Last weekend I spent with Rene Marie, jazz singer, at a workshop she ran for a few women looking to access more emotion in their singing.
Many pearls of wisdom came out during the 17 hours we all spent together, but here’s just one I’d like to share today:
A single song can help you find your voice.
Find one song that you really connect with. One song that moves you. One song that opens the door for you.
It might be old, it might be new… it might be from your teenage years… it might be tragic, it might be a celebration… it doesn’t matter, as long as it grabs you by the arm and takes you with it!
My song is… well, you’re gonna laugh, but… my song is The Rubberband Man by the Detroit Spinners.
I didn’t remember the song until Rene asked for our earliest singing memory. I haven’t thought about it for decades. But I thought back, and finally remembered jumping and dancing around the living room to this song when I was probably three or four years old. I would request that my dad would play the record as often as possible. I clearly remember jumping from chair to table to chair to floor, dancing and singing like a crazy girl even though I had no idea of any of the lyrics other than “the rubberband man!” That bouncy four-on-the-floor rhythm bounced around inside me and came out of every limb! All I wanted was to get the bounce and the joy I was feeling into my mom and dad, who in retrospect were probably laughing their heads off at the cuteness of it.
Even today that song overtakes me. I can’t sit still when I listen to it. I love the jazz I sing, I love my original music, I love the rest of the R&B and funk that I cover. But The Rubberband Man is one that opens the door, crawls behind my facade, and makes me stop caring what I look or sound like. It’s the song that makes me stop caring about technique and correctness. It’s the song that connects me to emotion.
Find your song, and it’ll help you find your voice.
(c) 2010 Adrienne Osborn