My essay on “American Idol”

Recently, I was talking with a 17-year-old boy about our mutual desire to front a rock band and our mutual realization that such a fantasy will remain just that. He articulated our problem quite well: “I love to sing, but singing doesn’t seem to love me.”

I had long thought that I’d be a good singer if I just learned how. When Rob and I were preparing to get married, I decided to ignore those who’d told me I was tone deaf (including a Tony-nominated music director) and sing to him at our wedding. I chose “When You Say Nothing At All,” Rob’s favorite love song. It was to be a surprise, and I had a secret lesson with my best friend Curtis, a songwriter and music wunderkind who told me that if I practiced enough, I could get away with the performance. (Obviously, he said I wasn’t tone deaf.) I got into the habit of singing along with Randy Travis’s version on my iPod as I walked to and from the subway every day. I convinced myself that I sounded great—some odd vibration in my jaw and skull led me to believe I was harmonizing with Randy. Of course, I wasn’t, and, thankfully, I chickened out at the wedding; I didn’t need to humiliate myself in front of all of my family and friends. And when I finally sang to Rob in the comfort of our own home, I sounded worse than the worst lambs-to-the-slaughter on “American Idol“.