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coolest woman on the planet

The story — 

When I was a young woman, I had the privilege of singing with a small band. I was one of four background voices who participated in the group, and occasionally was invited to take center stage as a front for the group. I loved the center stage part, because that’s when I was allowed to showcase my ability to individualize a song, and make it mine.

One of my favorite songs was a current hit, back in the day, and many women singers chose that song as a standard part of their show, even if it wasn’t one they recorded. I hadn’t had an opportunity to record anything at that point, and even had I had the opportunity, I probably wouldn’t have recorded that song, but I loved it, so when asked to take center stage that night, I asked one of my ‘girls,’ if she’d let me take the lead and her sing my part in harmony. She quirked an eyebrow at me, but nodded, and when the band came up and started to play, I took the lead.

Singers on the stage hear every note. Every. Single. Note.

I always found it amazing that the music blends in the audience, but when I’m on the stage I hear every note, every time I slip off key or out of tune, I hear it. And so does every other singer I’ve ever known. They know when they slip up.

There I was, singing the lead, and my back up team was fully into the song. I could feel it. The verse went off without a hitch, not a single note off. And I slipped into the chorus of the song – in harmony.

I remember closing my eyes as I realized my error. Fortunately, on the second word in Carly picked up the lead, and we sang the chorus with her carrying the lead. The second verse came after a momentary musical interlude, and I’d had time to glance back at her and give her a smile of encouragement to go ahead with the lead, because when I picked up the first word of the second verse, I was still in harmony and not carrying the melody.

The audience never knew… Nobody realized I wasn’t singing lead melody, and nobody cared. It didn’t matter who carried the lead melody, as long as someone did it.

Later, on the bus, Carly and I talked, and I asked her why she’d quirked an eyebrow at me.

Her answer has changed my life…

Everyone leads in their own way, and when you’ve done life a certain way for a while, you’re comfortable in your role, so changing it without some practice, support, and effort isn’t easy to do. You may know the part as well as you know your own part, but living it, singing it, takes some time and practice.

She wasn’t waiting for me to mess up, although she was aware that I might. Experience had taught her to be prepared. Lack of experience had made me over confident of my ability to carry the melody, when in reality, I knew that part, but my harmony part had been practiced time and time again, and was in my heart.

When we change gears, we sometimes need to train for a while, practice and get good at it, then we can do it with confidence. Meanwhile… There’s nothing wrong with being the best you can be in your own role of life.

Be the coolest woman on the planet…

doing what YOU do.


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