Singing has always been my joy and passion, and was, before I met Julz, my one and only friend that stood by me through thick and thin. It meant that what was happening to me outside of singing mattered less. It gave me my only sense of belonging.
As a child, singing just made the pain wisp away. Only for that time that I was singing, but for a few hours each week, I had that magical feeling rush over me. It was difficult to describe, but there was a warmth about it that I wanted to embrace.
Many people have asked me why I never took up singing as a career much earlier. There were a few reasons for this. If I could have a dream, it was always something I wanted to do, as I only really felt complete when I was singing. Apart from the practical problem of supporting myself financially, there were two other issues.
Forging a career always involves a risk. How risk averse you are will often depend on your level of self-confidence. Striding forward into the world of professional singing felt to me to be too much of a risk – Was I good enough? Would I be able to survive on non-guaranteed money? Questions I still ask myself sometimes. The other issue was that singing was mine. Mine alone. It was my escape and I wasn’t sure I wanted to share it with others to be held up to scrutiny. I worried that opening it up to others would allow the demons in. Life has no filters to keep out the bad, so you have to be prepared to take both the good and the bad, and I wasn’t sure I could face this.
Despite this, I did share my voice to an extent on an amateur level. It made me feel incredibly nervous, though not in a disabling way. I didn’t freeze, I just fretted about missing notes or forgetting words. The feeling of when I was performing was a feeling that was difficult to describe exactly.
It felt like keys opening a door. Through that door was a world where I felt I belonged. It was a temporary world, and once the applause died down, I would find myself retreating back into my place. Outside of that space, I would feel insecure and frightened, but the moment I would open my mouth to sing, this would melt away.
The period of my life when I had to put my singing aside was a difficult one. I had come through two major illnesses, and was still singing. The accident was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and financially I couldn’t expect to continue. Life, I felt had taken a turn for the worst on that front, but on the other, I had a gorgeous wife who loved me, and cared for me in spite of my weaknesses, insecurity and obstacles, and as difficult as leaving singing behind was, I knew I had a friend for life in Julz.
Imagine my surprise when that ten pence piece turned up heads and led where it did! That same feeling came flooding back. There was a little more trepidation at first, as I didn’t know what the reaction would be. But as things progressed, I got more and more lost in the music. I did still have one fear, though after things exploded in 2007.
Would singing professionally at the highest level change how I felt about singing?
Would it start to feel like ‘work’?
I knew that while I was jet setting it around the world in comfortable seats on planes other people were working their socks off to be able to afford to buy what I was doing, I was fearful that the special feeling I had would go away, that it would feel like 9 to 5 drudgery.
My fears were, in the end, without foundation. In spite of having performed at over 500 different concerts in over 40 countries over the last 7 years, I still have that yucky nervous feeling before I go on stage. Better still, however, I still have that ‘door opening’ moment as I start to sing. That’s the best thing about it. I have performed in many wonderful places and am looking forward to performing in many more wonderful places as I prepare to tour New Zealand, the USA, UK and Ireland among other places.
I believe that as a person we are the sum of all our experiences, the good and the bad. I think we do our best when we remember that and use it to get the best out of life.
I’ve said before that I’m not sure that I believe in destiny. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a single thing that completes who we are. Destiny would mean that we would get there anyway regardless of what path we take. I believe that life is far more complex than that. I think we get to where we are going because of the path we take in life. It is up to us as individuals to keep going to where we want to be; to be where we feel most complete. It isn’t all mapped out for us, or else nothing we do would make any difference.
Is there something that makes you feel complete? What are you doing about it? It won’t wait for you!
I look forward to the opportunity to be ‘opening that door’ in front of you at your most local venue soon. Below are the links to concerts that are presently on sale:
Read about how my life turned out here: