Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Voice

In this diary entry, I said something that I've always believed to be true:

"When you accidentally make yourself look like an idiot; it's embarrassing for you and your friends. But when you deliberately make yourself look like an idiot; you are the greatest thing that ever walked the face of the Earth."

And today I'm going to share a story that made me look like an idiot, and was accidental, and it could have been really embarrassing, but it wasn't. And here's why: it's not over until the fat lady sings.

So last night, it was the first round of a vocal competition. Nothing major, just a little thing at our youth group with a guest judge from The Voice, the one and only Taga Paa, and a grand prize of four hours of recording time for the winner.

That's a big deal. Two days before I found out about the competition I had just decided that for my major project in Year 12 Media Studies; I was going to write and record a song, and make a music video for it.

The biggest problem with that idea was finding a way to record the song, because opportunities to record a song for free don't drop out of the sky very often.

But here I was, with a chance to win the one thing that would solve all my problems in Media.

I was going to be singing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah in the first round. A nice song, well-known, good display of my vocal range, etc.

I should explain that I was accompanying myself on piano for the competition. Most of the other contestants had a backing track, but I decided I was awesome enough to play piano.

Hallelujah is the most complicated piano piece I have ever played. I could sing it fine, but the piano part is seriously complicated. Never the less, I had practised hard, and I was ready to go.

But from the moment I got on the stage, things went downhill...

I walked up to the keyboard and realised there was no chair. That was going to be a serious problem. I can't play that song standing up. I have to use the sustain pedal like a boss, and lifting my foot up and down that quickly, meant I basically had to stand on one foot.

But that's alright, I'll manage... right?

Except that the keyboard was too low. I had to bend over a little bit, and my fingers were pointed down. Awkward, but not impossible.

So I ignored the problems facing me and I started to play the intro, with some difficulty, but I managed. I started to sing, only to realise I was muted. I figured I'd play another round of the intro and see if the sound guy would catch on.

But when I started singing a second time, and I was still silent, I realised the microphone must have been turned off.

So I turned it back on, made a few jokes, and started playing again. I don't know what I did to the stand when I turned the mic on, but the stand started to droop. The microphone was slowly falling down, and I had to move it back every couple of bars.

With all this going on, I was pretty rattled, so I decided to simplify the song. I got rid of the arpeggios and just played the chords straight.

But the microphone got worse. I should have just stopped trying to play and sung it accapella, but I was determined to finish.

I think the worst part of all this was that because this was meant to be something like The Voice, the audience couldn't see me, they could only hear me. So no one knew what was going on behind the curtain.

I was hitting wrong chords and playing wrong notes, and cracking jokes when I messed up, and the audience had no idea that I was trying to shift my weight from foot to foot as I played, and trying to hold the mic up and play the keyboard at the same time.

Don't get me wrong, it was probably my best performance ever, as far as my singing goes, but nothing else went right.

To be perfectly honest, I'm just glad that it happened to me rather than anyone else. Because what I did during that catastrophe of a performance made up for it. Had that happened to anyone else, it could have scarred them for life.

It could have been absolutely mortifying for me, but it wasn't. The reason being that I didn't let it be mortifying. I didn't let that experience scar me, or haunt me, and I didn't let it upset me. In fact, I used it to my advantage.

When I say that I was cracking jokes when I played the wrong note, I mean it. I would be half way through a note and then say "That's not the right chord" or "This microphone is in my way". And the audience loved it! If it was a comedy competition, I'd have won hands down.

People seem to think that there's a difference between someone laughing at you, and someone laughing with you. I don't think so. I think the only difference is how the joker reacts to the laughter. Either way, they're laughing at you.

The difference is in what you do when someone laughs at you.

And believe me, when someone laughs at me, I laugh with them.

I said that "When you accidentally make yourself look like an idiot; it's embarrassing for you and your friends. But when you deliberately make yourself look like an idiot; you are the greatest thing that ever walked the face of the Earth."

But I forgot to include that when you accidentally make yourself look like an idiot, it's embarrassing for you if you let it bother you. But when you laugh it off, you are the funniest person that ever lived.

Make something of your accidents. Become a comedian, become the class clown, put it on YouTube and become an overnight sensation!

When something goes wrong, you can keep it to yourself and let the story haunt you forever, or you can share the story with the whole world on your blog and let it be that little anecdote that always makes people laugh.


  1. Ohmygoood~! I love that song! ^_^ I hate to be a pain, but could I bother you for the piano sheets? ;v; I'd love for my first song to be this!! :D
    But this post has really given me some perspective on laughter, yesyes~. Next time they laugh at me, I'll laugh right on back! ^___^

    1. I don't have any sheet music unfortunately, just the chords. I just googled them.

  2. How did you get the arpeggios?? o.O You must be really good at theory to just know the arpeggios by the chord, I have a long way to go! :/
    Oh well, practice makes perfect! ^w^

    1. All you have to do is stagger the chord, so each note of the chord is a quaver. :)

  3. Ahh, I see, well that's a lot more simple than I thought. :)
    I shall give it a go! *U*