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Yes, You CAN ! (Don't Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise)

by vaughn skow January 20, 2012 3 min read


Hello fellow lovers of superior sounds!  My blog today has left the tracks and is headed down a dirt road ... so LOOK OUT!  Last month I had the pleasure of doing a show with one of the finest singers I’ve ever worked with, Melinda Doolittle.  Dear God in heaven, how that girl can sing; I have goose bumps as I write this ... just remembering her performance on that evening in December.  For those of you unfamiliar with Doolittle, she’s the long-time American Idol background singer who came out of the background in 2009 to be a contestant; she almost won the thing, and she DID score a record deal.  Well, this morning she was on one of the network news shows, and she said something that I feel is well worthy of repeating.  READ ON to find out what she said!

First, I want to take you all on a trip back to Jackson, Minnesota circa 1979; I was a freshman and had joined the high school concert choir.  I was already in a band, and had high hopes that the choir experience would help me become a better singer.  After a couple of weeks, I asked Mr. Anderson, the choir director if he could give me a couple of pointers.  That afternoon I sang and played a couple of tunes for him on an acoustic guitar.  His response?  "Vaughn, can’t you hear how out of pitch you are?  You must be tone deaf."  I kid you not, those were his words.

After that, I relegated myself to the notion that I could perhaps be a guitarist some day, but not a singer.  Okay, now fast-forward to 1985, when a very green little Vaughn fell off the turnip truck in Nashville, Tennessee.  I immediately started working as an engineer at one of the largest recording studios in town; life was good.  Every now and then, just for fun, I would sing songs with Cindy, the receptionist.  It was a blast!  One day Cindy asked if I would like to sing with her on a project she was lending her voice to.  The project turned out to be Sandi Patti’s "Morning Like This" album.  That album went on to be the biggest selling Christian album of 1986, and won Grammy and Dove awards.  I was now a "Grammy award winning vocalist"!  As a result, I wound up singing on quite a number of big name records.  Today, my voice is all over; radio, TV, and CD’s.  I am also a praise & worship leader at a large church.  It took a while, but I finally figured out that Mr. Anderson was wrong (and a total jerk).  Okay, so let’s get back to this morning’s morning news show.

Melinda Doolittle was interviewed right after a spine-tingeling performance.  She spoke with conviction and compassion; she has joy that is very evident in her face and through her words.  One of the things she shared made me remember Mr. Anderson’s remarks all over again.  She said that her high school choir director told her that she was "tone deaf" and not good enough for the school choir.  Good God, the same thing Mr. Anderson told me!  Another total idiot.

Is there a lesson here?  You betcha!  Believe in yourself and your God-given talents.  Never let some lame, burnt-out high school teacher, or anyone else for that matter, tell you that you’re no good!  Oh, and Mr. Anderson, I hope you are reading this...

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