Tomorrow morning, at 7:00 a.m., I will be at the Austin Convention Center to audition for The Voice. I am 45 years old, a husband of 24 years, the father of a soon to be 16 year old daughter, the Managing Director and Partner at a recruiting firm (Providence Partners), and I will go stand in line beside kids as young as 13-14 for my chance to sing. Am I crazy???
I grew up in a very musical home. My mom played the piano, and my two older sisters sang in a Gospel quartet that traveled all over the country performing. My first solo came when I was 2 years old. I took 13 years of vocal lessons, attended college on a vocal scholarship, and have performed for as many as 25,000 in a live performance, as well as performing on TV and radio. My dream coming out of high school was to be a professional musician, but while in college, I messed up my vocal chords by singing around 4-5 hours a day each day. My throat would bleed while I was singing, hurting like crazy afterwards, and then my voice would disappear after a while. My dream ended when that happened.
I spent close to 20 years as a Youth Minister and a Worship Leader at various churches, so in a way, I did become a professional musician – but not quite the way I envisioned it at 17 and 18 years old. Several years ago, I stopped singing for a couple of years and it was the first time in my life that I took that kind of a break. It allowed my vocal chords and throat a chance to fully heal. But now, much older, and not near as polished as I was “back in the day,” I have a chance to go audition. But why?
I’d love to tell you that I have this burning passion to just sing the rest of my life away…and I do enjoy singing still, but that’s not it. It’s a weird story, but one worth telling.
On August 24, 2010, I was diagnosed with cancer. Let me tell you, when you hear the words, “You have cancer.”, it changes every aspect of your life. My priorities shifted from making a lot of money, advancing in my career, and owning nice things to the priorities of faith, family, and friends. I wanted relationships. I wanted meaningful conversations. I wanted to do all of those things that I always wondered about but never took the chances to try. I wanted my daughter, and those around me, to see that taking a risk – putting yourself out there – is okay! I went through a tough time in my fight with cancer…my second surgery was the worst and could have cost me my life. But after a few months of hard core surgeries and treatments, I was declared cancer free!
So, when I walk into my audition tomorrow morning, it’s not to impress everyone with my voice. At this stage of my life, there will be many who are far better than I am. But I walk in to take a risk, to put myself out there, to face a challenge, and with the hopes that I’ll make it far enough to share my story. Not long ago, I didn’t know if I would live or die…but neither do any of us. Tomorrow is not promised. Enjoy life. Take time to do fun things and build memories. Engage in deep conversations about things that matter. Tell people who matter in your life – “I love you.” And find your song and sing it as loud as you can!