Moving to a new city without a job is scary, but I was prepared for that.  Making new friends and finding a new church is a little scary, but I was also prepared for that.  I was even prepared for the possibility that we would make a record and no one would want to buy it.  Not even my Mom.  (No, I’m not going to make my Mom pay for one.  That’d be rude.  It will be her Christmas present.  :))

All of these things were easy to predict, to make myself ready.  And having made some demos at home with Jaron before, I thought I had a decent idea of what it would be like to sing at the studio, which is my main contribution, besides the afternoon coffee run.  But, oh, I was wrong.

Recording has involved some pretty short work days and lots of lunches out, really fun conversations, and a ton of learning as we watch our amazing producer do his thing.  But there is something about being in the studio that unnerves me more than I ever could have imagined.  I’ve been dreading that first take in the vocal room and at the same time wishing it would hurry up and get here and done-with.  When that moment came and I put the headphones on and stood in front of a mic that cost more than my car, I could feel my throat shrink up.  Suddenly my vocal cords felt like an old rubberband, dry and cracked, stretched to almost breaking.  I heard the sound of my own voice come back to me through those headphones, probably more clearly than I ever have before, and it sounded like someone else.  I tried to fix it, to get my own voice back, but the sound continued to worsen, cracking out of control and breathless.  The encouraging faces on Jaron and our producer began to look like smirks and exchanged glances.   For the first time my voice was utterly naked, not harmonizing with someone else, no big room to smooth out the kinks.  Just amplification.  They say that nightmares only last six minutes; if only that were true when they came to life.

Two hours later it was over, and two days later I’m finally starting to breath again.  What is it about being made vulnerable that is so gut-wrenching?  My body literally rebels against me in those moments.  I used to be jealous of the artists who could quiet the fear and skepticism, ignore the blatant warnings from others.  Maybe those artists are out there, but I’m beginning to wonder.  At Hutchmoot this year, Andrews Peterson and Osenga shared a story.  Several years ago a group of the prominent songwriters of the industry gathered for a retreat in British Columbia.  In a time of open sharing some the artists shared specific struggles they had encountered in their writing, and it was quickly made clear that the voices of doubt are not easily quieted.  Writers at the top of their industry, with years and years of successes behind them, still heard unbidden doubts when they woke in the morning or tried to rest at night.

I don’t have much to conclude these thoughts, but I do have a request.  If you know someone who is choosing taking a great risk, being vulnerable in order to accomplish something important, let them know you are in their corner.  Let them know that they don’t have far to fall, and be willing to show them your imperfection in return for their own.

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