Traversing through the song Space Girl by Frances Forever, singing for my authoethnographic project proved to be a significant and unique way of connecting to former emotions and experiences.  By resurfacing previous emotions and experiences I had associated with a song, I was able to overcome my distress about singing by myself. 

As soon as I found out that my class was supposed to upload recorded videos of us singing for our ethnographic projects, I panicked. The mere thought of having to upload a video of myself online singing for anyone and everyone to access made me feel as though a thousand pounds had suddenly been put on my shoulders. My heart felt as if it was going to leap out of my chest and my hands started to sweat. I immediately started to think to myself “what if I get laughed at?” My mind began to race with images of classmates snickering quietly at my video.

During the beginning of my recording session for the video of me singing my chosen song, as I sat in my quiet room, I was really nervous to sing because I never really sing out loud, and especially not for other people. My room felt as if it was closing in on me and suddenly it felt so warm in the room that I was prompted to open the window. My jaw tensed up, which in turn gave me a slight headache. 

When I finally sat down to record my video on zoom (after several breathing techniques and light stretching to calm my nerves ) the bland, white walls behind me suddenly felt cold and unwelcoming. I began to brainstorm possible backgrounds that could incorporate the fun and upbeat melody of my song when I found myself staring at the pink colored album cover for Space Girl. Suddenly, as if a light bulb was flashing above my head, I changed my zoom background to an eccentric bright pink color. Not only would this color prove to be fitting for a melody such as Space Girl’s, but it also would give the audience the chance to not have to stare at some girl singing against boring white walls. I could almost imagine my audience’s surprise when they clicked on my video and staring back at them was me against a vivid, pink background. I found that I was a lot more excited to record with this fun background, and my rapid heart rate slowly declined as I took several deep breaths and directed my eyesight to the bright background behind me. The sharp breeze coming in from my window started to slowly evaporate the sweat that had accumulated on my back.

While recording my video, I thought about the first day I heard this song. It was the day I moved into my first studio with my boyfriend. That day, we were both so excited about this new chapter in our lives. I vividly remember the smell of our new furniture settling into the studio, and the crisp outside air flowing through our open windows.  Those feelings of happiness began to surface slowly throughout the recording process. I could almost feel the way my heart felt like it was growing bigger and bigger in my chest during that first day. In my body there was a tug of war between nervousness and embarrassment and happiness. I felt that the peppy and upbeat melody to this song was able to channel positivity into every note I sang, and every new recording began feeling like I was shedding negative emotions and stress. The redness from my embarrassment slowly seeped out of my face with every drum beat. By the end of my last recording, I was genuinely enjoying myself. By singing, I was able to pull forth those feelings from that first day at my studio throughout my recording. I slowly began to recall the memories of that furniture smell, the cold air, and the way my heart felt so full of excitement. 

Once I was finally satisfied with my recording, I realized it had taken me four labored tries. In the first three takes, I either forgot the words or got nervous and messed up on the lyrics. With each take, my body sank lower into my seat as I felt the tension in my muscles slowly unwinding. My fists unclenched, and slowly but surely, my breathing returned to a normal pace. By the end of my last recording, my back straightened and a smile creeped up on my face with the genuine enjoyment of singing my favorite song, as well as the relief of the recording being over. 

Singing this song for my project made me realize the impact that singing can have on oneself. Notably, singing was unexpectedly a unique experience to connect me with the former memories and emotions I had associated with the song. By surfacing these pleasant past experiences and focusing on them while singing, I was able to conquer my fears of singing solo in front of an audience.