What Liza…(Yes Ms. Liza Minnelli) Taught Me
What’s your greatest fear? Besides all those creepy crawly things like snakes and spiders, my fear — and I’m sure many of you would also subscribe to this— is the fear of failure or and/or extreme embarrassment. When you work on live TV though you experience your fair share of both, as I have and develop a “roll with it attitude.” However, that still doesn’t take away the fear.
I happen to love to sing. I sing in the shower, the car, and if I don’t know the words I make up my own lyrics. The funny thing is for the longest time I actually thought I was ok at it. Until I caught myself on TV singing, on more than one occasion. My friends (I’m naming names: Al Roker and Willie Geist!) made it very clear that I am more than a little bit tone deaf. But that would not stop me!
One day, unbeknownst to me, Willie, Al and our producers on the third hour of the Today Show decided to stage an intervention, live on TV. They invited Liza Minnelli on to teach me the art of signing! Again, I was unaware of the whole thing! What followed were the best and worst minutes— yes MINUTES which felt like an hour— of my TV career.
Liza begins by instructing me, like a drill sergeant, to start singing “Take me Out to the Ballgame.” Easy enough I’m thinking… no real high notes, no problem. Though singing in front of Liza Minnelli makes me start to panic just a little bit. I start to belt out the song… “Take me out to the ball game… Take me out with the crowd, buy me some peanuts and …” I’m profusely sweating as I sing. Al and Willie are snickering away. Liza is cringing. “Stop stop Natalie!!” Mid song I stop and now I’m feeling all kinds of embarrassed and realizing this is all happening on live TV in front of millions!! I’m the first person to laugh at myself, don’t get me wrong, but now I’m thinking this is beyond public humiliation. But Liza is undeterred! Even the worst singer can sing if they put their heart and soul into it. She asks me to sing it again, with real conviction and to make her believe I’m so excited to be going to the ballgame and want her to come with me!
Round two: well, there is more conviction and passion but this no made for TV movie — I’m not going to Broadway anytime.
I did however learn a powerful lesson that day which I have thought about on many occasion. What Liza was teaching me was to use my voice and my heart together and to believe in my message! Now looking back on that moment (which lives on in my mind and on YouTube of course,) I value every second no matter how painful to me and hilarious to the viewer. Lucky for you I will keep my singing to the car and shower from now on, but I will keep using my voice and heart in other ways to spread my message. And rather than fear failure or embarrassment I embrace the opportunity to learn something new… even if there is some discomfort in the process.
Have an important lesson you have learned or want to share? Share it now for a chance to be featured on my site and to win a personally signed “At Home with Natalie” cookbook.