I don’t profess to have a very good voice, but I’ve always been a closet singer. I can remember road trips to college where I’d be driving by myself and singing at the top of my lungs. I really got into Pearl Jam’s "Alive", singing with such emotion that you’d have thought I was Eddie Vedder. Was I good? Well, let’s just say I reached notes only dogs could hear. But when I got older, I realized that it was time that I grew out of that and I’ve put away my imaginary microphone. Well, that was until I realized I was about to be a father.
My musical renaissance started when Iris was still in the womb. Cherise and I went to a U2 concert in April and I was proud of how we were introducing Iris to quality music in utero. But how could we continue this musical lesson? Sure, we could’ve played a bunch of music, but where’s the bonding in that? So, rather than just talk Iris in the womb, many nights before we went to sleep, I’d rub Cherise’s belly and sing U2’s "City of Blinding Lights" (which conincidentally has the word "Irises" in it). Sure, I don’t sound like Bono, but let’s face it, through all that skin and amniotic fluid, Iris probably couldn’t tell the difference. After listening to Coldplay’s latest album, I heard the song "Talk" and thought "what a great song for Iris". I consequently downloaded the lyrics and memorized them. Still, when it came time to sing it to her, I was nervous. In fact, I was more nervous the first time singing that song than I was when I met Bill Gates–I kid you not! Can you believe that? Maybe I was nervous of what Cherise would think, but that can’t be since I haven’t been nervous around Cherise in years. Is it possible to worry about disappointing your kids before they’re even born? Well, so goes the pressure of being a dad.
Now that Iris is finally out in the real world, I’ve been giving her a "private concert" most nights. It’s a special time for us since it’s usually just the two of us after Cherise goes to bed . Usually I give the pure a capella version, which has me go through a bunch of my favorite songs over the years. It’s always the dymanic set list and I’ll cut a song short any time she doesn’t look happy (when was the last time you saw a concert where the band did that?). Yep, Iris is getting her dose of Foo Fighters, REM, and Dave Matthews. I don’t want to brag, but I bet Iris would be holding out her lighter if she wasn’t six weeks old and not allowed to have a lighter (hey,I’m a father first, rock star second)…
But when Iris is really fussy and virtually inconsolable, that’s when I need help and I call on the reinforcements. I take Iris, bring her close to the stereo, and the play Coldplay’s "X&Y" loudly and sing along just as loud, all the while having her dance around. Wouldn’t you know it, it works like magic. Apparently, my womb singing has paved the way for her appreciation of Coldplay. Despite the loud music and loud dad, she starts falling asleep a couple of songs through the concert. My voice sounds much better when Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin sings with me. I imagine Iris must be jealous of the baby that actually gets Chris Martin singing to her (Martin’s daughter with wife Gwyneth Paltrow), but then again, Martin named his daughter Apple, so I guess it’s all about tradeoffs.
So, I’ll continue the Sandy World Tour as long as Iris enjoys it. I don’t know if I’ll have to transition to kiddie tunes or if a two-year old Iris will be so cool that she will anticipate the next REM or U2 album as much as I will. But even if Iris forgoes the rock route in her musical tastes, no one will ever be able to take away this special time in our lives–when I was a rock star and she was my #1 fan.