As far back as I can remember, I wanted to sing. I was always singing as a young child, even back to age 3 or 4, and I always felt happiest when I was singing.
All through my young years of being a child, I used to say that I wanted to be a singer when I grew up, and I felt great about it, but when I became a teenager, I could feel that “singer” was not the answer my family wanted to hear from me when they asked what I wanted to do with my life.
When I was about 13, I told an Aunt of mine that I wanted to sing and I remember her getting very serious with me, giving me a talking to. She told me that it was fine for me to do singing as a hobby, but that I’d really need to get a proper job, and that was the way it was. The idea of that filled me with dread. Singing was the proper job I wanted.
There were other people in my life around the same time who told me similar things. I know now that they weren’t trying to be mean, in fact, they were trying to protect me from hurt and disappointment, because they believed what I wanted was “unrealistic” and would only lead me to feel bad.
Here’s what happened: I finished school. I went to college. I didn’t sing. I spent several years being varying degrees of unhappy in “proper jobs”. I would cry on my way to work, wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn’t just “get on with it” like other people could. (I know now that I was just misplaced. I was just somewhere I didn’t really belong.)
Finally, I had the realisation that if I didn’t change, this was the life I was going to get. That if I really wanted to sing then I had to sing.
So gradually I did. I put up ads. I did auditions. I met other musicians. I sang backing vocals for other people first and then I set up my own band. We recorded 2 albums and toured in the States and in Europe and I had some of the most amazing times of my life. Now I am writing new songs and learning guitar and I know I’ll be doing music and singing – among other things – for the rest of my life.
Most of all – I’m really happy. I know who I am. I know what I want to do and I’m doing it.
Why am I telling you all of this?
I’m telling you because if you have something in your heart that you want to do, whatever that may be for you, and people are telling you that you can’t, I want to save you some time and tears!
It’s like this:
1: Nobody else can know what is right for you except YOU. It’s true. Nobody else knows what is in your heart.
- It doesn’t matter what others say you can or can’t do. That’s their perspective. That’s their beliefs. What matters is that you are at choice right now. You get to choose what is best for you in your life.
- It may be hard to do the things you truly want to do, but it is much harder not to do them.
I have found that when I follow my heart and do what I love, life may still be challenging, but it is also so fulfilling.
I can definitely live with that!
Aoife O’Leary is a singer, songwriter and writer. She recorded two albums and toured in the States and Europe with her band, Moth Complex, and is currently creating a new, solo musical project.
She is in the process of creating a music resource site for musicians getting started, called Music Rocks My World.
Aoife is also a Book Editor and Book Coach and helps others find their own voices in their writing, which she finds deeply rewarding too.