I’m a musician, but do I deserve it?
Lately I find that when people ask me what I do, I’ve been telling them that I teach piano lessons. This is true, but I almost never share that I am a recording artist who sells CDs and writes original music. Today, I was thinking about my reasons for this kind of answer. I guess I’m afraid that people will judge me. And more importantly, they will decide in their minds whether I am appropriate for being a recording artist or not. Some people may think that what I do is very immature, or something that teenagers do, like joining a Rock band with friends who don’t actually have instruments.
More prominent in my mind though is the realization that I don’t look like the recording artists on the CD covers at Walmart. I’m over 25. I’m fat. I have a child. Sometimes I sweat. Most of my clothes don’t have studs or sequins on them…. But mostly, it’s because I’m heavy. While I am completely confident in my music and my abilities as a singer and pianist, I find that I have been hiding my performance abilities from some people because I’m afraid of their judgment.
I used to teach voice lessons at a conservatory, and I remember many of my students sharing similar feelings. These young girls felt that in order to be singers, they really needed to be thin and beautiful. And not just beautiful on the inside, but beautiful by today’s Hollywood standards. I remember teaching lessons to women in their 20s as well, and hearing constantly that they would love to perform, but they need to lose weight first.
The girls themselves even judge other artists by their appearance before the music. I remember in one voice lesson, I played a YouTube video of Adele’s Version of “To Make You Feel My Love”, and after the video was through the student paused for an uncomfortable moment before she said, “she’s kind of… Fat.” my reply was to tell her that I didn’t care how fat Adele was, that her singing was what was important. I remember asking, “but don’t you think her voice is amazing?”
I think it’s sad that the factors of physical beauty have become part of the art of music. I think it’s sad that when I give my CD to someone, or share my music with them, I do so in an apologetic way. I feel like I hand the CD over while saying,”here’s my CD, I’m sorry I’m so fat.”
I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions anymore, but this year I would like to try to own my talents and little better. I deserve to be a recording artist. I deserve to create music and art, just as any other being on this planet deserves to follow what they enjoy. Life is a finite thing. It doesn’t last forever and we should spend it doing what we enjoy most.
So, do I deserve the life that I have and the talents that I’ve been given? Damn straight I do.