Since 14, I was determined to be a great singer. But my pitch was bad, my tone was bad, and everyone said I was just not a singer.
At 17, I started taking voice lessons, and practicing two hours every night. I’d go into a soundproof room for two hours of long-tones, scales, arpeggios, and practicing specific song phrases over and over.
At 18, I started touring, doing two to four shows a week, always as the lead singer. Often they were outdoor shows, sometimes with no PA system at all, so I really had to learn how to project to be heard.
At 19, I was still practicing two hours a night, but still having a problem with pitch. People kept telling me I was just not a singer - that I should give it up, and find a real singer.
Then I heard a man giving a demonstration of Indian vocal music, and his pitch was so perfect, I went rushing up to him afterwards to ask how he did it.
I said, “How are you able to hit the notes so perfectly dead-on? Are you just natually good at this?”
He said, “No! When I first started singing, not only was I not within an inch of the note - I wasn’t within a football field of the note! I was horrible!”
“So how did you do it?”
He jabbed a finger in my chest, and looked me in the eye. “Practice. Thousands of hours of practice, and eventually I got it. I can show you how.”