I feel like I do a good job at picking friends whose passion for music is as strong as, or greater than, mine. In fact, for some of them, the music is actually in their blood. Literally.
Tina Watkins is a friend of mine since elementary school (her brother was in my 6th grade class). I remember going to her parent’s house and hanging out in their home recording studio. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered that Tina’s mother was a member of The Sylvers; a very popular R&B/soul and disco group during the 1970s who released 11 albums between 1972 – 1984. Let me assure you, she got the music genes in the family.
Earlier this year, sometime in March, she posted a youtube video wherein she proclaimed that she was going to try her best to sing one song for every day of the year: 365 songs in 365 days. Whether with instrumental backing or a cappella, in her kitchen or in the car, by herself or with friends, armed with only the video in her phone, she’s been religiously knocking them out.
I caught up with her to find out what motivate her to do this project. Here’s what she had to say:
MMM14: For those who don’t know you, who are you and why did you start this 365 songs in 365 days project?
TINA: Well, like I told my dad- It’s good for goodness’ sake. He loves watching them. I’m a writer, fiancée, friend, daughter, sister, dog/ cat/ turtle parent, cook, fashion designer, artist and community activist. I work to make the world a better place, one day, one song, one smile, one act of kindness at a time.
One Monday night in March I was singing my heart out in the shower (happens often) and just didn’t feel like stopping. I was having fun. And I thought, why should I stop, and why shouldn’t I share?
My promise to me is to share a song a day: If even one person enjoys it then I’ve spread some joy. And that’s a good thing. I started the next morning.
MMM14: What’s your background in music (lessons, projects, musicals, etcs)?
TINA: According to my mom I started singing at age four. In harmony. Singing in public used to terrify me, so about 15 years were spent in groups (choir/ a cappella/ girl bands etc.) The more voices I could hide behind the better. I remember singing with you in Chadwick’s a cappella group Ted led for a while, you have an amazing voice.
TINA: At Occidental college I studied opera for a couple years under voice scholarship. More than anything else, my learning came through blending in harmony with different female vocalists (Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, India Arie, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera, Sade, Jill Scott.)
Believe it or not I’ve written more than a hundred songs, but most have never seen the light of day (thank goodness- a lot of them were awful).
MMM14: Do you have the songs already planned out? Do you take requests? What are you planning as a last song?
TINA: Nope. Maybe. No idea.
Honestly, there’s no plan at all. All I’ve committed is not to spend too much time on them. Which is hard because it’s such fun and I’m a perfectionist. From the moment I begin thinking about the song for the day to when it’s posted takes around 15 minutes every day. I’ve made up some of them as I sang.
It’s especially challenging when it’s been a hard day because that comes out in my singing. Being authentically joyful really is a choice and this has reminded me every day to choose happiness and share that.
I’m looking forward to seeing how far I can get without having to learn new songs. So if a request happens to be a song I already know I’ve taken it. I’m getting married this year also, so seeing how this fits around my life is fun.
No idea what the last song will be… Maybe something original. Something with interpretive dance (insert evil laugh). Something fun. Something good.
I don’t think she has to worry about what song she sings (even if she makes it up, which she’s done on occasion). Odds are it will be something fun … definitely good.
Other people have tried doing this as well. Some with professional production, and fancy cameras, but Tina’s endeavor proves that the joy of singing really doesn’t need fancy production. With technology being what it is today, you can use your phone to record video and share you passion or joy with whoever is willing to listen. Ah, the joy of singing.
Here are some of my favorites. Follow her Youtube account to see what else she decides to post.
As an added bonus, another youtuber “remixed” her a cappella performance of Anita Baker’s “Sweet Love”. See, the Internet can be fun!