liking what my parents liked made me that much more Mexican...which I did NOT like. Thank GOD I'm over that! Hence why I think little Mexi-American kids need teachers that look like them, yada yada yada...

So anyway, I got really into singing in 6th grade and hadn't stopped until my Freshman year in college. I sang all through middle school, all through high school, took some cheap ass voice lessons from an old crabby drunk emotionally insensitive old lady who would fart all the time, and I was on my way. I competed for regionals and my senior year I made it to state. I didn't with, but at least I finally got there after competing for 4 years. Also, since I was a senior, I could sing a solo at our winter concert. They wanted me to go with the usual, English or Italian, but I rebelled and went with Spanish. My teacher was really upset but I fought and worked hard on my song! When I graduated, I didn't think I would be a singer, but I just enjoyed it far too much. I loved being in the musicals because it allowed to express a side of myself that I don't reveal every day: Performer Andrea. I don't feel comfortable carrying her around in my skin, but she's there and I like her. I think a lot of this has to due with my culture and of course my family.

As a Latino, the best trait you can have is being humble. Never inflate yourself, you'll be seen as a pompous ass. So I never did. Sure, my parents told me I was smart and pretty, but I never felt like I was allowed to say that about myself. I'm still working on that....
So I suppose my point is that I like to be the center of attention. It's a weird mix though. I LOVE to perform and have all eyes on me and I can't wait for the day I get married because that's MY day, which is why I LOVE my birthday. Its the one day I'm allowed to be selfish and want everything to be about me...But, in my daily life, I don't allow myself that luxury but at the same time, I wouldn't want that. I'm not the life of the party, nor do I want to be. I'm not a social butterfly. Hosting parties makes me a bit nervous...but if I were to perform...that's another thing. It's my job, it's what I'm doing, I have a gig.

I've only Karaoked a handful of times. One time in HS, once in college, a couple times post college. For some reason, I get this weird stage fright that makes me unable to sing in front of family and friends, but strangers, bring it on! But a couple years ago, I decided I needed to change that. Singing was something I was good and I want to share it and I want other so see this skill as well, cuz by golly, I'm pretty good!
After college I took three years of voice lessons with an awesome teacher, but I quit because I felt like I wasn't going anywhere with it. I had no recitals, no musicals, no band to perform with. It was all kind of pointless, but I do realize now, my voice is MUCH better thanks to those three years. So on my 29th birthday, I decided I would have a karaoke party with all of my friends and loved ones. I was SO scared! They were ALL THERE (ok, except for you Kristin!) and all I could think about was, what will they think of me. I've hyped this up so much, they're going to think I suck. I think that's the other thing...the pressure. They know I've been singing since 6th grade so they expect Christina Aguilera up there! Ay!

But whatever, I got up there and I did it and I did it again and again and again... I loved it! I told myself this is something I wanted to do, that I loved singing.
Fast forward almost a year and I'd not returned to a Karaoke bar since. Not because I don't want to but, I don't really have friends who do it and I got really involved with dance and I have friends that do do that. But a friend of a friend was having auditions for this dancing girl group and the auditions were at a karaoke bar.
So, I gathered my two songs, a ballad and an upbeat tempo song, and off I went with a friend. I was so nervous cuz not only was it kind of last minute, I was getting over a cold so my voice was about 95 percent. I had to choose songs that fit with my voice, not that I necessarily wanted to sing, but I went with it.

The first was a miss. I was so nervous and I had to sing after this guy that sang a heavy metal song. So here I come with my ballad by the Dixie Chicks, "I believe in love" to a room full of drunk hipsters. Ah! I had nothing witty to say, so I just started singing. I couldn't find my voice, I couldn't hear my notes, but as the song went on, I got better and loosened up. Thank GOD. The next song was my uptempo, but as the hours dragged, then two, then THREE HOURS, I just wanted to get it over with, so once they called my name I was all "FINALLY!" and just got up there and went with it. Bonnie Tyler's "Holding out for a Hero" was a hit with the now 12 member audience. I know I faltered just a bit, but I even did a little choreographed arms mimicking the video. This is an audition anyway, right? It was so much fun. At times, I closed my eyes and that helped so much, but I just felt like a dork doing that, so I'd open them once in a while.

After it was all said and done, my friend said I did a great job, that he was blown away. A couple other people came up and complimented me. And since I'm new Andrea not old Andrea, all I said was thank you. I didn't down play or make excuses, just "Thank you".

So, I probably won't find out if I made the girl group until this weekend, but regardless of what happens, I'm going to start singing Karaoke. I know I'm a good singer, I have tons of fun and people enjoy my singing, I just need to gain the confidence to get up there and make it look effortless...


Kelly said...


Kristin said...

This is awesome! I'm so glad you are getting up confidence in your singing. I'd love to hear you sometime!

Picosita said...

That is awesome! You are a lucky gal! I'm a lover of music and singing, but alas, I haven't an ounce of vocal talent. I can keep a tune, but that's about it!