Let Those Lyrics Move You: Singing from Your Own Personal Experience
When I used to travel full-time with my ex for his work, I got to see a lot of musicals and plays. One of my faves was the Broadway musical based on the movie, “Ghost”. If you’ve never seen it, the woman’s husband dies at the top of the show and ends up appearing to her as a ghost throughout the show. At the time we joined the tour, we were going through a pretty bad rough patch in our marriage and had just started what felt like a last-ditch effort to make it work. He had been on tour about 7 months while I was home alone, and I had just broken our lease to join him on the road. I could work from anywhere and thought maybe our marriage could improve if I joined him.
The first time I came to see “Ghost” on stage, I had JUST joined my now-ex on the road. Even though I’d seen the movie, nothing could prepare me for the devastating heartbreak I would feel when the wife started feeling the reality of her husband’s death. She started this gut-wrenching, hauntingly beautiful and painful song where she is singing to her husband as if he were right there in the room. The song is called “With You” and it’s about how, when he left her, he took her identity with him and how lost she feels. The vocal is painfully beautiful and the score behind it perfectly captures the mood. I sobbed the first time I heard it because, in that moment, I was going through my own version of fear and grief and loss of identity. I felt like I’d nearly escaped the complete collapse of my marriage and was still a bit on eggshells that it could all fall apart for good.
Do you see where I’m going here?
THIS is the power of emotionally connecting to your song when you are singing. The more connected you are, the more real it feels to you, the more your audience is going to be able to put themselves in your shoes and feel it right along with you.
Something else to note from this example is that whether you are singing a song or being moved by someone else singing a song, you don’t have to relate to the exact same circumstances. In my example, I was relating to the same emotions the actress was feeling, NOT the same circumstances. It works the same way for the singer – the base emotion is what you’re looking to identify with, not the circumstances. It’s likely that the actress wasn’t singing from her own personal experience of a husband who died. Rather, she was singing from her own experience of devastating loss and grief. And when you are singing from a real place with real emotion you’ve actually felt before in a specific circumstance, your authenticity in the moment is palpable and relatable.
Have you ever done this in your singing? This is the stuff we’re working on all month in No Limits Academy and if you’ve never done it before, it could be the missing piece in your performing – the piece keeping you from your big goals.
Wanna fix that? Share a song below that has moved you to your core and I’ll hook you up with the details.
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