Life is nothing if not amusing at times. I haven’t participated in a Daily Prompt in…well, I don’t rightly recall the last time. I was on my way back to bed (not feeling close to well today) when the thought occured to me, “If the Daily Prompt has something to do with making music, I will post.” And, lo and behold. I had to laugh out loud when I read today’s Daily Prompt in my email, We Got the Beat, which asks (and instructs), “Have you ever played in a band? Tell us all about that experience of making music with friends.”
I won’t point out the obvious (oh, ok, I will…some people don’t know me from a hole in the ground, so… I’m a singer/songwriter and I have been off and on, throughout my life, a professional vocalist (professional simply means getting paid for what you do) since the age of 4). One could say I was born into a band.
Daughter of a professional vocalist and musician, as soon as I showed both the ability and the passion to sing, my mother “signed me up” to sing with her, lending harmonies, or taking the lead so she could do the harmonies. She directed various choirs and choral groups, and I often lended a strong voice to these, as well. I was in a variety of the trio groups she put together. Harmony is fun (one of the reasons I love to do my own backing vocals on recordings) and, as much as I like the spotlight and solo work, a good vocal group can be what I call a good time. Of all the people I have made music with, I probably enjoyed making it with my mother the most. An ocean separates us now, so we don’t get to work together. I miss it.
When I moved to the UK, I managed to get a solo gig – a one off which didn’t amount to any more jobs. So, I got a day job and did the nine to five where I met a computer tech who also played bass in two bands, one of which was losing their lead vocalist due to wanting to go solo. I auditioned for them. I got the job (all of this one could read in my bio on my website…hint, hint). I sang with The Chairs for nearly 2 years until the break up of the band (we lost our drummer and the keyboardist who started the band was getting bored, I think). I enjoyed working with such excellent musicians and I was sad when my time with The Chairs ended. But, I’m still in touch with Ivor, the bassist, and we catch up and play together from time to time. It’s always a joy.
Making music together is an intimate thing. Music is powerful. It’s more of a spiritual force – it transends the natural and temporary. Music belongs to the soul, belongs to the eternal. It can forge bonds…. and I get attached. Of recent times I have played and sang in both a folk/acoustic band and a worship band with a couple of people that I miss very much now that – due to life and illness and the illness of life taking weird and agonising turns – I am no longer playing with. This is a sadness. Attachment is dangerous. Playing in a band can teach you this. Painfully, but you learn the lesson.
I figure that before I leave this plane of existence I will play with others (oh, yeah, that’s another thing… musicians love the inuendo) once more. But, right now, I am solo… making music, on my own. I make it because I am it. I was born into it. I was born of it… I make it because I’m made of it. I believe in it. It’s more than what I do (but it is the only marketable thing I can do); it is who I am. I am the band.