I never have considered myself a music snob. I mean, let’s consider that when I was growing up, the music my parents exposed me to consisted of Sharon, Lois and Brahm, and a bunch of classical artists for kids (I think I had a fake-crush on Bach… no idea, but man, did I love him!), Abba, Mannheim Steamroller, and Amy Grant.
Can I go run in a corner? O.M.G. I’m so embarrassed to put that out there.
Okay, I might as well continue this confessional. There is a recording of me at age 3, with my Snuggle Bear from Grandma (err, Mugga, as I called her). The song was something about a witch and a broom, and I sang (read: screamed) a little diddy. Thank God my mother doesn’t know how to post on YouTube. O.M.G. It was bad.
The story goes that my parents knew since I was barely a 1-year-old girl that I was an independent ham. My parents figured I’d either be an actor, singer, or politician because of my demeanor. I guess my parents told one another that they’d really encourage me to be an actor because I was such a wretchedly horrible singer. So imagine being in the 2nd grade play and my parents getting a note from Mrs. Sanford, the music teacher at Chestnut Elementary school saying that I was singing a solo. They literally thought that it was going to be so embarrassing that they did not want to record it. In fact, they came with a camera and were planning on telling me that the battery died and couldn’t record it.
I guess they now have tons of guilt because apparently my voice had developed – maybe it was all that Sharon, Lois and Bram. I was the show-stealer, and my parents had no recording of it – and my mother’s mom, Grandma A – she apparently was livid with my mother for not recording it anyway. 🙂
I ended up being this singer of sorts – my sister drew, wrote, and well, was all around really artistic. I was the musician in the family. I started to sing in church when I was in 2nd grade. The first song? The National Anthem on Memorial Day. Everyone stood up while I sang. Then I sang Go Tell It on the Mountain as my second official solo. I think that was 4th grade. I was in a singing competition in 4th grade for area 4th-6th graders – All-Star Sing. (Yeah, why do I remember these details?) Um, yeah – kinda won some solo – which apparently was a big deal, as I learned in high school. I was apparently this huge disappointment to my middle school teachers when I refused to do anything musical in high school and couldn’t compete in state competitions. Meh, I had huge image issues.
Sang The Rose in 8th grade – the whole choir sang backup for me. HA. These are really funny memories. Johnny Angel with the later-to-be-named valedictorian and salutatorian’s of the Class of 2000 at FHS. All the while, I had really no idea about music – at all. College was filled only with Christian music (10th grade I gave up all secular music for a boy – that was futile). I sang in different choirs, had the music dept. angry that I wouldn’t major in vocal performance, and was somewhat ostracized and forced to stay in the Women’s Choir. Blah. I started to hate music – though leading two different bands in college. Yeah, weird huh?
So at the end of college, I don’t really know what really caused it, but I found out about this random musician, somehow – Pete Schmidt. Somehow from there I started to listen to all these artists who were not necessarily Christians or were not Christian artists. They were underground-ish, mainly from Nashville or Atlanta, and making a living working on the road and myspace was their forum. Working in Indy I started to actually look for music – a lot. I found a niche again.
It’s funny to think about the influence of music and how it’s been so formative to who I am. From the girl who couldn’t sing and was almost an embarrassment to myself and my parents, to the girl who found her identity in through the worship and Christian music around her, to pushing away from the cliches of Christian music, seking solace in the grassroots music world. As my ecclesiology has changed, so has my musicology. I wonder where it’s heading next…
jeremy lister – just one day