Thursday, July 13, 2006

Who Are We? ...

My friend Jeannie is a life coach. One day at lunch, several years ago, talked turned to me and my desire to sing.

"I want to be a singer," I said.

"You are a singer," she said. Her point was that in order to manifest my reality as a singer, I had to live in that place. I couldn't be on the outside, looking in, wishing. I had to live on the inside. I already sang, she reasoned. That made me a singer.

A man named Thomas once told me, "Artists is one of those things, one of the few things, that's not something you do, it's something you are, and you don't stop. You might not express it for 30 years, but you're still an artist."

We all wear a lot of hats, but we define ourselves by what we do for money. By that standard, I'm an editor. An editor who writes and sings. But that means I'm also a writer who sings and edits, and a singer who edits and writes.

Which thing defines us? Should we define ourselves at all? Are we whatever we're doing at the time? Right now, I'm a blogger and a listener of blues (because that's what happens to have shuffled up in iTunes) and a drinker of water.

I am the accumlation of all my life experiences, but who *am* I? I am Beth. But what does that mean?

Tonight, for a little more than two hours, that meant I was a singer. Again. At last. Before tonight, it had been more than three years since I'd recorded anything "professionally." I've recorded plenty of tunes on my computer just to try them on. But to stand behind one of the best mics in the business in a soundproof booth, just me and my voice and the sound in my headphones?

Brian is my angel of an engineer, my friend who was kind enough to stay after work so that I could play for a few hours.

I wore a black shirt tonight and Brian, at my request, turned off the light in the booth, and then turned off most of the lights in his room. One of his colleagues came in as I was singing and since he couldn't see me in the booth, thought Brian was just listening to music on his computer. The cleaning lady who had stepped into his room earlier when we were importing tracks came back to listen. When we finished the take, Brian spoke into my phones and told me that she said, "Wow."

Tonight, driving home, I popped in the disc of all the songs I'm considering. The first track on it is "Gotta Be This or That," the song we spent the most time on tonight. When Diane Reeves' vocal came in, I thought, "Wait, we didn't burn anything tonight." And then I clamped my hand over my mouth. I'd just confused Diane Reeves with myself.

Wow.

We worked on four songs tonight. We'll continue next week. And the week after. Brian has made this his new project. He wants to finish six to 10 songs.

I need to find more material. To sing. Because I'm a singer.

Who are you?

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