For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a singer. I really never wanted to be anything else. However, I was completely discouraged from singing. Everyone in my family made it clear that I was a terrible singer. The worst example of this was when I taped myself (yes with a tape recorder) singing along with the radio. Somehow my brothers got ahold of the tape, made copies, and used it to torture me (played it for their friends, etc.). It sounds funny now, but at the time, for a little girl who’s only dream was to be a singer, it was damaging.
When I got into high school, I was thrilled that I could finally try out for musical. Hmmm…but every single person who tried out had to sing a solo. I can’t believe I had the guts to try out, but I did. That just proves how much I wanted to do it. And…I MADE IT! Only about 5 freshman made it, and I was one of them. The director said she could see just how much I wanted it. I LOVED being in the musicals. I was never the lead nor did I ever have a part with a name, but I didn’t care. I loved it every single year.
When I got to college (Hello? Michigan State…40,000 students.) I was too intimidated to even consider trying out for a musical. I will admit I was also just a bit preoccupied with getting wasted as often as possible. After college, I went home to Grand Rapids for a few months and then moved to Chicago.
The dream was dead.
It took 30 years and moving to Mexico for my dream to come true. During my first few months here I stumbled upon a place called El Shrimp Bucket, where they gave free Salsa lessons. The managers quickly “hired” me (for a cut of the tips and all the free booze my friend and I could drink) to give the classes. (This is another story for another day.) The important part of this story is that there was a group that played at El Shrimp Bucket and it didn’t take me very long at all to ask if I could sing a song with them. And another, and another. The lead singer (also a singing teacher) told me I could sing, I just needed a little help.
Fast forward a few years…I am married and trying to get my husband out of Cuba (again, another story) and back into Mexico. I need something to keep me busy. So I give that singing teacher a call. And after 6-12 months of once a week lessons, he tells me a friend of a friend needs a singing sub because she needs surgery.
And that is how I became a singer. Since that first job I have sung in restaurants, bars, hotels, and events. Now as my husband would say (he is a true musician after all) I am not a SIIIINGER, but I get the job done! And I am different here, and I can sing in English AND Spanish, so that helps to give me an edge sometimes. The last singing job I had ended where the swine flu began. In addition I was pregnant and decided to take a little break from singing. Since my son was born, let’s face it, I haven’t had time to even think about singing. (I work fulltime too.)
But now my baby goes to bed at 7pm and doesn’t wake-up until 4am on a bad day, 6am on a good day. And guess what? Next month that (poor) lady needs another surgery, and another sub.
(Note: I have to say that I am so grateful for the music of Selena Quintanilla. If I hadn’t known and loved her music I wouldn’t have had anything to sing with that group in El Shrimp Bucket.)