This entry is part of a contest by HuffPost Books and The Buried Life. Click here to read more about it.
My name is Nicole Vesey, and I'm 20 years old. I'm from a small town in California, called Lompoc. What I want to do before I die is sing the National Anthem at Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Championships. I love to sing, it comes naturally to me. I grew up around it; it's my passion.
I've been singing for as long as I can remember. There was always singing at my house. Three of my aunts in particular, are natural born singers. They were always practicing for some gig, doing karaoke, etc. It's only natural that I wanted to do it as well.
As a kid, I loved the attention singing brought me. I loved how people would say "Wow, she's a good singer for her age!". I entered my first talent show in first grade, held at my elementary school...that was fun :) I enjoyed more and more singing for my family and friends. As I got older though, I began noticing more about singing and music. Like, "How come I can't hit those high notes like my aunt?" or "How come I can't play any instruments?". I began to question myself as a singer, and I began to compare myself to others, especially when I got to high school. There would be all these upper classmen who had these amazing, "Broadway" voices. Then there was me, a freshman who didn't know how to read notes.
I began to doubt myself, I began to think "Am I good enough? Am I really a good singer?". I would watch shows like American Idol, and think "I couldn't make it on that show, I'm not good enough". And then I entered my third talent show, the summer before my senior year. This one, was actually a contest. The age ranged from 10-17 (me being one of the oldest). It was a fun experience, up until the last night...I lost, to a 10 year old boy. I got really discouraged then. Believe me, I was happy he won, but I kept thinking to myself "If I can't even place at a local talent show, how can I ever make it in the music industry?".
I kept doubting myself, especially since my 12 year old cousin started realizing her potential as a singer. She has an amazing voice for someone her age. I started to get self conscious whenever she'd sing, and I'd have to sing afterwards. Recently, though, I've begun to think differently. That different people have different talents, they have their own way of singing, and of being good. Not everyone sings the same way. I can't keep comparing myself to people, in the way that'll bring me down. I should compare to other people, thinking "How can I improve?", because there's always room for improvement. And, just because I don't play an instrument doesn't necessarily mean I'm not a musician.
I want to sing the National Anthem at Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Championships because I want to show the world what I've got. I want to show the world that you don't have to be a celebrity to sing the National Anthem, or to be able to sing period. I want to show people that there IS talent out there. And I hope to be an inspiration to others, to show people that they shouldn't doubt themselves, that they shouldn't question their abilities. I want to be someone that other people can look up to.