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Perhaps it was Her...

Music and I have always been inseparable.


There was rarely a time in my childhood that didn't have a memory of music in it one way or another. My family used to tell me that growing up, I would position myself on the stool by the organ, don the large cumbersome headphone - which was the norm at the time - and in varying instances talk or sing into the end of the cord, which we all know is the plug, and yap away as if it was a microphone.


They said they found it funny then. But in hindsight, it only confirmed what would later become a fact.


There was music in my system.


It was in my blood.

And yet perhaps because my mother loved listening to the great opera singer, Mario Lanza, and the crooner Johnny Mathis and my sisters loved classic Broadway musicals or whatever was hip in their time, my main influence for music has always been the kind that I grew up listening to. While later I would discover and cultivate my own musical tastes from different genres, needless to say, my life, my space has always been dominated by music.


That's good for a creative soul and I highly encourage it because music and art in general lift us up. It teaches us to yearn for an elevated experience, or at least know that one can experience things in varying, pleasurable as well as inspiring degrees.


I woke up this morning from a dream.


While it again had something to do with music, it was more personal as it featured my mother in it and was singing her heart out to a song by Whitney Houston. The context of the dream had also to do with occasions wherein my mother would tell me that she herself had a singing voice according to her own teachers. And yet when she would sing, it would be more of a head tone and not the full chest vocal power and range that would normally present oneself to the public, as someone who can properly carry and sustain a tune.


This made me hark back to a Chinese vocal teacher who told me that most younger women who used their head-tone, akin to a female falsetto, to sing can mistake themselves as "properly singing" when in fact, they are not. This was the same reasoning that ran through my head whenever Mom would try to sing.


In fact, I know singing because I am one. And the range that I have built up through the years of endless practice has made me comfortable in the upper registry but with the use of my real voice and not the usage of my falsetto. According to my favorite music teacher in high school, Ming Hernandez, who sadly is not with us anymore, my range falls under that which she classified as Tenor 1. The same group I was grouped in during my Glee Club Days.


During a cloudy time in my life when I had to deal with finding my place in the world and what my life required of me, I soon found out that I was adopted. This meant that whatever I was made to believe and learn about myself was not true at all. One may call it built on lies, but for my family, it was built on the fact that in spite of not sharing the same bloodline with them, they never thought of me as different from them, and thus did not feel the need to tell me upfront. Finding out then only confirmed my suspicions but gave me peace of mind and quelled my suspicions. That is, I may have been adopted but I was loved and well taken care of. This not only made me feel lucky but also made me feel grateful.


They say that the ratio of adopted children having better lives after being adopted is higher than those who have not been taken in. If that ratio stands true today, then I am indeed part of that lucky demographic and I would not change anything in spite of it. This then brings me back to the subject of my personage and of my dream. I was somehow walking in the meadow and approaching some sort of cottage. In the dream, I knew that my mother was singing from behind the cottage. And it was one of those rare occasions that she really sounded like she knew what she was singing about. That she was using her real voice, chest tone and all, and sounded like she had complete mastery of a song that if in the hands of lesser capable singers, could prove a tough hill to climb.

The song in question was Whitney's hit single, "Where Do Broken Hearts Go", from her 2nd album simply entitled, "Whitney". It was the fourth single from that very album and although went to number 1, it was a song that she herself did not like and only recorded it because Clive Davis of Arista Records, felt it would be a hit if it was Whitney who did it. It was a song that resonated with me back then and so to hear it in the dream with my mother singing it, just made the dream more emotional for me when I woke up.


And when I did, all I remembered from the dream was that I was so excited to record my mother singing that song because it was a rare occasion that she actually and properly sang. The denouement of the whole dream was that I never got to see her upon waking up. It was only her voice from behind the cabin. No visual confirmation and no recording of her voice from the dream even.


And while it was bittersweet to have the dream end like that, perhaps it was the Universe's way of answering my own question. Who among my true parents was the one musically inclined, if not gifted? I may not have had the chance to see my birth parents, much less know of them, in this lifetime, but if the dream was something to go by, then at least now I have my answer. I don't know when my other questions will be answered but for this one, I would like to think I got mine. And that may be even more than what others get these days.


Hope you all get your questions answered this 2023! Happy Chinese New Year!




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