During my undergraduate years in the Federal University of Technology, Niger State in Nigeria; I was opportune to lead a music team (praise team) at the Fellowship of Christian Students....
I don’t know if you have been there before, when someone you greatly looked up to said something that dashed any hope you had in you at taking a shot at something you loved to do dearly. It suck, trust me.
It was just after I had concluded high school; that long period of waiting just before gaining admission into the university. I had always loved music, so I figured I could spend my time doing something I love; singing. I joined my local church choir, it was a Catholic Church. So yes, we were singing hymns and classical songs, oh how I miss those days of singing sofa notations, doing the allegros, crescendos etc.
Not too long after I joined the choir, the Bishop’s Music Contest was right at the corner. We were to compete with other sophisticated choirs. For us to come back with the trophy, we needed to be properly coached. The leadership brought in an expert to coach us. Austin was a great guy, everybody liked him, so did I. He was a perfectionist, very disciplined with a good ear for musical notes. He could pick a voice singing off-key from a crowd.
Austin needed to properly align the choristers with various parts based on their voice nature. It got to my turn and after carrying out his diagnostics, the words that came out of his mouth were “You can not sing tenor”. I felt like my heart stopped beating for a moment. It was that transitional period in my life when my voice was breaking into that of man, so all I could do was to blend with the people singing bass at the back bench.
We eventually won the music contest, though the words of Austin left my music potential petrified, I felt I did not play any part in helping the choir win the cup. After all, I was just hiding under the main guys singing bass.
We relocated to another state and I later joined another music team within the neighbourhood, I had joined the tenor singers. I felt I was finally making progress. One day, I was asked to solo a song, as I opened my mouth to sing, my voice disappeared, I just froze. It was like I could hear Austin’s voice in my head telling me I could not sing. The statement made me feel underestimated and for a long time, it left me in a position of feeling not good enough.
But when I joined the University, my music life took another turn. I met Kelvin Bian, though he is late now, he was very encouraging. I remember him telling me that I had a great voice, I just needed to believe in myself and let the best in me come out. Those words made hope rise in me. It was like I finally had the courage to break up with the words of Austin.
I later joined one of the best music team on campus. At the time, we were preparing for a concert. As a culture of the music team, all songs to be featured in the concert were to be written by the members of the team. I remembered the words of Kelvin. So, I wrote a song and went for audition. I could not believe it when I was told my song made the list of songs to be featured in the concert.
I felt like a star, like a baby who just started walking for the first time. All the while, the words of Austin was lurking somewhere in my head, not allowing me discover and release the best in me. That experience has helped me to overcome events of like nature. I later became the praise team leader of the same music group in my final year before I graduated. Today, have written a number of songs, I sing and play the guitar.
When someone tries to underestimate you with their opinion; in such a way that plants the seeds of doubt in your heart. You owe it to yourself to work hard and break that limiting thought. You have a chance to write your own story and prove the naysayers wrong. What will your story be?
I am the dreamer who broke up with fear, now I am living my dreams. Let’s dream together.