Written by GroMusic Member Chris Pinkston, May 23, 2022
When I was in elementary school back in the early eighties, my brother taught me how to play the drums. We had a small set of Rototoms and a cheap Ludwig 3-piece drum set. As I grew to love playing the drums throughout high school, I had a secret obsession with singing.
At that time, I wanted to try singing a George Michael song for my high school talent show and I had a friend from the choir try to teach me a lesson or two. I quickly realized I was very much out of my league trying to attempt singing with that incredible range, experience, and raw talent that George possessed, and I was setting myself up for failure even before I started. In fact, I did a rehearsal in front of some members of the choir, and they all started walking out during the first verse!
Talk about feeling completely devastated! As you can imagine, I decided to throw in the towel and not perform in the talent show after all.
Through the months, I tried finding other teachers and singing in front of family members and friends, but I felt like I was sinking further into despair. I decided in my mind that I was never going to ever have the talent, range, or “gift” of singing…it was just for other people.
As the years passed, I found time to pick up a guitar and even the sitar for a brief period. It wasn’t until my early 40s that I started to realize I’d never be happy unless I at least gave it one last try.
I decided that the first thing I wanted to do was learn how to scream…that’s what all my favorite heavy metal bands were doing, and that’s what I wanted to do.
I remember browsing around on the internet over the Christmas holidays and I found a wonderful teacher online, Melissa Cross. She is a master of teaching great singing technique but had a cool course called the Zen of Screaming.
When I placed the order, I was bummed because all of the DVDs had been sold out for months. I figured this was the final sign, the ultimate stake in my heart to not pursue singing anymore.
And it was a few hours later on that Sunday that I got a call from an unknown number on my phone. Believe it or not, it was Melissa herself, formally apologizing for the shortage! I couldn’t believe that she was so dedicated to her craft that she would actually call and set up a way for me to get the course. Amazing!
I then told her my story and how devastated I was when the choir walked out on me many years before that and how I tried and tried to no avail to become a singer.
She said “Listen Chris, life is too short to not pursue what you love. You’re going to be a great singer. The only difference between you now and your end goal is the work you have to put in. The music business is dead, so it doesn’t matter what stage you play on. Pursue your love and don’t look back.”
Those words touched me so very deeply and it was then that I started my relentless musical journey in finding my own singing voice.
This journey continued to open up my understanding and appreciation of music and all of the styles and genres of singers that have come and gone. It even helped renew my understanding of playing the guitar and drums.
I work on improving my singing almost every day with great online teachers like Chris Liepe, Spencer Sotello (Periphery) and Jaime Vendera. Although it always has its constant challenges, the rewards of daily progress are tenfold.
Having now the opportunity with GroMusic to practice performing with other musicians in a controlled, un-judged stage environment is another dream come true.
So if you find yourself thinking “I can’t do this” or “I don’t have the gift or talent”, think otherwise. Get started now! You are just as talented and capable as any of the finest artists on the planet! It just takes time, effort, and most importantly, believing in yourself!!
I look forward to jamming with you soon :}