Here’s the thing about live performance – it’s rarely perfect. That’s what my YouTube videos are; they are live performances, filmed in one shot all the way through from start to finish. When I make these videos, I spend an entire day, sometimes two, performing the song over and over again, sometimes fifteen to twenty times. Then, I watch the takes. I watch, I cringe, I smile, I laugh, I cry. I choose the take that resonates with me most, and I publish it. It’s not always the take with the “best” vocal that resonates with me most; and because these are live performances, and I’m not editing together clips of several separate performances to get a perfect package, the final “product” I share on YouTube is not perfect.
It’s uncomfortable to reveal myself in my imperfection, to let people see my flaws and mistakes, to show you something that – despite countless hours of time and energy and effort, not to mention heart and soul – still came out flawed. I’m afraid you will point and laugh and say, “The emperor has no clothes!” Or in this case, the empress. I’m afraid of being mocked as a fraud or a fool, like those poor sweet souls who audition for singing shows but who clearly just can’t sing. I’m afraid, but I’m doing it anyway. Why? Because the alternative has proven to feel more fraudulent.
I often think maybe I should wait to publish YouTube videos until I have better audio and video equipment, until I can hire a professional videographer to light the setting and edit the clips and tune my vocals and make me seem like a star! Maybe I should wait until I’ve had more vocal lessons, until my voice is stronger and better and more polished. I’ve lived so many years making excuses for not sharing my voice, and I just can’t live that way anymore. It’s too painful and too lonely. If I shall be laughed at, well, then, so be it; I’d rather be laughed at in my purity, authenticity and courage than continue living in the darkness of never trying to conquer my fear.
So, here’s to the beauty of imperfection and the bravery to show it to the world! Please enjoy my cover of the stunning song, “Rise Up,” originally performed by the beautiful Andra Day. Click here to watch.