LifeThe Importance of Rage

January 10, 2018by Cheryl Porter17

The first time I ever sang in public was the single most traumatic moment of my life. It was also the most embarrassing, because it was the first time I had ever broken down in tears in front of a church full of people as they affectionately said, “It’s ok, baby,” “Let God have his way, baby,” and “It’s gone be alright child!” However, it was anything but okay, alright, or God having his way! I felt humiliated and ashamed. I was also feeling something else—something that I couldn’t quite grasp yet.

It was thirty years ago, but every time I think about that moment, I can still feel my heart beating, my hands shaking, and the sensation of someone choking me because I just couldn’t breathe or catch my breath. This was my first concert, and it was at a church on the South Side of Chicago with my cousin Kaita and our friend Deanna. We always sang after school at Kaita’s house. When the other kids were out playing, we were singing. Those were some of the best days of my life because, for the first time, I felt l like I really belonged. I felt like I was doing what I was born to do.

I really wasn’t scared or nervous in the least when Kaita’s mom told us that we were invited to sing at the church. We got there early, rehearsed many hours, left, and went back to the church two hours early to rehearse even more. No anxiety. No fear. I wasn’t nervous at all—not even a little nervous.

The people finally started rolling in, and we sat in the back waiting for them to call us. Our first song was an Acapella spiritual where I gave the first note. No problem, I had done this a million time before, rehearsed it to perfection and was confident. But when I opened my mouth to sing the first note, the note that was supposed to bring in Kaita and Deanna, absolutely NO SOUND came out! I panicked and thought, “What’s happening? Where did my voice go?” I gave it another try. This time something came out, but it surely was not me! It sounded like a whimper, a sob or a cry. I was so confused until I finally realized that instead of singing, I was actually crying!!!!

I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. Was I actually breaking down in tears in front of all these people? Yes!

What came after was agonizing. I was used to being so strong and now everyone was coddling me like a baby. The gazes of the people were so comforting, but I didn’t feel comforted. I felt like a failure, and I felt like I would never forgive myself. But I also felt a burning—a fire—that I just couldn’t grasp or understand.

After an episode like that, most people would probably never have the courage to try to sing in public again. I mean, why would you put yourself through the embarrassment? The shame? The humiliation?

When we got back in the car to go home, I didn’t open my mouth to say a word. And that burning kept getting bigger, stronger until it completely engulfed me. My heart was still beating fast but not because I was afraid. It was because I was furious, and I understood finally that what I was feeling was pure RAGE. I was so angry at myself, and I vowed that I would never, ever embarrass myself like that again. I started looking for opportunities to sing just so I could prove to myself that I could do it, that I could sing in public without breaking down, without crying and making a fool of myself.

Thirty-three years later, I have recorded over twenty-five albums, sung in over thirty countries, shared the stage with stars like Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Bono of U2, Tito Puente, Paul Young,  Annie Lennox, and I am also the voice of Disney’s The Lion King live-action movie on the Italian sondtrack. Why? Because I was determined not to let my fear of singing in public paralyze me. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, and I did!

I meet so many people that suffer from stage fright, and they have already embraced the fact that they are simply too afraid to sing in front of people. I just hope this little story will give them hope. Fear is a defining moment. It’s the moment you are faced with the choice to move forward or move backward. I hope you chose to move forward and fight those fears with rage and determination day by day and song by song.

Cheryl Porter


  • Shaunte' Porter

    April 8, 2020 at 1:53 am

    Ms. Cheryl, that story is heartbreaking, yet so familiar to hear and then it’s also inspiring because you’ve become who you’ve become which gives many HOPE!!!

    I’m taking your course because I want to stand in the POWER of my voice. All I hear in my head is family saying “Shauna (my nick name) why you so LOUD?” Or they’d say, “Shut up Shauna!” So, even though I hv a soulful voice, I’m scared to sing with what I know is inside of me. I’m ready for you to help me find my voice and use it UNAPOLOGETICALLY. I’ve got my gloves and I’m soooooo ready.


  • Marino Hortencio Samaniego

    April 8, 2020 at 3:43 am

    Quiero empezar el curso YA. Quiero saber el costo en pesos Argentinos. Gracias Cheryl.


  • Lucien

    April 9, 2020 at 10:32 am

    I want to enroll in your online course. How do I choose the right key for me ? I know I’m a tenor, but with age (57), I’m not sure if my range has gone down to baritone. I would like to stay as tenor? Which one should I choose?


  • Kuini Toomata

    April 13, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Thank you Cheryl for sharing your story it makes me to stay focus and looking forward to your online course…I also thank God for giving me a time to wait patiently for your call Im so happy to join with you to make my dream to becone a perfect singer in our church and choir to praise him voice he gave thank you too for answering my private message….Lord bless you with your kind heart GB cant wait to meet you online…


  • Priscilla

    April 17, 2020 at 10:50 pm

    Thanks alot Cheryl


  • Liberty

    April 18, 2020 at 1:38 am

    Thank you for sharing. Your story is so inspiring.


  • Jenepher White

    April 23, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    Thank you, Cheryl. It is so good to know you understand.
    Jenepher White


  • Nando RL

    April 26, 2020 at 12:41 am

    Cuando leí el título pensé que no era parte del blog… Pero me entró la curiosidad y cuando empecé a leer me identifique de inmediato… Cuando inicié mis clases de canto en una casa de cultura casa semestre nos presentamos en un concierto para nuestros familiares… Me postule para una canción en dueto con mi maestra el cuál obtuve y cuando nos tocó pasar estaba nervioso pero no lo suficiente para quedarme sin palabras sino para entrar en destiempo, sinceramente lo noté hasta que mi maestra inicio su parte, después yo estaba cantando muy fuerte, sin nada de relajación y más alto que la voz de ella, cuando ví el vídeo de la presentación me sentí tan mal porque no fue para lo que me estuve preparando, pensé que me precipite demaciado rápido al postularme pero también sabía que si no aprovechaba esa oportunidad tal vez no volvería en mucho tiempo, me sentí tan avergonzado y supuse que no tenía talento y que no era lo mío… Pero rápido me propuse practicar más acertadamente aunque a la fecha todavía tengo problemas técnicos que no he solucionado pero sé que con dedicación y disciplina lograré que las personas escuchen mi voz y volver a pisar un escenario sea chico o grande lo importante es inspirar, debo confesar que cuando empecé a ver tus tutoriales en Youtube no me animaba a realizarlos porque pensaba que eran muy difíciles y no estaban hechos para un principiante pero conforme los fuí practicando y hacerlos parte de mi rutina he podido realizarlos con mayor agilidad aunque sigo practicando la afinación para poder hacerlos correctamente, estoy seguro que cuando junte el dinero para tomar tu curso online lo aprovecharé al máximo por qué admiro tu fuerza y carisma, espero conocerte algún día y también por qué no tomar una de tus clases presenciales sería un sueño. Sin más halagos aduladores espero que sigas teniendo una maravillosa vida Cheryl besos y abrazos desde México.


  • Rei Kenoly

    April 29, 2020 at 3:45 am

    Thank you Mamma Cheryl!,
    Your amazing to me, and such an inspiration to me . Thank you so much for sharingK


  • Виктория

    April 30, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    Могу ли я приобрести курс из России? Мне 11 лет и я очень люблю петь! Обожаю ваши видео – уроки!!!


    • Guido

      May 2, 2020 at 6:58 am

      Вы можете купить онлайн курс из любой страны мира! Здесь исполнители из более чем 110 стран. Мы будем ждать вас!


  • Ednika Dabney

    April 30, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing, the fear is definitely real.


  • Gabriela

    May 2, 2020 at 4:58 am

    I also have stage panic and I still can’t get over it, I remember that when I showed up at a singing class to sing my hand trembled and my heart beat rapidly


  • Juan Carlos

    May 5, 2020 at 1:38 am

    Hola, realmente me interesa tomar el curso, quisiera saber si se trata de un entrenamiento completo o talvez es solo una lección, las clases son en español o al menos subtítulos en español?, espero respuestas. gracias..


  • Natalí Flórez

    May 19, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    Hola bella, vivo enamorada de tu trabajo, el amor y el carisma que le pones a tus lecciones son muy admirables.
    Soy colombiana y estudié canto lírico pero siento mucha afinidad con el canto popular y aquí todavía no hay profes que se desempeñen bien en el tema ni que trabajen con tanto amor.
    Ahora vivo en el campo, tengo un bebé de dos años con habilidades musicales y sueño estudiar contigo y sé que algún día lo lograré.
    Toda mi admiración y respeto para tí.


  • Zebaze Joe bryan

    May 20, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    Cheryl I choose to move forward come take my hand


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