When the singing had to stop

Ten months ago, we directed you to a beautiful article by Katie McAdam, explaining how she coped with being forced  to give up her singing career.


I miss it every day. The joy that comes from expressing yourself by letting that sound out I so often crave for. Still wanting to support my wonderful friends, I attend their performances and silently sigh inside. I don’t even listen to opera in my spare time anymore; when I hear it, I feel betrayed.

 In the grand scheme of things, it’s no big deal and I do know that. People start new careers every day, but I still feel hard done by. I never really acknowledged it as being akin to a pro footballer breaking his leg and never being able to play his beloved game again but I guess it’s pretty much the same. So now I teach singing, because I’ve done it on the side for years anyway, but it doesn’t satiate my love for performing. I’m also retraining to be an interior designer because I love the creativity side of things, but it doesn’t yet quench my thirst for expressing myself in the visceral way that singing that money note did. In my own eyes, I’ll always be the one that failed; didn’t make it; fell by the wayside. I do, though –  despite my ramblings here –  have perspective on it all and am forever grateful for all the wonderful things I do have in my life, and the fact that I even got to live my dream for a relatively short while was a blessing.

Katie’s blogpost was read by more than 10,000 people in a matter of days.

She has gone on to record a late-night, 15-minute radio talk on the BBC about what singing meant to her and how hard it was to give up. The talk is even more moving than the blog.

You can listen to it here.

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  • Katie McAdam’s a brave woman. The subject of musicians having to give up performing is still one that, for some reason, musicians feel shameful about. Irrational as this shame is, these feelings have to be discussed. Only with disclosure, this shame won’t fester in dark places. Musicians have always felt that they have failed when they have ‘given up performing’ (even that term is so loaded). I have recently decided that the shoulder pain I have endured for years has put a stop to my playing days way before I had planned to stop. If I had to write a blog I’d call it :Every musician plays their last note, only they never know which one it’ll be’. Let’s all support each other by talking openly and honestly.

  • This cannot but bring to mind an observation attributed to a certain Oscar Wilde
    concerning the death of little Nell .

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