Music and Singing

I remember singing to myself after my Mum had put me to bed. I would song Disney songs, at the top of my lungs until I fell asleep – it was just calming for me. I didn’t really listen to too much music, but my parents both had CD collections which I was familiar with. My Dad mostly listened to pop from when he was growing up, and Mum listened to some rock and some pop, but the more alternative stuff like The Cure and Soft Cell – but mostly Michael Jackson. As I grew up she got more and more current rock, like Evanescence and Muse.

As I got into my early teens, I started buying my own music. I think the first CD I bought for myself was a Red Hot Chilli Peppers one – because I loved ‘Can’t Stop’. From there I ended up getting into Evanescence; obsessively listening to ‘Fallen’. Mum didn’t mind too much that I was singing loudly all the time, and I wasn’t half bad, though I did improve a lot early on. My favourite bands were Evanescence, of course, My Chemical Romance and Placebo. No one else seemed to like Placebo though – I still love them.

By the time I felt like I’d nailed singing all the songs on ‘Fallen’, ‘The Open Door’ came out and it was a lot more challenging – I still can’t do most of it; mind you, I can’t really sing anything anymore. When I lived at home, I could sing non-stop and it didn’t bother anyone, and I wasn’t embarrassed. But since I stopped, I can’t start again. I’ve lost my voice. I know it’ll come back one day and I can get my confidence back, but for now, I feel like it’s gone. And I hate it. I have no confidence in my voice at all; so much so that I even feel stupid and self-conscious singing in the car, where the music so loud that you couldn’t hear me anyway.

I once competed in a singing competition in Manchester; my Dad took me. I wanted to sing ‘Lithium’ by Evanescence, but I wasn’t sure I could do it (I could, but not now), so I opted for ‘Call Me When You’re Sober’ instead. It was way more pro than I had expected though; it may as well have been a pageant. All the girls, younger than me I suspect, dressed up to the nines in show outfits, singing show tunes and pop songs etc. with backing tracks and dance routines – and then me, black hair, black dress and converse, singing some unknown rock song with no music. Though I do feel I was braver than they were – standing up in front of a crowd and singing with no music is a pretty ballsy thing to do, especially in a competition like that! I didn’t win anything though, but my Dad was super proud.

I also sang in a school talent show. I was supposed to be going on with a band, singing a few Evanescence songs, but they let me down at the last minute because they couldn’t play the music. But instead of duck out of it completely, I went up alone and sang 3 Evanescence songs – just me, stood in the middle of the stage, with my entire school year looking at me. And I wasn’t even that popular. People ended up singing along and chanting my name though – I think everyone realised how hard it must have been for me. Plus, the school Jazz band, run by the head of the music department ended up wanting me to be their singer. I had to decline though because it just wasn’t my style of music.

I usually ended up singing in drama classes etc., but the only occasion that sticks out is when I sang for an open evening the whole school was having, and I chose to help represent the drama department (a few of us were there, doing various bits and pieces). Anyway, we ended up getting the karaoke machine out and I sang ‘My Immortal’. Parents and visitors were passing our room and by the end of the song quite a few had gathered, so it was pretty nerve wracking – and my drama teacher ended up crying because he said that the emotion I put into the song was so powerful.

Throughout all of this, I’ve only really sang acapella, and it’s because I struggle SO much to keep in time with backing music. It’s a really annoying issue and I get so angry at myself for it, but I just can’t seem to help it. I don’t seem to have a sense of rhythm.

I miss singing so much at the moment. I hate not being able to do it, and I do try every now and then to get through a song – but it’s so disheartening to get it wrong when I know I used to be able to do it. I still put some up on YouTube, but they’re usually just a practice. I don’t really care what people think about it, though I don’t get many negative comments because I don’t do popular songs. I can’t remember if I originally started YouTube with another channel name with just singing videos; though I know I started my current channel with singing.

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Hi Willow,
I’m a 30-something female with Asperger’s – (diagnosed just a couple of years ago) I came this way via Youtube. Good to see you’ve got a website too. :)
I hope you can find the confidence to sing again. Singing gives me joy, and this year I finally got brave enough to have some singing lessons. (Years ago I would have never ever believed I’d be doing this for one minute!) I have got used to singing in front of the teacher now – because she’s brill with nervous people, she has various calming techniques she’s taught me – and I can sing in front of my mother and one of my friends, but I have a hard time singing in front of anyone else – at the moment anyway… it’s too scary.

I love my Metal, especially Symphonic and Operatic Progressive Metal – if you’ve heard of Nightwish, Within Temptation, After Forever (now disbanded – lead singer Floor Jansen is currently touring with Nightwish) and Xandria, they’ve all got a similar kind of sound to Evanescence. Floor Jansen is my inspiration and I love to sing her songs, particularly the ones where she shows off her opera skills. I’m learning some opera in my lessons, which is fun, (though I haven’t yet told the teacher that my liking for opera is due to listening to metal instead of the more classical route, lol!)

As for reading music…I know which notes are which, but I can’t read/sing it by sight at all, so it can be tricky….I’m trying to learn though. I can also have an issue with timing, and my breathing is a bit all over the place at times…Ah well…!

I have a couple of blogs which I update regularly, but they are friends locked, if you want to say hi just email me. :)
All the best!

Heather Bergen

Interesting, nice to read about how you feel. I’ve always felt self conscious about my singing… well maybe not when I was very young because apparently I seemed to like singing along to children’s songs. I haven’t ever been too into music or singing though am trying to get more confident to be able to sing because my Chris likes to sing and he took a partial degree in the music field and for awhile was involved in a record label but they weren’t nice to him and he’s glad now because he wouldn’t want to be in the music industry now. But we think it would be nice to one day be able to sing together, maybe at our wedding or something, and so I have to gain more confidence. I sing so breathy and quiet because I have no confidence with my voice. And so I can’t get better! lol

I hope you are able to regain your confidence and move to a place with just you and your Chris as soon as possible so you can practice easier. :)

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