Runs on food and music, will sing for chips and pasta.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The job of a good singer

Not too long ago some friends commented on the title I print on my name card, if you haven't seen my name looks something like this, I call it the no-frill design -

"I don't sing because I'm happy; I'm happy because I sing."

Janet Lee

bla bla contact
my link
another link...

My friends asked why I call myself a `singer', "Why not put `vocalist' instead? It's surely more professional sounding and has a ring of prestige to it."

Well, while I pride myself as a trained professional in performing quality music, I don't see how I should, or could, class myself as any title would imply, that I'm a class above other, earthy singers.

Sure, I know that's not what my friends meant anyway. You see, I just have a special attachment to the word `singer', a simple word that tells you that I, sing. What my friends advised was that on my call name, part of my `cari-makan' tool, I should print a title that paint a picture of the kind of work I in, `vocalist' means I'm a prim, professional...ok hang on, I checked that --

Says the dictionary:

singĀ·er1 n.
  1. Music One who sings, especially a trained or professional vocalist.
  2. A poet.
  3. A songbird.

Tata, how come it's other way round, a singer is one who sings --- especially one who is trained and professional.

Anyway, what I'm hoping to put forth is, I enjoy singing as it is and is growing to love music for music's sake, before I decided that singing would be my living (getting paid for singing). Therefore, it doesn't matter to me whether the `singer' title does sound less classy than `vocalist'. My ultimate goal is, to be a soul doctor...whose singing is so amazing it heals your soul.

Since my absolute crazy (but totally fantastic) schedule since early this year, I have been slacking in my classical music, or repertoire. I shamelessly think I'm living life it its fullest, taking the best step I know has been just lots of opportunities to be on stage since end of last year. While I have been busy doing what I think it's the thing to do -- for a `full time artist', running between auditions, rehearsals, shoots, interviews, parties, theatre outings, shows, learning new script...

I have not been that efficient in managing all that while keeping a regular study of my core music -- the classical stuff. The thing with these Debussy, Mozart, Rossini, Strauss takes a lot more time (in your study and on stage) to be polished and edible..err, tasteful.

So today while I practised my first Strauss song in months, and then listened to Bjorling singing Zueignung (Devotion) on my notebook and taking notes, I felt like I've came home...home not in the sense that - though I have been a student of music in the dark, groping on my own mostly, and learning the singing technique from my coach -- I have been regular in my practise, the weekly lesson, the every other day (of not daily) singing at home.

All that, I have not been doing for monthsssss.

When I was singing Teresa Teng classics to a partially drunk crowd last night, I was on the top of the world. You might think a drunk AND noisy crowd would dampen my spirit in singing my heart out, I was just high because I knew those songs well enough to really enjoy the music and song, and rocking to the crowd. Ok, they were not half that bad, they LOVED the Teresa Teng numbers and all my notable applause came after that two numbers I sang.

That experience, and the hell I went through before the gig in forcing the new lyrics of new repertoire in my head, taught me the importance of knowing my work well.

The better you know your music, the better chance you have in winning your audience, however bad or good your vocal technique is.

It felt good to be able to just sit and study a song...taking time in absorbing its beauty and color.

My journey as a singer is at its beginning, though I have singing for years now but with each and every new performance, I learn more and more that a good singer, is one who communicates best with her audience.

I end with a special edition of The Collage of Self-portrait (most of them) by Soul Doctor, the new cam-whore who knows her image software well :)

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