Tulcea, Romania. 1995
When I was a teenager I had a friend, Spera, who attended singing lessons. It is true that I had never heard her sing (she claimed that she could not sing in front of the people she knew), and I took her at her word that she had a beautiful voice. I used to hear her talk about the diaphragm – that muscle that supports the singing – and I used to imagine myself (as I was her friend, and that somehow guaranteed me my voice, too) as the new Whitney Houston, to say the least.
I used to love singing Whitney Houston’s songs and in my head I sounded just as beautiful. Run to You and I Will Always Love You were my favourite Whitney Houston songs. I could not make up my mind which was more romantic. And neither could my friend. Years later, when Spera became a police officer, we used to laugh about our young romantic side.
My older sister, Teodora, has always supported me regarding my artistic inclinations, but somehow her support ended when it came to my singing. (I used to mumble all the time while I was at home.) Not knowing English had not stopped me back then. I invented sounds just to keep the rhythm of a melody.
Around 1995 the radio played a lot of English and American songs. Everywhere you turned you could hear English. I think that this is how I came to love the English language; it was always around so it started feeling familiar. Anyway, most of the feedback I got from my sister while singing consisted of these exact words: “Shut up. You’re squeaking.” But that encouraged me even more. I had a friend who sang. Therefore, I could do it, too.
I used to grab the red badminton bat and confidently perform in front of the mirror in my room. I would inevitably start I Will Always Love You with “Aiiiiiiii…” (In those times I had no idea what that lady was actually singing and how one would spell it. I was certain about one thing: something was hurting her. I, instead, was tormented by talent.) I would not stop singing until my sister would come, probably sent by my mother, to calm me down, whispering affectionate menaces.
My most precious memory, actually proving the beauty of my voice, was one summer afternoon in 1995. My mom and my sis were in the living room, tailoring and sewing some clothes. I had to make the most of it as they weren’t around the stage (my bedroom mirror), and the sewing machine was noisy enough. I took the microphone (my hair brush) and I started: “Bitaaar suit me-morizz..”
Perking up my ears, I continued to sing, encouraged by the fact that no one came to ask me to shut up. I concluded that since I had been singing so much, my voice must have sounded better. I finished my song. Still no one appeared. And so I started singing another song. And this was when I heard footsteps in the hall. The door to my room opened. Two inquiring eyes were staring at me. They were my sister’s eyes. “Ah, it was you singing! And we thought that we left the radio on!” I had never felt so proud! If my voice sounded just like the one on the radio, then I was going to have a glorious musical future.
Alas, glory has not yet been cast upon me. But I won’t stop. “Aiiiiiii, uil olueiz lave iuuuuuu…”
© Emilia Muller. I am a Romanian/ Spanish/ English web editor at Frogfoot. I love reading, discovering new cultures and languages, and no week goes without me listening to jazz.