I watch all the talent shows on TV--American Idol, The Voice, America's Got Talent and the new one called Duets--and I hear these talented people talk about when they first started singing. They say things like "When I was in high school I tried out for the choir and found out I really enjoyed singing" or "I've always loved music so I decided last year that I would give singing a shot" or "I go to karaoke with my friends all the time and just thought I'd try out for this and see how it goes." I'd like to be able to say that I started singing whenever, but I can't. It just didn't happen that way. I didn't pick singing, it picked me.
To be honest, I don't really remember when I started singing. I can't remember a time in my life when music and singing weren't a part of it. I think back on my childhood years and try to remember something, anything that didn't involve music. But those times just don't exist for me. The majority of my most vivid memories center on music or singing in some way. I remember things like taking my Mickey Mouse record player out onto our porch to play my newest 45 for my friends. (Yes, a Mickey Mouse record player....the kind where Mickey's arm stuck out and the needle was on the tip of his finger.) They listened to it for about the first 30 seconds or so, then decided to go play some other game. I was only in first grade, but I couldn't understand why they weren't as excited about that record as I was.
I remember that we always had a radio playing in the kitchen when I was about 8 years old. Whenever some of our relatives would visit, Mom would let me keep the radio on as long as I played it low so the adults could talk. My dad and uncle would always get into rather loud discussions about different topics. I would press my ear flat against the speaker of the radio so that I could hear the songs that were playing. Another memory is from about second grade. The school I went to at the time would let the kids go outside to play for a while after lunch. On rainy days, the kids would go to the gym where they could sit and talk. There were always a couple of teachers on "lunch duty" and they would sit on chairs by the doors of the gym with a little record player between them and play 45 singles to keep the kids entertained. I loved rainy days....I always made sure I got a seat right in front of the record player so I could hear the songs.
There are so many more memories that span the years of my life....way too many to go into here. So I can't really explain when or how I found my voice. I've just always known it was there and that it was a special part of me. That's why I get caught up in these shows. There are so many great singers in the world....millions. But every now and then someone stands out from the crowd. Every now and then I hear someone sing and I get goosebumps. That's when I know I've heard something extraordinary. That's when I know the vocalist has reached down into their soul and brought out the deepest part of themselves....a part of themselves that even they didn't know existed until that moment. You can actually see it happen as you watch and listen. It's the most amazing feeling, both for the listener and the singer. It means that they have truly found their voice.
It doesn't have to be a singer, it can be anyone doing something they love to do. When they are in their element....when they are where they feel they were meant to be doing what they know in their hearts they were meant to do....that's when it happens. Once you experience that, you're never the same. You can never go back to being just another ordinary person. You have to keep doing whatever it is that gives you that feeling. You can't help but be happy, and that happiness spills out to everyone you come in contact with.