Visiting a tiny Welsh church recently on holiday, we were struck by a series of banners that had just arrived. There was one point on them that surprised me – how much I felt in agreement with it as a musician, singer and writer, and how much it made me think about the songs I love.
When you read something that you really enjoy, you might underline a particular line or paragraph as having profound meaning for you. Then when you come back to the book at a later date, you might underline a different phrase or paragraph that has meaning for you now.
Why is that? Why didn’t you underline the second phrase/paragraph the first time around? Why didn’t it have the meaning then that it has now?
The point the banner made was that although the words remain the same, their meaning to you changes because you have changed.
Thinking about singing and performing, why do we choose to sing certain songs?
Think of a song that you are currently singing. Is it something you heard and are singing while doing the housework? Is it a song that you know you have to include in your set? Have you been paid to include it in a performance? Have you been cast in a role where the character sings a particular song? These are all different reasons to sing something, but I only class one as “spontaneous” – singing around the house.
Something in a song has captured you in some way. It could be the lyric, the melody, the vibe, or the way it makes you feel.
Now imagine yourself five years in the future. Will you still be singing that song around the house? And will it mean the same to you then?
We grow, we change, we mature. Things that were vital to us become less important or are replaced with new things that are more important in that moment. And that’s ok.
Sometimes we love a song or vibe or melody in a way that transcends time. Maybe the memory or emotion it gives us is a precious one and we feel exactly the same way about it. That’s ok too.
Music is more than sound. Singing is more than pitch. Sometimes it enables us to process emotions that are too big to verbalise in words. Pain, hurt, joy.
Enjoy your choices, love your songs and celebrate them staying or passing. Both are a gift.
What are you singing at the moment?