By: Rihanna Teixeira
Growing up, we all have big dreams. If you ask a classroom of kindergartners what they want to be when they grow up, you’ll hear answers ranging from astronauts, to doctors, to actors, and teachers. We are born with an internal desire to be and do something great. For me the stage was all I dreamed about.
At the age of six, I discovered my mom’s Amy Grant records (yes, records) and began playing them on repeat. Songs like El Shaddai, Sing Your Praise to the Lord, and Father’s Eyes became my anthem and my family quickly caught on that I had an obsession. Night after night, I would literally spend hours in my room with the music blasting, pretending that I was singing on a large stage, and everyone in the audience was there to see me. Becoming a singer quickly became a focus in my life and at eight years old, my parents finally allowed me to pursue it.
I spent a lot of my time singing and performing at events and in choirs. As I became a teenager, I was a force to be reckoned with. I had no fear in calling and asking random event planners if I could sing at their event. I offered up my talent to anyone who seemed interested. It wasn’t until I was eighteen that I felt like my dreams were finally becoming a reality. I was in Los Angeles for a singing competition and was approached by a man in a shiny suit who claimed that he could make all my dreams come true. My mother and I drove to his office and from there he schmoozed us with a fancy dinner and conversation filled with names of Hollywood big-shots. Before I knew it, I was recording my first demo at Paramount studios; the experience was surreal.
One thing led to another and I found myself on a plane to Atlanta, Georgia to record with a Grammy award-winning producer. This time, I didn’t have my mother, or anyone for that matter, with me. I still remember the fear that overtook me as I stepped off the plane and realized that I would be alone for the next few weeks in a city I knew nothing about. It was during this trip that my voice began to disappear. I remember trying to speak up during the writing sessions if I didn’t like an idea, and I would be quickly shut down. The producer would mock me saying, “I just wrote Mariah’s new album and it’s number one. Do you really think I don’t know what I’m doing?” I ended up recording three songs with him, all of which I hated.
My voice was no longer my own.
Looking back, I realize that what I really needed was support. A ministry like RYFO could have saved me from a lot of anxiety and fear that I was facing alone. I needed someone to process with or just vent to. RYFO’s Host Homes have an amazing opportunity to really speak life back into the areas of musicians lives that may be shut down. I encourage you readers that aren’t part of RYFO’s ministry to consider becoming a host home. In doing so, you could be the one who prevents a musician from losing their voice.