I’ve previously written about my favorite night at Diamond Jim Saloon: their famous karaoke night. I used to love attending these events and listening to some of my wonderful gay friends sing their hearts out. I even loved getting up on stage and singing myself. But that was not always true.
When I first started going to the saloon, I refused to get up on stage and sing. I would happily listen to everyone else while sipping on my favorite tea drink and had a blast every single time, but I just couldn’t get up there and sing myself. My singing was always terrible and I was just too self-conscious.
Of course, like any other karaoke party, there were tons of bad singers. The majority of people couldn’t sing, but it never seems to stop them from getting up there and trying. They just didn’t seem to care.
To be fair, no one in the crowd cared either. No one ever called anyone a bad singer and no one ever made a big fuss about it. To be honest, I have no idea why I was so afraid to get up on stage and sing. I guess I felt like I would make a fool of myself and everyone would laugh at me, despite seeing plenty of evidence the contrary. No one was ever laughed at, no matter how bad a singer they were. Yet, I just couldn’t do it.
I remember once I had to get up and sing in front of my whole class in elementary school. My music teacher made everyone do it. No one else seemed to have a problem with it, but when I got up I just couldn’t sing. No sound came out. I was too shy and too afraid. I just stood there petrified and, naturally, everyone laughed at me. It was elementary school, after all.
I think this scarred me for life. I think this is the reason why I can’t sing at karaoke now, even though none of my friends would laugh at me and none of them are great singers themselves.
But, as mentioned, I can do it now. I got over my fear of singing. I should say, not my fear singing, but my fear of singing in public. I feared singing in front of other people. How do you suppose I got over it? Well, I learned to sing.
That’s right, it turns out the best way to get over your fear of singing in front of people is to actually get good at it. After doing some reading, I learned that performance anxiety stems from the fact that you think you’re not good at something. You’re not afraid to perform, you’re afraid to perform badly. You have no confidence in your ability. If you had confidence in your abilities, you would not be afraid to show them off. You would confidently show them off. That is exactly what happened with me.
I got myself a great vocal coach and I also got myself some online lessons. I combined my online singing course with my singing teacher and a few months later, I sounded great. Of course, I was far from a professional singer, but I sounded much better than the average person. I definitely sounded much better than all of my friends.
Knowing that I sounded great like this finally gave me the confidence to overcome my performance anxiety and get up in front of everybody at the Diamond Jim Saloon during their karaoke night and to sing my heart out. I sang all of my favorite songs and I felt wonderful doing it. And people wouldn’t stop talking about what a great singer I was! They were actually angry with me for not getting up on stage and singing earlier and for depriving them of my voice. It was amazing!