"When did you know you could sing?..."

I had a person ask me the question after one of our shows.. "When did you know you could sing?"  What an intriguing question this was for me as I've grown to think of myself as not a 'singer' but a storyteller with a voice... Yes it is all perception and semantics.  With that question, it gave me the idea to create a journal post about this.  

For the first 3 decades + of my life, I've loved music and the experience of learning how to play and express through music. I never was a quick learner or a virtuoso type player.  I wrote many a songs throughout the years and somewhere around the age of 25, it all was starting to piss me off a bit.  I had the words i wanted to express but the sound of my voice and the melodic choices were very very lacking and mediocre.  Paralleled with my hands really not liking using a pick when playing guitar.  So I put it all down for a few years and picked up the guitar only to talk music theory and geometric patterns of music  with Mary.  It was the perfect time to dive into that as that was the spawning moments of the idea of 'Released From Quiet'.

It wasn't until I was 30 *cough cough* something years old that I was watching John Stewarts 'The Daily Show' and at the end he had on a musical guest... Some old guy came on with only a guitar and throated out a great song called "Day After Tomorrow"... My life changed in an instant... Never heard of Tom Waits until this moment.  I then went into a hermit cave and listened to everything from the Early Years, to Eggs and Sausage, to The Black Rider, To Real Gone and then the 3 CD Brawlers Bawlers and Bastards.... Wow! there was something beyond just the voice that resonated to my bones.  The sincerity and angst he sang with.  My mouth was shut for many months just sitting and listening to every story and every barnyard clanking sound he created in his songs and stories.  

Months later, I would have Waits' music playing in the car loudly and try to mimic 'Waltzing Matilda' or any song off of "Used Songs" CD.  'Trying' was the first mistake as it really did a number on my throat.  So I went back to listening and observing.  Then one day without trying, I started singing with his songs and it just came out.. and with no pain!  It was like a throat massage :) I then recorded around 10 songs at home with this newfound voice to see how it sounded as a listener... (I may share these tracks with you all some day...)  This was around 2008.

So in a very short answer to the question "When did you know you could sing?"... It was in 2008 that I found the portal to finding "my" voice. ... 

In 2011, on my birthday, Mary said she was making me play at the next open mic that we could find.... up to this point, I had never played out in public except for high school talent shows.  Once I started playing out, I have never looked back and have loved every second of the experience and process.  It was very easy for people to hear Tom Waits as a huge influence on my vocals and I did cover some of his songs.  As time and experience accrued, I was able to relax into the expression more than the attention of how I sounded... One of the coolest complements that I have received from people in the past year is that I sound kinda like Tom Waits, but totally have my own thing going.... 2 great complements in 1 statement.  Sounding kinda like a legend, but still have one's own originality.

 >>>>  Thank you to the person who asked me this question :)

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