Announcing my "un-retirement" from singing
At the beginning of March of 2007 something weird was happening. I hated singing.
When you come to a decision that will change your life it's always sobering. In 2007 I had come to the decision to quit singing as a professional crooner after twenty years. I'd done everything I had ever dreamed of doing as a singer. The fun was gone.
Seventy five gigs a year had worn me out. The thought of booking even just one more gig was like loading a slab of granite onto my back. So I called my booking agent Pat McGannon and told him that I'd had enough. I told Pat that I was going to retire from singing. Pat was completely understanding but reluctant. We were a good team. It was hard to walk away from a great business partnership. Even harder yet... it was hard to walk away from a great friend like Pat. We had talked almost every day for seven years.
I decided that I would focus my attention on being a supporter of jazz instead of a participant. My new job as host of the weekend edition of Tonic at CBC Radio 2 was an exciting new challenge. I dove into it with enthusiasm like a young lad trying to impress a girl.
I didn't sing for two full years. I wasn't ready to sing again but something came up and I decided to give it a go. I remember how nervous I was about getting back on stage for that first time in. The fear was almost choking me but I didn't let on to anyone. I anxiously took to the stage and faked my way through the gig. It rattled me and clawed away at my energy. I quietly took about a dozen gigs over the next three years. Only three of them were public. I wasn't ready to dive back in but I did put a toe in.
The best thing about singing just a few times is that I started to understand how much I enjoy myself with people who are friends first in addition to being fantastic musicians. That experience began to open my eyes to the possiblities of singing again. My go-to guys: Sheldon Zandboer, Jason Valleau and Jim Johnson were the three legs that got this wobbly table to stand again. They were the legs that were bolted on. I was the leg that was duct taped on so that the tape wouldn't show.
Fast forward to today. I'm coming out of my self-imposed crooner retirement. Jazz has become fun again because I have a new mission. I want to share how much fun jazz IS and do my best to GROW the jazz audience. I've learned through my retirement and my time at Radio 2 that most people are clueless about jazz. It's not their fault but wouldn't it be fun to show them how much fun jazz can be?
Jazz was born out of fun! People used to party, dance, drink and laugh with jazz. That's exactly what I'm going to do this time around. Anyone can come along for the ride not just the people who are jazz fans already. It's gonna be a blast!
So, today (August 24, 2012) I officially announce my "un-retirement" from singing.
I'm the Wiseass Crooner again.