My voice teacher assigned me a new song this week: SWEET DREAMS (Are Made of This), by Annie Lennox. Surprised? So was I, at least a little. As a good friend suggested, it’s not an obvious fit. But my music lessons are all about stretching the boundaries of my comfort zone, so hey, cue the synthesizers! 🙂
With DREAMS (my previous selection), I struggled with some of the high notes. I have the vocal range to reach them, but not the confidence. Throat constricted, I cheated my way up to the top. I wasn’t brave enough to shake my tambourine. And because I was tentative, I robbed the song of its fullness and power. And boo, I missed out on some of the fun.
Watch this video. Note the ease with which Annie Lennox shifts between high and low notes on the chorus. My teacher pointed out the light and dark imagery in the video, the sometimes raw lyrics. Still, despite all the silliness and chaos around her, Annie stares boldly into the camera, voice unwavering. Her riding crop and black leather gloves? Stage props, nothing more. Her confidence comes from within. (And she still owns that song, twenty years later!)
Little by little, my teacher is coaxing me beyond my fears. "You are etherial," she says. "You are earthy. You are the pure, high notes, and you are the deepest notes in your register. You own all of that, plus the rich tones in the middle. Now, sing as if you know that…"
Such a great metaphor, isn’t it? Not just for singing, but for life itself. Writing included.