Pink Think: “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

photo by HellKat on flickr

Last night, at a fun mother-daughter night at our church, I had the privilege of singing the song Turn Around as part of the program. I was asked when one of the organizers found out I knew how to play the guitar. I’ve been singing for years, but many in the audience later told me they had no idea I could sing like that. One lady said, “I didn’t know you were talented!” (which sounds kind of funny if you think about it)

The only reason I share this is not to toot my own horn, but to marvel that in the last year or so, people – some whom I’ve known for a long time – seem astounded that I, quiet, reserved Jewel, could sing. I’ve been singing pretty much all my life. Why the change?

It comes down to this, I think: I have more confidence in myself and I sing songs that are within my vocal range (alto). That is…singing for a rock band last year validated me. Singing to the guitar has been helpful in finding my vocal range because I can usually transpose to lower chords. (That plus tamping down the voice that sneers, “Who do you think you are, a singer?” or “But you’ll be forty in two years, m’dear!”)

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my singing/guitar. Performing is such a rush for me, like the other night when I sang at open mic. It’s the sweetest feeling to share a message with an audience through song. The acoustic guitar is such an intimate instrument. When I sing, I make myself vulnerable and free fall, yet by risking that, I can cross a barrier and connect. When I look up and see emotion in people’s eyes or smiles, I know I did my job. (The same kind of rush I get when I write a story and people “get” it.)

Since I pick my own songs, I can make the experience as uplifting as I want it to be. So I’ve been thinking more and more about booking some gigs here and there. And maybe even coming up with more of my own songs. But I write, too, both as a journalist and novelist. The weeks I perform or write songs, my other writing slides by the wayside.

Music can continue to enrich my life, I know. It’s just striking that fine balance.

What are YOUR passions and how do you balance them all?