I recently shared a blog post about overcoming adversity. As serendipity would have it, SFYS client Mel Finefrock was simultaneously writing a gorgeous song entitled "Overcome." In fact, my blog and her song were both inspired by themes we've explored in our vocal work together ~ basically, how music and art help us to connect with our voices, move through life's difficulties, and ultimately, find healing and joy.
When she shared her song with me, I got very excited and asked if she'd be open to my sharing it with you. She said yes! So... you're in for a treat!
Mel has some pretty big projects in the works. I can't disclose them yet, but we'll definitely be checking back in with her soon. One thing I can share is that she's also a writer, and this week published her first article in the Huffington Post. In fact, she was notified of this in an email written by Arianna Huffington herself! Wheee!
You can read Mel's story, find her Huff Post article, and hear her song below. The song is beautifully sung, heartfelt, and universally relatable. I hope you'll listen!
Also, for those who are wondering about the effectiveness of voice lessons with me via Skype, let me just say that Mel is almost completely blind and many miles away, yet we have been able to work together very effectively on Skype. There have definitely been moments of creative thinking, but I love that because our minds are both expanding, and I'm all for expanding our minds :)
And now, here's a peek into Mel's vocal journey, in her own words...
I started playing guitar in the seventh grade. I had two teachers--James and Johnny--who helped lay the foundation for my playing, and then the rest was self-exploration. Mostly I play finger style, which gives my music a folk sort of vibe.
The first song I "wrote" was in the fourth grade about some kid who'd done me wrong and ditched me because he couldn't take our peers' jibes about going out with the blind girl. Wow, not much has changed, has it? I still pretty much write just love songs, mainly because I'm not a prolific songwriter unless I feel something strongly. But I suppose that isn't altogether a bad thing. After all, love of all forms is inspiring to me.
But although I feel strongly toward others, I haven't always been so loving toward myself. You could say I take being my own worst critic to a whole new level. For the past few years now, I've been working to redefine several aspects of my self-concept which had previously been influenced by trauma. My path toward healing has entailed seeing counselors, opening up to others, taking up creative writing, volunteering for causes, etc. My thinking has been that if I surround myself with love and positivity, if I prove to myself that I can do wonderful things, if I allow myself to love and be loved by others, then my self-concept will ultimately change. And for the most part, it's been working, albeit slowly in some areas.
It's always been a flip of the coin whether music has been therapeutic or stressful to me. I've sung, strummed, performed, recorded, written and covered songs, but I haven't always been a fan of my own voice whenever it plays back through the speakers. Actually, that's an understatement. So after some soul-searching, I concluded that the stress associated with performing might be linked to past trauma, and I therefore sought to work with Kimberly in hopes of unpacking that baggage and becoming a more confident singer.
Kimberly has such an interesting approach. Much of her coaching is technical, but for me, it's also been largely emotional. We are doing breathing and vocal technique, but first, we've spent time talking about my feelings associated with performing. Kimberly has suggested meditations, and what I'd describe as cognitive therapy exercises. All too often, our minds are what inhibit us from our full potential. So, as Kimberly says, I'm rewriting my story. Only I've amended that to say that I'm rewriting my own song (which she of course loves and said she's stealing ;)