I’m big on singing. I sing to my kids, I sing in the shower and in the car. I used to sing to my dogs when I was little. I’d stand in the backyard and belt out “God Bless the USA” like I was Miss America. In college I constantly serenaded my sorority sisters while I painted banners in the dorm hallway. They never said so, but I’m pretty sure my renditions of NSync and Shakira songs changed their lives forever. These days I have a magnet for my minivan that reads “I’ve got the music in me!” Sure, that magnet is just flair from my sons’ music class, but it speaks to my soul.
My favorite time to sing is when I’m baking. I bake at night after my boys go to bed. I throw on an apron; I wisk, I measure and I nearly bust a lung as I harmonize to Pandora Radio. While my husband Dan supports my baking endeavors, he isn’t very enthusiastic about my amateur singing career. He’s said I could make it through the first couple rounds of the now-defunct American Idol, but he’s totally a Simon if my singing gets out of hand (read: I am loud).
I wear ear buds, which has helped reduce some of the volume, but it’s hard to hear your own volume when you wear those. And if the tune is really good, how can I be expected to hold back my God-given gift(ish) of song?
When it comes to my music selections, I admit my favorites are an obscure (slightly embarrassing) mix. I know lots of girls around my age (mid-thirties) who indulge in gangster rap. While I’m not opposed to rap, I’m not too hip to it either, yo. My wheelhouse is a blend of old country music, 80’s rock and musicals ("Grease 2", "Glee, " "Phantom of the Opera"…my repertoire knows no bounds). I also get giddy when I hear from my homegirls: Bette, Dolly and Cher. Give me some fishnet stockings, a black leotard and leather jacket - I’ll give you a version of “If I Could Turn Back Time” you’ll never forget (no matter how hard you try).
While bouncing around my favorite Pandora stations a few months back, I discovered Juice Newton radio. Holy crap. It’s like I was reborn. One minute I’m Dolly singing “Islands in the Stream” with Kenny Rogers, then I’m two-stepping in my kitchen to songs from the “Urban Cowboy” soundtrack. Dan passes through to grab a snack and I ignore his smirk. I am a country idol slash Betty Crocker goddess. I refuse to be distracted by the leering audience.
Then, like an answered prayer, Juice Newton’s “Angel in the Morning” is humming in my ears. I float around the kitchen, checking to see if the cake is rising as I sing “just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby…” I sing with so much conviction, you’d wonder what I’ve been up to when not corralling toddlers. Yes, it’s a risqué song about a one night stand or something, but a true performer delivers, whether the lyrics speak to them or not. Do you think Reba McIntyre knows what it’s like to be a hooker named Fancy? I don’t think so. But she rocked that song like the gritty little ginger she is and I respect that. I would totally chest bump you, Reba.
Singing is my stress reliever. It’s my way of tuning out the junk that clutters my brain. It makes me happy and keeps me productive in the kitchen. Juice Newton is the secret ingredient in all my baked goods.