My folks have told me I have been singing my whole life.
From the time I was very small, no matter what I was doing or feeling, I sang it out. That’s what they tell me. I can remember jumping up in a first grade classroom and singing out because I saw my mother out in the hallway, looking in. So no matter if I was happy or sad, whatever I was doing I sang it out. I remember hearing songs in the leaves of the trees, and singing along or singing back to them as I hid with my bow waiting to pounce on unsuspecting people below.
My grandmother recognized me right away, and she said I would be a singer. As a teen I remember elders coming and looking for me, as if they were expecting me. They would say: “that one, the little one with the voice”. It seemed like I never really had friends my own age because I was always hanging out with the adults. Folks would sing songs to me, and then ask me to sing them back to them, and that’s how I learned. To me, I was just hanging out with these elders, and it was awhile before I realized they were teaching me all these songs. We just sang together. When I think about it, that’s the heart of oral tradition, because it isn’t possible to communicate pitch, tone, sound, timbre, resonance, feeling, or intention on flat paper.