I never learnt to read or write music.
My earliest memories of singing were when I was as small as four; wandering around the house singing in a deep voice, “I’m nobody’s child”. When we had parties, I was expected to sing, which I did, quite shamelessly. I’m told I sang from a very small age. But I never learned to read or write music. And I was never “taught” to sing. I just did. I also wrote a lot. And talked. A lot. More on that in another post!
I don’t know why, but I was never tempted to sing the latest pop songs. Or learn the latest style of singing. So while my college friends were singing Whitney Houston and Britney Spears, I was singing REO Speedwagon and Sheryl Crow or George Benson, as far apart as can be! I couldn’t put my finger on it (and I so appreciate someone who can sound exactly like the orginal artist), but that was never for me. I always wanted just to do my thing.
Sometimes it takes someone inspirational to wake you up to possibilities. I’d always dreamed of singing my own songs. But I told myself that it was impossible as I couldn’t read or write music. Then, many many years ago, I visited my aunt in London, and told her how I wished I could write songs, but was limited by my lack of music literacy. All she said was “darling, the Beatles never wrote a word of music. Paul Mcartney recorded his first lines of Hey Jude while he was driving in his car”… and so that very day I wrote my first song. I’ve been writing ever since and have never looked back. I recorded 5 songs and was one of the first generation of digital MP3.com artists… too many years ago to remember!
Some of my best ideas come to me at 2am in the morning, or in most inopportune places! There was a time I’d leap out of bed and dash to my recording device (at the time) to capture a song. Stranger in my head and Jellyfish Conquistador are a couple I could name! Thank God for technology. Earlier this week I was trying out a tune to a new song “Feels Like Lava” in the park in quarry bay, recording through my iphone’s headset while getting in my 10K steps after lunch; passers by were looking at me like I was from another planet. If that was you, now you know!