First, watch the video below...
Now, let's pretend that this situation played itself out in your church. Either you had asked somebody to sing a "special" or this person was actually a permanent part of your worship team, and they bombed a song like Kat DeLuna (yeah, I didn't know who she is either...for good reason, obviously) bombed this. What would you say to this person?
Here are three of my initial thoughts:
1. It's about the song, NOT about you. The national anthem is much like the songs we should be singing in church...it's about something much bigger than me. The song Kat sang is supposed to be about remembering freedom, sacrifice, soldiers, war, and all the things that make our country such an awesome place to live. If I sang "How Great Is Our God" with all of the vocal and physical animation that Kat used with her song, what would be the message I'd be communicating to God and to those who were singing with me?
2. Let me offer you some vocal lessons (and, yes, I've read Kat's bio and know that she supposedly received some very good training...). Seriously...when you expend so much energy and volume on your first note of a song like this, you've got nowhere to go but down, which is where Kat went (and fast). There's a reason the melody of "The Star-Spangled Banner" moves up an entire octave from beginning to end...
3. Understand who you are, where you are and why you're singing this song. A foreign-raised, 20 year old "pop sensation" (not my words) is not the best pick to be singing the national anthem of the US under the brightest lights at the stadium of "America's Team" (also, most definitely, not my words). I know this might sound small-minded of me, but let me explain.
Most foreigners (and too many of us who were born and raised here, as well) do not have a great understanding of and appreciation for our country's national anthem. The same can be said for most 20 year olds. And, most "pop sensations" are only singing for one thing...to make themselves appear more sensational.
When I was 20, I sang in a band that was managed by my university. I was given "All Along The Way" by Larnelle Harris to sing. Not only was it an outdated song by that point (2001), but I immediately recognized that I simply could not relate to this song (make sure you click the link and read the lyrics). I felt like a foreign, 20 year old pop sensation, being asked to sing a song that I knew nothing about. Although I tried to make the best of it, it was bad...so bad that, after the first few weeks, the song somehow disappeared from our set-list (which was totally cool with me).
When we sing songs at church, one of the things I am very conscious about is not asking our lead vocalists to sing songs that they can't personally relate to. I also only introduce songs that I know many (if not most) who attend our gatherings will be able to relate to. Singing a song that has no meaning to you is never a good thing...and, much like Kat, it can often be a really, really bad thing. Maybe Kat is a great vocalist, but if so, she needs to stick with songs that work for a foreign, 20 year old pop sensation.
What do you think? If Kat had been singing a churchy song in your church the way she sang the national anthem last night, what would you say to her?