My Story...

My Story...here it is...

 

I grew up with a very strong connection to music. I was a very sensitive child from very early on. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard myself being described that way. It was usually “too sensitive, very sensitive, or overly sensitive.” With that said, music was and has always been my best friend. I found something that met my sensitivity and intensity level…and we bonded. My earliest memories are of listening to musical greats on long car rides, at home on a typical weekend, outside while my Dad would be working on his cars and allowing my sister and I to assist, after school at my Dad’s print shop, and my Dad singing while playing guitar for us and for himself on a daily basis. As I got a little bit older, and felt more and more disconnected from the world around me, I would lock myself in my room discovering new great voices that made me feel a connection to myself, the outside world, and filled the holes I felt inside. I actually watched very little TV through my teenage years. I spent most of my time listening to music, and of course singing along. In the eighth grade, I was mistakenly put into a Drama class as my elective. I, along with my mother, by my own request, did everything we could to try and get me switched out of the class. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything we could do, and I was stuck in the class, scared shitless of what could lie ahead for me there. I remember lying awake in the midst of very intense anxiety every night before I had Drama class. What would we have to do in class tomorrow? Would I have to get up in front of the class? Would I have to open up and share pieces of myself I didn’t even want to acknowledge were there? Not only was I sensitive, but I was very shy around other kids my own age. Unsure of myself, vulnerable, and had a really hard time making friends. Put me at a table of adults at a dinner party though, and I felt right at home. Weird kid, very old soul…A few months into Drama class and I was required, as every other student enrolled, to do a mandatory audition for our middle school musical. Fear like fear I had never before experienced set in and a new unfamiliar darkness arose and followed me around until I faced the ugly, bitter, truth…there was no getting out of this one. AH! Once I realized I had to do this, I came up with all sorts of ways to get through it…including everything I could possibly think of to get out of it…I practiced and practiced and even sang the song the night before audition day in front of both my parents turned around facing the wall in the corner of their bedroom so they couldn’t see me while singing. Audition song was, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” We were doing a middle school Rock Oz production. I remember my parents being floored when I sang for them. They knew I could carry a tune because they had always heard me singing along in my room to records and had always told me that I had a natural ear for music but this was different, this was my first solo, acapella, sing in front of ANYONE moment….of course this made me more afraid, I think it would have been easier to hide and fall between the cracks in that dreaded Drama class if I had been terrible…I remember each day for the next few weeks during the Audition period trying to hide out in the corner so my name wouldn’t be called. I think I ended up being one of the last to Audition. Of course, by this time we had moved to the smaller of two auditoriums in the school and I had to audition on the stage. I remember getting up there, finding the large black and white clock on the back wall and focusing on it as I opened my mouth to sing. I ended up getting a lead role in that play with a solo song. If that’s not one way to face fear head on, I don’t know what is. I ended up falling in love with performing. I felt so at home on stage. Not before hand, and definitely not after, but mid performance, singing to an audience, I felt a connection that I had never before experienced and that’s where it all began….

Over the next few months, I started taking piano lessons again, which lead to vocal lessons. I began to classically train with a classical voice major from Cal State Northridge and from there I moved on to modern vocal coaches. I sang in a few talent shows at school, danced in our schools dance production and gave myself a musical education any moment I had free time. I sang and sang and sang and listened and sang some more. After highschool I began to make connections with young producers and songwriters. I jumped on any opportunity to sing, to write, to get into a studio. It was the most comfortable place I could be and the most connected to myself I had ever been. I can’t say that the rest of my life was going smoothly, it never quite has. I went to college straight out of high school, was a great student, but my heart just wasn’t in it and I decided to take a different route. My education has been in this hustle. Music has always been my way to find some form of peace, love, and normalcy in a very chaotic mind and what feels like a very chaotic world. For an anxious and sensitive person with constant noise running through my head, while singing, performing, writing, recording, and even just listening to music, it finally gets quiet. It’s like my meditation and where my truest most vulnerable self feels safe. It isn’t an easy road, it hasn’t been a straight path either, but what road really is? Shouldn’t we all just do whatever makes us feel most present and understood in our daily lives? It’s taken me years to get to a place where I could be proud of what I do and where I have been to get to this place, and truthfully, it feels like it’s only just begun… 

melissa gottlieb