All you ever wanted is on the other side of fear
Well, photo and headline might not going to make much sense for you now, but we are getting there. Promise! Since I am 21 I was always surrounded by musicians, thanks to my job as a Make-up Artist. Actually all of my boyfriends since then were musicians and so it happened quite often that they would grab the guitar, played something and we sang together. I must say that I enjoyed it always a bit more to sing the backing vocals as I felt like they are the magic of each song. But due to a lack of confindence I just sang when I was drunk, in the shower or when I was comfortable with the person, though I had a couple of singing lessons in my life. And somewhere in my heart I know that if I would have followed another route, I would have become a pretty good musician.
Anyway. When one of my ex-boyfriends started his Singer-Songwriter thing a few years ago (to that point he worked as a guitar player), I loved creating back vocals for his songs that he actually also used then and so I joked every now and then and asked when I am finally going to be his back vocal singer. I never was on a stage to sing or used a mic to be fair. I just thought that wouldnt be such a big deal and it would somehow work out.
Well well… so it happened when I asked him again last year, that he said “Well, we got a gig at the weekend. If you like to sing, be there.” and I was like “Shit, should have kept my big mouth shut. Now you can’t say no.”. But on the other hand I really wanted to go there and sing. I just felt a bit nervous as there wasn’t any rehershal and there were two songs I’ve never heard before and as I’ve said I am no singer and never sang on stage. Sometimes I am really thankful for my lighthearted-“it’ll be alright”-being.
The boyfriend I had at that time, also a musician, was listening to me and encouraged me saying that its actually quite good and nice. So I drove to Hamburg on a friday and my friend Magnus (the singer and guitar player) and I drove to the keyboarder to sing every song one time. That was the only rehershal we had. It was really good and I had so much fun and wasn’t nervous anymore but really looking forward to the gig.
And then there was the soundcheck with guitar, keys, drums, the monitors which are suposed to be there for you to hear yourself and the instruments. Well,…suposed to. I couldn’t hear a single word I sang. Even when the sound man changed the volume of my voice on that monitor… still… alomst nothing and the drums where so fucking loud. I just wasn’t used to all of this and thought about all the times when the singers were complaining about “not hearing themselves”. Now I knew that that’s kind of like hell. Especially when your not a pro and this is your first gig ever. That was the moment when I thought “What the fuck have I done and what would happen if I just get up and run?”. These were literally my words on my mind!
The minutes to the gig were horrible. I’ve never ever had a bigger instinct for flight than on that day and some of you know that I went through cancer and chemotherapy. I was playing it through over and over again. The gig itself wasn’t in Hamburg but in a small town about a 40 minutes drive away from the city. There wasn’t any chance to get out of there. I was so mad a Magnus cause there wasn’t a rehershal, he told me nothing about what it’s like to be on stage, what I have to think of and stuff and then I changed my mind to a “fuck it” attitude. Fuck it all. It’s his fault if I crash the gig. He knew my voice, how I sing and that I am no pro in this thing and still he offered me to be there and sing.
And then it began and I “learned” how to sing on stage with a mic and drums behind me during the 10 songs during that gig. That wasn’t just cold water I was thrown into, it was ice water! But song after song I enjoyed it more and in the end I was really sad that it was over cause I just kinda figured this whole thing out. I don’t know if the guys just have been nice, but at least they said I did a good job and in the end I also got paid for my first gig and there are probably not many who get paid for their first gig ever 😉
So, being on a stage and this whole experience might not be something life threatening like the cancer and nothing like jumping out of an airplane but after being scared as fuck but having to face that fear and walk through it, it was such an empowering experience and I was so glad that I’ve said yes to this a few days earlier. So maybe there are things in your life too that feel kind of scary though there is a part in you that wants to do them… in that case, stop overthinking and just do it. You might gonna grow and you pretty sure are going to have a very nice story to tell 😉
Text: Julia Sieckmann
Photo: Jens Butz