I grew up on a family farm in a small village of 250 people, on a small island in rural Denmark. Most of my family lives on the island, and being an artist is not something you pursue in my family. It is something you do for fun and as a hobby-- in fact my parents met doing community theatre over 50 years ago. They both are excellent singers, and as a result, I grew up singing. When I was 13, I was a part of a big community theatre production of Annie Get Your Gun, and from there my dream formed-- I wanted to sing for a living. I didn’t tell anyone, as it seemed it would not be taken serious or accepted as an option. I continued saying I wanted to be a doctor, and continued being an A student until I was about 19 and in the last year of what can be compared to undergraduate college in the US.
I don’t know what was the catalyst that gave me the courage to break out. I think it might have been a local singing competition that I took part in for young singers. I didn’t win or do very well even, but something made me see that this could be a viable way of living: there was a community there, and people I felt I had something in common with on a deeper level.
I also had a singing teacher who helped me realize that I could interpret material not just sing it “correctly”… and that I was good at it! I was an above average singer, technically, but I could move people! And that was it. I told my parents that I was moving to London to take lessons with a famous musical-theater singing teacher at the time, Ian Adam.
Telling my parents was my original bold move. I can still get all emotional thinking about it. I was afraid and quite certain I would be shunned from the family. I see it as my ‘coming out of the closet’ moment. Being an artist among a community of farmers meant feeling wildly out of place and unaccepted. However, thankfully my family didn’t shun me, but my father did say, “Do you think you are good enough?” and it haunted me for years. I was so disappointed with his response, but later understood that he said that from his own insecurities. Which parent jumps up and down with joy when their child tells them they are going to choose the hardest of all professions, when I could have chosen anything...
It has now been 20 years and I have made MANY bold moves since then, including some that didn’t go well at all. I have failed soooo many times! And will probably fail some more. However, I have had great support from some exceptional people in my life, including my parents and my family.
Something about that first courageous move made me realize that the assumed danger is not what it seems, and that taking one step at the time and letting yourself change with every step is paramount to happiness.
Now, I am living the dream-- I sing for a living! I have done musicals, tours, song concerts with 3000+ people and big symphony orchestras. I do gigs around New York and in Europe; I am in an indie rock band; I write my own music, and do voice over work. I have also co-founded a theatre company, produced theater and written music for theater. I run my own business where I teach individual lessons and help others to use their voice for greater expression, as well as group classes where we focus more on performance elements. And most recently, I started a vocal scholarship program for 18-23 year olds when they are considering whether or not ‘they are good enough’... I get to pay it forward.
It isn’t exactly how I thought it would be, and I am sure there are more bold moves to come,
but choosing courage over fear is an exhilarating way of life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.