Embrace Your Voice

My name is Shirnel Enos Soong and I am the female lead vocalist of Beyond Paradise. If I had to describe my vocal abilities I'd say my range and sound is between Rihanna and Gwen Stefani (more of Rihanna tripping over Gwen Stefani). I mean, I can hold a note or two, but I lack the vocal range to powerhouse three octaves like Christina Aguilera or sing consistently on pitch like Beyoncé. Growing up I always wished one day I could sing just like Celine Dion. For such a tiny framed woman she sure had a strong voice.

As a singer I’ve had my ups and downs.  Growing up I entered local competitions, and saw every win as a self esteem booster. But there have been times where I haven’t excelled musically. I remember spending two nights of recording an original single (it's up on iTunes should you want to purchase it lol) to only find that the producer wasted hours trying to find ANYTHING worth keeping! And this was a song that I wrote and created! Talk about a downer. But despite my past of wanting to be a great singer, I’ve learned to embrace the voice that I was given.

I've learned to love my non-trained style of singing because making something “my own” comes naturally to me….I can't hit the note? No problem! Why struggle to perfect something I'll never perfect? I'll just do an original run and make it “my own” lol. And I have a band that encourages me to be me! After all, Beyond Paradise found my tone to suit their male singer/keyboard player and later offered me a spot to sing lead.

And what's not to like about what I have? I get to perform for large companies and events with a group of talented musicians who make me feel like I'm the world’s most talented singer...even if it's for a few hours at a time. I get to have a reason for buying ridiculous amounts of makeup and accessories and play dress up a few weekends a month. And who doesn’t enjoy the paycheck that comes along with doing something I love to do. I’ve also had the opportunity to release original music for everyone around the world to hear.

I was thinking about Rihanna and Gwen Stefani and often wondered why their voices became so famous. I mean, they can hold a note or two, but their range isn’t anything special. And then it hit me...they embraced what they had and made it their own! They became comfortable in the way that they sing, which makes them confident as well. Their originality in any cover song they sing shows their individual uniqueness. You’d know it was Rihanna or Gwen if their song came out on the radio. This is what makes their voices interesting, intriguing, and admired. And so what if my voice will never sing a C in three octaves? If one day my voice came on the radio and you recognized that it was me, well then I would be just fine with that! So embrace the voice you’ve been given. You never know where it will take you!