Category Archives: Singer Life

Why not?

28th June 2017

It’s my favorite day — Wednesday. We’re halfway (kind of, y’all know math doesn’t really work that way or something) through the week. Wednesday is just a good day. It’s the best day.

I started loving Wednesdays a few years ago, thanks to Russell Westbrook (or should I say 2017 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook). You see, Russell used to take to Twitter on Wednesdays and retweet a whole bunch of folks who were doing all manner of things because … well, why not?

Russell Westbrook - Do What You Do

Some people were taking tests or talking to their bosses about a raise or working out really hard. Russell would encourage them in his own distinct Brodie way. It was really charming and adorable and all those cute adjectives you use to describe NBA players and other people on the verge of massive fame but who weren’t too famous to stop using social media in an ~organic~ way.

Why not do something different or new or fun or maybe completely out of your comfort zone? Why not try your very best in whatever it is that you’re doing, whether that be physical fitness or starting a new job or taking your AP Calculus test?

(Full disclosure: I took AP Statistics and don’t ask me to regurgitate any of that information, as I cannot. I actually drew a comic of Blu Cantrell’s “Hit Em Up Style (Oops!)” on one of my free response sections on the test rather than actually answer the statistics problem. Yes, Mom, I am proud of that. I’m admitting it on the Internet.)

I have adopted the #whynot mentality. It is not just something I do on Wednesdays. It is a 24/7/365 kind of thing.

Russell and I take the #whynot mentality very, very seriously, of course. Russell started the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation (because that’s what you do when you have influence and a lot of money).

I, very bereft of influence and even more bereft of money, named my 2001 Chrysler Cirrus the #WhyNotMobile. Maybe that’s not on the same level as starting a philanthropic foundation, but … I’m sure I’ll get there. 

Sure, the #whynot mentality allows me to do silly things, like have ice cream for dinner or stay up too late reading or wear mismatching socks. But I also use it for more serious stuff, too. Whenever I’m scared or anxious about things, whenever I’m being tentative because of my propensity to self-sabotage, I invoke the #whynot mentality.

If I don’t think I’m good enough to apply to something — #whynot me? Why can’t it be me?
If I don’t think I’m smart enough to figure out a problem — #whynot forget that negativity?
If I don’t think I have the courage to say what I really mean — #whynot say it anyway?

I’m not joking when I say that I have spent nights avoiding clicking “send” on applications. I have literally screamed “#whynot” aloud, alone in my room (except for my dog, Lily Munster) and pressed the button. It works.

Don’t misunderstand me. While very useful, the #whynot mentality is not magic. I wish I could say that all it takes is a mere mindset shift to overcome some very pervasive, intrusive, and potentially destructive habits and thoughts. I’m silly, but I’m not silly enough to think that it’s as easy as saying #whynot and being done with it. The #whynot mentality doesn’t necessarily make the mountain of The Thing That Needs To Be Done™ any more imposing. It doesn’t make the doing of the thing any less hard.

But what I will say is that every time I invoke the #whynot mentality, things do tend to seem a little less dire. Things don’t seem so end-of-the-world. The climbing of the mountain and the doing of the thing are a teensy bit more fun when you’re thinking about it from a #whynot perspective. 

What’s the point of this post? Y’all, really, I don’t know. I wanted to write something and I was planning on dumping a few links on you guys for a Midweek Reads post and now here I am waxing poetic about the #whynot mentality. I am overcome with #whynot.

Sometimes I get the impression that people think my endless #whynot-ing is a joke. And it can be very, very funny. But it’s helped me do a lot of things that I might not have otherwise done. And that’s what it’s all about — trying. Maybe not always succeeding, but trying anyway. Because #whynot?

So, dear readers (if you’re out there), I challenge you to have a taste of the #whynot mentality this week. What have you been putting off because of fear or apprehension or tentativeness? What new thing can you try? What new, unfamiliar experience can you have? How can you be just a little bit better than you were the day before?

It doesn’t have to be a massive commitment. There’s no obligation with the #whynot mentality. Start small. Get bigger.

What can you do this week that can bring a little bit of #whynot into your life? I’d love to know! Drop me a comment. And happy #whynot-ing!

This Holiday Season, Hug a Musician

24th December 2016

It’s Christmas Eve. At 8:30pm tonight, I’ll be singing downtown in a beautiful Christmas Eve service. There will be Christmas trees, there will be lights, there will be “O Come All Ye Faithful.” There will even be a party afterwards, complete with champagne.

But I won’t be home. I’m here in Kansas.

I’m a singer, and that’s part of my job.

My mom is in Arkansas. The rest of my (small but mighty) family is in Illinois. This is the second year I haven’t been home for Christmas, which seems like it’s Not a Big Deal, but.. it is.

Don’t misunderstand me. Being a singer is awesome. I love it more than anything in this world. I get to enrich people’s lives with music, enhance their worship experience.

Travel is pretty cool, too.

Being a forever tourist has its perks–for one thing, I can always claim “I’m not from here!” when people try to shoot me nasty looks while driving. I love seeing new places but not being tied down to them. I can stay in a place just long enough to get tired of it–then I’m off somewhere else.

Still, there’s something special about being in the place you call home, especially during this time of year.

For those of us who have devoted our lives to music and won’t be home for Christmas, this can be a tough time. It isn’t really sad, it’s just strange. And we make it work. We seek community and love from those around us. We build small families at our church jobs, our Messiah gigs, our concerts.

But friends?

If you happen to meet a musician today or tomorrow–ask if you can hug them. They very well may need it more than you know.

It may just feel a little more like home.

Southern Fried Soprano - A Note Before Voice Juries

A Note Before Voice Juries

11th December 2016

Southern Fried Soprano - A Note Before Voice Juries

Dear Me,

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.”

What are you so afraid of, anyway?

Singing a wrong note? Missing an entrance? Being out of tune?

So what if you do? So what if you are?
What happens then?

Does someone die?

Does the composer rise from the grave and materialize before you, cursing your name, your voice, your career?

Have you ruined art?


“You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.”

You love singing. More than anything in this world.

Do you remember when you were little–before you knew what all those words in a foreign language and dots on the staff meant?

Do you remember how you used to go in the backyard, all alone, and you would sing about the leaves and the birds and the dirt and the bugs and the rocks and the pavement and the sun and the sky and the moon and the fence and the light and the water and the dog…

Do you remember that you didn’t care whether or not it sounded good?

Do you remember what you thought if someone heard?

Your first thought was to stop, giggle to yourself, and then carry on as if the possibility of being overheard wasn’t embarrassing but exciting?

Do you remember when you got a bit older, you used you to sit in your room, door shut tight, crouched over your choir music, studying and singing for hours on end?

It wasn’t easy to learn the part. But you weren’t concerned.

Do you remember that it wasn’t a matter of if you were ever good… you would practice until you got there.

“Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.”

Then you went to school, and you learned what all those black dots on the staff meant. You learned the meaning of those strange words on the page.

And it was great to know things. It was good.

Somewhere along the way, you became convinced that making a mistake meant something bigger than just.. making a mistake. You thought, all of a sudden, that your mistake was a statement on you. On your dedication, your preparation, your talent, your gift.

You forgot to just sing.

“Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.”

Are you really all that different from the little girl singing to herself in the backyard?

Two decades older, two academic degrees later.. a lot of knowledge and a lot of songs sung.

What has changed?


“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”

This is my prayer for you tomorrow, when you walk into the room and sing your voice jury: that you remember that you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t even have to be good.

You don’t have to be anything at all, but the little girl in the backyard who loved to sing.

No, loves to sing.

She still does. And always will.

Now–go sing.

(poetry is Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese”)
Gifts for Singers

Gifts for Singers

8th December 2016

It’s hard to buy a gift for an opera singer.

You want to give something that says “hey, I just knew you’d love and could use this” … or at least “please, dear God, don’t throw this in the trash.”

But what do you give a singer, anyway?

A scarf?
A dump truck load of Mucinex?
Cough drops arranged in some sort of ungodly edible arrangement?
A… CD (do people buy CDs anymore)?

Have no fear, dear reader. I’m here for you. The answer is…

A large bag of money!

… I’m realistic, though, and realize that you may not have access to a large bag of money. You still may want to give that special singer in your life something, though, so…

If you’re playing Santa Claus to a singer this year, these singer-centric gifts are sure to please.

(Oh, and before you ask–I’m not getting paid to plug any of these things! I just think they’re cool.)

Southern Fried Soprano - Gifts for Singers

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4 Unexpected Things My First Year of Grad School Taught Me

16th May 2016

4 Things Grad School Taught Me

If this post is published, it means I have finished my first year of my graduate degree in opera performance!

Where does the time go? (Although–since I’m taking things 10 minutes at a time, I’m all-too-aware of just how fast it can go!)

I could write a retrospective post on all the musical or academic things I’ve learned since I arrived in Wichita and began classes, but… I think I’d like to share a few unexpected things I’ve learned.

If you already know these things, congratulations to you! I am but a Helpless Grub™.

Without further ado, I present to you:

4 Things My First Year of Grad School Taught Me

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How I Changed My Life in 10 Minutes

29th April 2016

Change Your Life in Ten Minutes Have you ever wanted to be great at something?

Okay, maybe that’s a stupid question. Of course you have. Whether you’re a singer like me or an aspiring underwater basket-weaver, you probably have something you’ve wanted to get really, really good at doing. Something you love that you want to master.

In case you haven’t caught on by now (or this is your first time visiting my blog, in which case, my most sincere apologies and HOWDY AND WELCOME), I love singing. It’s not only my career but also my deepest passion. I want to become a great singer. I will settle for nothing less than greatness.

The thing that super-duper sucks, though? The process of becoming great at anything (singing included) is, well..  often not so great.

When I was in undergrad, I spent a lot of time in the practice room. I mean a lot of time. An ungodly amount of time. We’re talking four to five hours at a time.

I know what you’re thinking. “But Georgeanne! That’s great! What a blessing it is to sit in a practice room and just work on your craft! Didn’t Malcolm Gladwell say that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at anything? Think of all the time you put in!”.

And yeah, sure. I spent like, a lot of time in a practice room…. staring at the piano. Staring at my music. Singing through my music from beginning to end over and over and over. Avoiding singing because I hated the sounds that were coming out of my mouth. Hating myself. Hating that I couldn’t walk into that room with a new piece and come out two hours later with it learned and technically perfect. I wanted to be great.

I wanted to be great right now.

I started to dread going to practice. Which, if you’re a singer.. is not such a good thing.

This is the part of the blog where I skip ahead a few years and hit you with some magic wisdom. I graduated in 2013. It’s now 2016. Do the math (I’m really bad at math, but I think that’s three years).

I’ve stopped spending entire afternoons in practice rooms drowning in a delightful combination of self-loathing and desperation.  I don’t dread going to practice. I look forward to it.

I’ve started to take things ten minutes at a time. And I guarantee you I’m a better singer than I ever would be if I spent five hours stretches in the practice room.

I’ve learned over the last few years that no matter how overwhelming a task may be, what gets it done is small, small steps. Climbing a mountain is not achieved by reaching the pinnacle–it’s achieved by the how-ever-many-steps you took to get to the top.

When I walk into a practice room or sit down to practice in my apartment (what’s up upstairs neighbors, you’re welcome, I’m not charging), I set a timer for ten minutes. I also set my intention for those ten minutes: “okay, I’m going to work [these measures] of [this song].” “For ten minutes, I will really work on some agility exercises to strengthen my coloratura.”

No matter how tired, discouraged, or frustrated I am–no matter how overwhelming a task may be, I can always give ten minutes of focused, intentional effort. And then maybe I can give ten more minutes. And ten more minutes. And before I know it, an hour has gone by, I’ve sung through all my repertoire or sung some difficult technical exercises.

There’s not enough time in ten minutes to let fear take over. Ten minutes is a decidedly non-scary amount of time. It’s long enough to get something done, yet short enough to make things seem manageable. When that timer goes off, if I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown because I still can’t float that high Bb the way I want to.. I move on to something else.

Do I expect to become great in ten minutes? No. Not a chance! And that’s part of the magic. You can’t go from decent to great in ten minutes. But those ten minute chunks of practice add up. I see the ten minute blocks add up in my practice journal, day after day.

How do I know it’s working? My teachers, coaches, and peers can tell. I can tell when I listen to my recordings. I haven’t become Maria Callas overnight (if and when I figure that out, I am certainly not telling y’all that little secret), but I’m definitely ten minutes closer to greatness.

Those ten minute chunks remind me that I’m taking steps every day to the top of the mountain.

So, dear reader, tell me.

What could you spend ten minutes doing today? What’s something you want to get good at doing? Can you set a timer and work for ten minutes on that thing?

I bet you can. You’ll come away from those ten minutes knowing your life has changed just a little bit.

Start the timer. The clock is ticking.

Once your work session is up, take a well-deserved break with a time-themed playlist!

Fairport Convention – Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
Rolling Stones – Time Is On My Side
Chicago – Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella – Ten Minutes Ago
Ke$ha – TiK ToK
Jason Robert Brown’s The Last 5 Years – The Next Ten Minutes

Calm Before the Storm

20th March 2016

Southern Fried Soprano - Calm Before the Storm


It’s quiet. Too quiet.

Or, rather, it’s just quiet enough. I am soaking up every last drop of stillness, as I’m not going to get a lot of peace and quiet over the next two weeks.

This coming week is Holy Week, so when I’m not teaching lessons, in class, or in rehearsals for the opera (or, God forbid, practicing), you can probably find me downtown at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, singing in a service.

The week after Easter? It’s TECH WEEK for Les Indes Galantes at Wichita State University. I’ll be in show mode.

So, yeah. Thank goodness I have had the past seven days of Spring Break to relax and gear up for the inevitable storm. Since I’ve been out of the school game for a couple of years, I had forgotten how cool Spring Break actually was.

I’m pretty pleased with how I spent my break, all in all. It was a good mix of Bruno Mars “The Lazy Song” and productivity. I hung out with friends, watched a lot of basketball, petted my dog, slept in without an alarm… but I also started a new practice regimen for the remainder of March (#NoMercyMarch) and cleaned my apartment.

I know there’s not going to be much wiggle room these next two weeks, so I prepped all of my lunches and dinners for the week.. I got my grocery shopping done, my house cleaned, my floors vacuumed, and, perhaps most impressive of all, I did all of my laundry so I’m not a low-key Pig Pen from Peanuts.

Has it been the most exciting and scandalous way to spend my final day of Spring Break? No. Of course not. But, you know, while I maintain that being a singer is super glamorous, what’s even more glamorous is not worrying about having lunch made for the next day. The most glamorous thing?

Having clean underwear.

So, if you don’t mind, I’ll sit back, relax, and enjoy the last few minutes of quiet I can get. How do you prepare for busy times?


11th August 2015


I have been avoiding my blog. Not just low-key avoiding it, either. I’m talking full-out, no-marking “oh are those dishes in the sink? I think I’ll do those instead” avoiding it. And this avoidance has translated into a month-long silence.

The funny thing about drastic change is that unless you talk about it while it’s happening, it seems overwhelming to attempt to explain it all after the fact.

Drastic change in this case being my Great Big Move to the Midwest for grad school. I’ve now spent 11 full days in Wichita, KS, living all by my lonesome (with Lily Munster, of course) in a one-bedroom apartment, learning the ins-and-outs of Adulthood™.

Before classes start next Monday, I’m doing my best to get acclimated to my side of town. Wichita is about twice the size of Little Rock, which doesn’t seem like a whole lot until I realize I have to get on the interstate to get practically anywhere. Wichita is the kind of place with light-up highway signs that tell you transit times to the airport. Bizarre.

Now that I’ve broken my blogging silence, you can expect to hear a lot more from me in the coming days and weeks. Things are about to get really interesting ’round these parts. I’m going to have to tell someone all about it.

Holding Pattern

8th July 2015

It feels lately like I’m doing a lot of waiting. This is probably because I am doing a lot of waiting. The three weeks until I move feel like eons. And while there’s still a lot to do, I can’t help but feel itchy to just… get in the car and go.

At the end of this month, I’ll find myself in a different state, a different house, and a different frame of mind. Come the end of July, I’ll say goodbye to the holding pattern I’ve been in for the last two years.

I hesitate to call it a holding pattern, really. In definition, a “holding pattern” is a static state–it is neither forward nor backward movement. No regression, but no progression.

It makes it sound like I haven’t done anything during the time I’ve been home. I’ve done plenty. Some of these things can be easily identified and listed, like:

1. Winning an Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions
2. Honing my marketing and social media management skills at Eggshells Kitchen Co. 3. Losing ~60 pounds
4. Auditioning for graduate school successfully (and may I say with style)
5. Discovering my love for gardening
6. Started studying with a new voice teacher, began singing some new repertoire
7. Found an amazing group of women in the Arkansas Women Bloggers
8. Began this blog!

Others are not so easily quantifiable, like:

1. Learning how to navigate adulthood (admittedly with training wheels [thanks, Tixqueen!])
2. Honing my social media management & marketing skills at Eggshells Kitchen Co. 3. Becoming more comfortable with myself as an artist
3. Wanting to connect more with my family history
4. Realizing that happiness is a journey, not a destination (I can’t believe I just typed those words)

So, yeah, you can see why I feel like “holding pattern” isn’t really telling the whole story.

I came home to be with my mother during chemotherapy, not because I was having some sort of quarter-life crisis (although I’ve certainly had at least two quarter-life crises since I’ve been home). I managed to do some pretty cool things and meet some pretty cool people.

Had I gone straight to grad school after leaving my undergrad (and I had the chance, y’all), would I have done any of the things I listed above? I’m not sure.

Y’all know I don’t believe everything happens for a reason. But I do believe in the Rolling Stones when they said–

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.

And maybe I needed a holding pattern to be ready for this next stage of life. I know I’m ready now.