John: Why I Sing

john hayward

Why I sing can be summed up in two words: a girl. Or rather, that is how it started.

I was fourteen years old and had just entered eighth grade. My best friend at the time had started taking voice lessons soon after his voice changed, swooning the girls with his silky baritone. This, of course would not do, for one of those flaxen haired vixens that lay melted at his feet was “the love of my life, whom I would die without!” Of course, it didn’t help that my best friend was also deeply invested in all things Olympian. With the voice of a young, albeit, untrained Fischer Dieskau and the body of a budding Adonis it was no wonder I wasn’t receiving any of the attention I desired. I distinctly remember thinking one day while weeding my parent’s garden and listening to Josh Groban that “I could sing like that if I wanted…” so that very week I signed up for voice lessons, intent on winning the affection of that blond-haired, green-eyed bundle of trouble.

I have always been musically inclined. I came from a musical family. By this point in my life I had been a solid eight years into piano lessons and five into cello, both of which had come relatively easy to me. Singing was a glaring exception. For the first couple lessons I slaughtered many a rendition of Josh Groban’s “To Where You Are”, realizing very quickly that I was not the baritone I wanted to be. In fact, I was quite the opposite. I forced my squeaky tenor down to baritone as best I could for the better part of my high-school career. As you can imagine this did very little for my quest to get the ladies.

Discouraged, defeated and destitute, (what high school student isn’t?) I almost gave up my dream of singing. Little did I know at the time that getting the girl didn’t really matter anymore. My love and passion for music had taken over. Singing had become a means of expression for me, a clever way of expressing my feelings without seeming vulnerable. If I was ever questioned I would reply “Hey, it’s just a song.”

I began to fall in love with classical singing. When I was not listening to Josh Groban, who was my singing idol, I was listening to Pavarotti or Domingo singing one famous aria or another. Having a predisposition for the dramatic I transitioned from pop to Broadway, then slowly into classical in my senior year of high school. That summer I auditioned for the University of Utah Vocal Faculty, received a scholarship and an invitation to start training my new found classical tenor voice with the private instructors at the U.

My passion for singing has only increased over the years. Although my focus has drifted further away from performing, the ability to express oneself through singing remains one of the purest forms of emotion. Singing grants you the ability to transcend all barriers and connect with each other, to share your experiences and passions. Singing draws people together and unites us despite our diverse backgrounds. I sing to communicate, to express myself, to connect with people I would normally have no interaction with. I sing to experience life, love, and fellowship. I never did get the girl, but that doesn’t matter. What I gained is so much better: a life filled with beautiful music and wonderful people. That is why I sing.



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