Episode 13

Episode 13

Feeling the Feelings and Singing It Anyway

Using a song as a vehicle for emotional transformation step one:

In this episode we dig into that juicy area of why some songs make us cry, sometimes we don’t even know why we’re choked up but we are.

After recognizing some of the instances when we might cry either from us singing or listening to someone else, I lead you on a very simple 3 step approach to dealing with emotionally juicy songs.

I invite you to be brave and work with a song that makes you cry and let me know how you get on ❤️ 

I also mention two songs of the many millions that have made me cry Elvis Costello’s gorgeous song Shipbuilding

Nat King Cole singing ‘Oh Holy Night’

and Kitty of Colraine from my award winning lullaby album Lullaby Island

Thank you so much for listening and HUGE thanks for those who have shared the podcast with their friends or written me reviews, it’s super helpful. 

messy transcript

What is this now episode 13? I don’t really know what to call this episode, but I think I’m going to call it, feeling the feelings and singing it anyway. Anyone who knows me well or at. Moderately, well, or maybe you just met me in the grocery store. I dunno.  pretty open book, but anyone who knows me well, certainly knows that I am often a big laugher and a big joker and a deep feeling, easy to cry person.

I just am. I feel quite intense. They come through me quite fully. Um, and then they move on and that’s just what I’m like. I feel things quite deeply. And, um, I feel that with songs particularly. So have you ever had that thing where you think I really wanna sing this song and you start singing it and like halfway through the second verse?

You get totally choked up and can’t finish the verse. Um, I’ve been having that experience this week, as I’m trying to add a new song to my repertoire. It’s an Elvis Costello song called ship building. I think it was on his album. Um, punch the clock from the early eighties. I don’t know which year, but early eighties anyway.

And, um, it was written during the time of the Falklands war and about the irony of. The men that were building the ships, uh, would be sending their own sons off to war. And, uh, about how that community in the Northeast of England was impacted by, um, being a, kind of a single industry. Town, um, on single industry area, there was a lot of, um, my grandparents were from a steelworks, uh, town and, you know, so when those industries would get shut down, whether it was coal mines in Wales or, um, the steelworks up north, um, Whole communities were decimated cuz nobody had any work.

And then of course, people were excited about places getting reopened so they could work again. And at the same, anyway, I’m going way in, more into detail with the song, but it really hit me when I started singing this song again that I pulled out for the first time in probably 10 years this week. So anyway, This song by Elvis Costello is evocative of all these things.

And I thought I’ve always loved this song, but I’ve never sung it. Anyway, there’s a lyric at the end of the song that chokes me up every single time. And I have to realize when I go to sing that song, why it is, what, what, what is all that stored feeling I have going on? Um, in order to be able to sing the song, I have to let myself really feel that feeling and work through the tears.

So this is what I’m talking about today. I’m talking about those songs that make you cry. Sometimes it’s when somebody else is singing it, sometimes it’s when you’re trying to sing it yourself sometimes. Um, I’ve been lucky enough to go to some fantastic, um, Operas where I’ve been quite close to the front and the, uh, vibration of a Soprano’s voice will just knock the stuffing out of me.

And I’ll just be sobbing, sobbing, you know, a particular thing. Oh, NA king Cole singing. Oh, holy night. I’m fine. Until we get to the “fall on your knees” line. And then for some reason, That just takes my legs out from under me.  so, I’m telling you what, I’m rambling on like this, because I know I’m not alone.

Right? We have songs that make us cry. So. Often the songs that we are really drawn to are the ones that have emotional value for us. Right. They, uh, connect to some time in the past or some longing that is yet unexpressed or, um, something like that. When the psyche can’t handle a situation that is going on, maybe you’re too young or there’s too many traumas happening or at once.

Feelings will get locked in, right locked into the unconscious, locked into your muscles, into your tissue. And the act of singing, dancing, creating art in any way can be a conduit for the release of that. So we should look at those songs, the ones that make us cry as a gift. Because what they’re doing is they’re giving us an opportunity to not just release emotion.

We’re not just gonna be primal, screaming and, and yelling into our cushions, cuz that, that doesn’t actually transform the energy. We need to transform the energy into something else. We need to transform the energy into something else by working with creation. And that is often like singing a song counts.

So if you have a song.  that makes you cry. I would say work with that song, work with that song. And when you get to the point in the song where you get choked up, let yourself sit with the feelings, sit with the feelings, breathe, let the breath move through your body.  and then have another go and see if each time you come to that point where your voice cleanses and you choke up, you try to soften and let go.

Imagine that you are more fluid, you’re more water. Let the tears actually be the wetness that cleanse the moment. So with that, what you’ll do is you’ll eventually be able to release those feelings and they transform into the song. And so therefore you are not holding them in your body, into your muscles, in your, in your, the unconscious becomes conscious, right?

Because you’ve transformed it into. So even if you are using somebody else’s song, you don’t have to write your own song. Writing your own song is great by the way. And I’ll do an episode of that one day. Um, but using a song as a vehicle for emotional transformation, I suppose that’s what I’m talking about.

So when you have a song that makes you. And it could be something that has a, a very, uh, you know, possibly a traumatic route or something that was really sad. And that was grief. Something locked in singing that song, letting the tears flow, taking a breath, softening, softening, doing it again. Eventually you’ll be able to sing that song because I have, uh, singers come to me that have songs they really wanna sing, but they’re so worried about crying on stage.

And of course, We don’t wanna do that regularly. It’s okay. If it happens, it’s totally okay. All of this is okay. But. In order for us to let our audience really have their feelings. We kind of have to hold it together enough so that they’re not then worried about us and being pulled out of their own experience.

But if you work with the song a lot being soft, keep working on it. The lovely thing is, you can then sing that song and all the feeling and the richness of you being so connected to it is still gonna be there. But you are not falling apart, right? Because it’s been released and channeled into the song instead of it being a, uh, a fresh wound.

Right. I often hear that in the entrepreneurial area. They talk about sharing from your own wounds and you don’t wanna share from a fresh wound. Right? You wanna share about a scar? You wanna tell a story about a. Reminds me, my friend, uh, dear friend, Carol Grimes. Who’s an amazing jazz singer from the UK.

Um, , she would probably classify herself as a jazz blues singer and an all kinds of things singer, she’s quite amazing. She used to sing a cover of a song called scars  and I could never hear her sing that without just totally sobbing. Um, so, and it’s probably, if she sang it to me now, I’d probably just completely fall apart sobbing.

Um, she’s offering me that catharsis by singing that song. I get to be in the audience and have a good cry, which is lovely. Um, It can also be obviously songs that conjure up something really sweet, uh, a treasured moment in time or a nostalgic memory. Something like that. When I was recording lullaby island, which is my, uh, lullaby album for, it’s a kind of a lullaby concept album for babies and toddlers.

When I was recording that. I wanted to include the song, uh, kitty of Coleraine. Uh, not because it’s anything to do with lullabies, but because that was the song my brother used to sing to me when I was little and I couldn’t sing it initially because it just made me cry so much. Like the, the sweetness of that memory would get me totally choked up and.

It was really hard, but, but I can now, you know, because I felt the feelings and let them be their lovely, juicy, nostalgic richness. And, and that’s great. So can you think of songs I expect you already have been thinking about songs that you love and try to sing, but they catch you. They get stuck in your throat.

They get, you get choked up, right? That’s what happens. You literally get choked up from trying to sing a song that is deeply moving. And I think when we can get past the, when we can get past the idea that we’re supposed to be able to just get to the end and not fall apart, get through the judgment.

First of all, Right. How you sing a song is totally up to you. How you sing a song and using a song as a vehicle for healing is something that I’ve been working with for 25 years. And I think it is the most, um, dramatic, speedy, accessible way to work with the singing voice. Because so much of the issues that happen with our voices actually are rooted in the emotions and the feelings we have about it.

So first of all, give yourself permission. No, you’re gonna cry. So therefore you can relax a little bit. So give yourself permission to have a cry. When you sing the song, then slow everything. Slow it all the way down. You don’t have to, this is not getting all the grocery shopping done by five o’clock.

This is like, let yourself have a moment. Slow it all down. Slow your breath a little bit. See if you can keep your shoulders relaxed, breathe into the belly. Right? Nice, slow breath. Feel the feelings when you get to that place and let them pass and then take it. Right. Go again through the song lesson slowly letting the feelings move through you like a river, right?

So just moving through you as you sing the song and eventually it will get easier. It will get easier. And you know what, it’s all going. It’s also gonna sound so much more connected and much more impactful. Singers that move us are not the ones who are acrobats. Although we do get moved by vocal acrobatics, obviously, they’re the ones who are really connecting to the story that they’re telling so that we feel like it’s their story.

And when you have an emotional reaction to a song, it is your story. Doesn’t matter if you didn’t write it. That makes sense. Okay. So, uh, that’s my suggestion for you is to try working with a song that makes you cry. And, um, if you need more help, you know how to find me, uh, your free voice.com. There’s a little link on there where you can set up a session and we can work on stuff together.

Um, But, you know, really just do the things I said to start with. Just slow everything down. Give yourself space. You could add some journaling in there’s really helpful. Maybe even draw some images. If stuff is coming to your mind, you might not even know why you’re crying. First of all. So you do need to give yourself time anyway.

Okay. I hope that wasn’t too sad. It’s a liberation. I tell you one of these days I’ll be able to sing oh, holy night and not cry on the fall on your knees, but it’s not yet. I’m not gonna do it today. Okay, have a great week, everyone. Thank you so much for, uh, listening, please rate and write me a review if you can.

Um, I’m still not really findable. Um, so it will be great. And I super appreciate it and let me know how I can help. Okay. Take care. Bye.