“But you’ve got such a beautiful voice. Why would you want to ruin that?”
That’s the question my dad and others asked me, and I can see why. It was a beatiful, warm, light soprano. My going on T meant that voice would go. And once the voice change set in, my voice would never be the same again. For all I (and others) knew, I might ruin my voice forever.
I knew this when I decided to go on T, and was quite willing to take that risk. Because no matter what others said, no matter how beautiful my voice was, I was never really happy with it.
I dreaded hearing myself sing. That voice, as beautiful as it was, made me feel awkward at the best of times, and cringe in despair at the worst of times. So to me the question was not, why should I risk it, but rather why should I not take my chances? What did I have to lose?
Of course, going on T, with the very real risk of ruining my voice, I was anxious to find out about other classical singers who’d already done this, but no matter how hard I searched, I couldn’t find any. And then, just the other day, my singing teacher sent me the link to an article on The Opera Stage about a transgender opera singer.
I read, listened and marvelled. A roadmap, finally!
Oh, of course things will be different for me. I wasn’t a mezzo soprano to start with, and never had that full, rich sound this guy had before T. But that doesn’t matter. This is the information I was lacking and couldn’t find anywhere.
Voice change isn’t just – or even primarily – about range. Not that voice range isn’t important, but it’s just one aspect of your voice and not nearly the most important. What really matters, is the quality of your voice. Sound, weight, colour.
I recognise so many things in this man’s story already. The thin, breathy quality of the head voice, which now has that falsetto sound that’s so characteristic for countertenors. The crackly business, which annoys the living daylights out of me, but is something I’ll just have to deal with until I have grown into my mature male voice.
In a way, I do not recognise my own voice anymore – and yet I do. It’s not my voice right now – and yet it still is – but other than Holden Madagame, I never really loved my female voice so it doesn’t distress me. Quite to the contrary. It excites me!
Every day now, I wake up dying to hear my own voice grow and develop. I love the dark, rich timbre of my chest voice. More and more my voice starts sounding the way it should have sounded all along. It’s like finally going home.
Right now, I think my voice sounds a little like Johannes Reichert’s.
I’m singing again, and loving it like I never did before.