I’ve been singing for years. Not your ‘get up on stage, sing incredibly with a band, and finish with huge rounds of applause and offers of recording contracts’ type singing. Oh no, I’m your ‘whack the music up loud, sing in the shower/car, grab the karaoke mic after a few glasses of something massively alcoholic’ type girl. But it’s been going on for years. And years.
I started out singing Orville (yes, I’m that old – for those of you who don’t know, Orville was a little green bird who couldn’t fly. So sad, sooo sad, in the back of my mum’s car. As I grew up I dabbled in amateur dramatics and in my teens even had a stint with a manufactured pop band called Amazon. We recorded our first track called ‘I Might Just Come Around’ but the single definitely didn’t go around and we never went anywhere. Shortly after, I married, and children followed. It was then that my shower/car singing career really took off…
Singing is really good for the soul. Not only is it good for the soul, but it’s actually incredibly good for the body and all round well-being. It also stopped me from banging my head against a brick wall on multiple occasions, such is it’s calming effect. Singing is number two (behind cold showers, but brrrrrrr!) for being the best way to stimulate the vagus nerve, the nerve that connects the brain to, well, the entire body. This nerve connects the brain to the gut, heart, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, kidney, ureter, spleen, lungs, reproductive organs, neck, ears, and tongue… phew – tired reading that, much! No other nerve in the body does this! It’s awesome – it helps control anxiety and mood, heart rate and blood pressure, blood sugar balance, reduce inflammation, amongst a whole heap of other incredible stuff. Vagus nerve stimulation has the potential to help those suffering from various health conditions including, but certainly not limited to anxiety disorders, heart disease, some forms of cancer, poor circulation, leaky gut syndrome, alzheimer’s, memory and mood disorders, migraines and headaches, fibromyalgia, obesity, tinnitus, addiction, autism and autoimmune conditions.
Singing at the top of your lungs (like you mean it!) is the number two way to stimulate this nerve because it makes you work the muscles at the back of your throat, which helps to activate the vagus nerve. Yes, I’ll have me some of that!
I knew I wanted to sing more. Singing in the car and shower is all well and good but it gets a bit lonely. An echo-ey. And wet. If you fancy a sing song it’s not always appropriate to run to the shower. I was never going to be a soloist, knew I wasn’t going to be someone who sings in pubs, a band, or events – confidence stops me from trying (who wants to listen to me, right?) – and then I saw a friend was a member of Love Soul Choir and they were auditioning in my area.
Could I? Should I? Would I be good enough?
Quick practise in the shower ensued. Another while cooking dinner, with a glass of wine. Confidence grew a bit.
Really? An audition? Ohhhhh this isn’t going to be karaoke. I’m actually going to brick it.
Another glass of wine and a bit more warbling with a bit of dancing.
The online form was suddenly filled in by my alter ego who really thought she could do this but it was actually just the drink talking. Or singing. And then I forgot about it until an email dropped into my inbox inviting me for audition.
Well, I’ve done it now. I asked for it and I got it. So, I had to go. And if I had to go, I’d better prepare.
So prepare I did. I went on holiday, stressed about what song to sing, watched the videos on Love Soul Choir’s Facebook page about how to prepare, then stressed some more about what to sing. I chose a song, then changed my choice. Then changed it again. Before I knew it audition day arrived and I was on my way, in the car, singing the song over and over, and over again.
I arrived at the location for the audition and walked into a room where there was a big circle of chairs and just one person sat behind a laptop. That person was Dan. We started out with having a chat about why I was there, my experience of singing, and then the audition began.
Unless you’re used to auditioning for things like this, it can be incredibly nerve wracking. It certainly was for me and I felt the nerves just building and building, almost to the point where I couldn’t sing. I found it really difficult to start the audition knowing that Dan was expecting me to sing a song, even if it was just a small part. But the nerves were caused by me not wanting to fail, wanting to perform the best I could, being embarrassed in case I wasn’t good enough and needing some kind of validation that I deserved to be there. All normal and natural feelings to have. I finally managed to start – I’d chosen to sing ‘Black Velvet’ by Alannah Myles – and finished the first verse with chorus feeling like I wouldn’t be coming back. I’d screwed it up – my nerves were so bad that day (despite me not being a nervous person usually) that I’d ruined it for myself. Dan asked me to follow some dance moves and then we were finished. He politely told me that I’d get an email in a few days time, with a decision, and to have a good weekend.
It was over. I knew I wasn’t going back. But, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post if I wasn’t successful would I!?
My self doubt was unfounded. A few days later I got an email to say I got in!
I can honestly say the few moments of nerve wracking discomfort were well worth the reward. I’m absolutely loving being a part of Love Soul Choir. The sound we make as we rehearse is unreal and the feeling that comes with it, incredible! I would urge anyone who is thinking about auditioning to just give it a shot – put your inhibitions to the side and do it. You’ve got nothing to lose… except possibly the most empowering singing journey you could join in with, and who wants to lose out on that!?
If you’d like to apply for an audition with Love Soul Choir, please visit the audition page on our website. Once you’ve sent your application to us, we’ll be in touch within a couple of days to schedule the time and place of your audition.