Florence, Italy. May 2015.
Finding Voice has been perhaps my greatest journey yet.
So, yes, I’ve sung a lot of Jazz… but finding the Gospel – that was a real miracle.
And of all places to find it…
Let me take you there, now… to Florence, Italy.
So when I was living in Florence, besides from being the worst student ever,
chasing the shadows, and dancing around with Rose,
my greatest ambition was to sing. To find my voice – the voice I’d been
running away from for a few years…
In the past, being in the limelight has scared me
– the idea of my voice being used/misused, of stepping into a commercial world,
of ultimately losing my freedom – terrified me. Still does.
But I have a passion to sing, and after watching a performance one Christmas
of the Florence Gospel Choir on the Ponte Vecchio – I was hooked… and determined.
I have to get into that choir, I thought.
I need to get a solo.
I eventually found a way in.
Went to my first rehearsal – terrified – my Italian wasn’t that great
– didn’t really understand what was going on half the time – but I could sing.
Sing was one thing I could always do.
I managed to learn the songs and techniques quite quickly,
and kept up with the rest of the choir.
The Maestro asked me one day to sing a line from a new song we were rehearsing.
I did. He raised his eyebrows a bit and then asked me to sing another line. I did.
Next minute I was singing the whole song – all the while pooping my pants.
He seemed relatively satisfied but said I needed to give the song a bit more “Aretha” …
I swear, that one word changed the way I’ve sung ever since.
I gave it more Aretha. Got the solo. The rest is history for me.
Singing your heart out with such a heart-wrenching Gospel classic as “Sinner Please”
in an old Italian Church in one of the most beautiful cities in the world
– that’s something I will never forget, and will always be thankful for.
I will always be thankful for the family I found in that choir, in those songs.
I will always be thankful for the lessons Gospel has taught me.
To let go – to sing as you feel – to open your mouth and let that Holy Spirit rush forth.
I will always be thankful for Finding Voice.