Who am I?

Some of you know me really well, you may have known me for years and/or done some intensive work with me.

Others of you don’t know me at all. The work I do can seem a bit different and out there but there is a reason I do what I do, and a theory behind it all.

I didn’t start as the confident person you see in these videos, and my life both as a singer and a person has definitely had its ups and downs.

If you would like to know a bit more about me, who I am, what I do and why I do what I do, this video sets out my story (well some of it at least!)……..

Blog Transcript

Hello, how are you today?

I’m popping in to do this video because this group started as a really small group of people who knew me personally.

And now it’s expanded to people who know me less well and also to some of you who know nothing about me at all.

So I thought I would introduce myself.

I’m Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice.

And some of you know nothing about me at all and others of you may know me quite well. So I thought I would tell you a bit about who I am, where I came from, and why I do what I do, and what I do essentially.

So there are a number of strands to my history. The first and most important one is that I’m a singer. I have been a singer.

And for me, the definition of a singer is somebody who loves to sing. It has nothing to do with how well or badly you or others think you sing. It has everything to do with that intrinsic desire to sing.

Because as a child, I sang with a voice that was free and large and joyful and filled a space. And I used to win competitions without even thinking about it. And then suddenly my voice started to change. As some of you may know that women’s voices take a longer to break, but they do actually break. And my voice got big and my confidence got small. And around about the age of 18, 19, I had a massive knock back and I stopped singing for about 17 or 18 years.

I didn’t manage to get into the university choir and having always gotten into every choir and sang solos and done all of this all my life, it was a huge shock to my system and a blow to my ego because singing had been the thing that I’d always done really, really well. So who was I without my singing? And it became a bit more of an existential crisis of who am I? But I didn’t sing because I couldn’t sing the way I wanted to sing and produce the voice that would have the impact on people that my voice used to have.

So I carried on with my life, I got a job, and then I retrained to become a barrister. Always having in mind that I will do the first stage, and then when they discovered I wasn’t clever enough to be a barrister, I could stop and that was always my safety net, but somehow I got through the first stage, I got through the second stage, and I got my pupillage and I got my tenancy, the lovely chambers in East Anglia. At the time I was feeling, goodness knows why they’re giving this to me, how, you know, I, on one level, I was really intellectually confident, and at another level, I was full of self doubt.

And what I now realise was this perfectionistic streak of having to get everything perfect, having to get everything right.

I spent 10 years as a barrister, as a family law barrister in the main, and there were aspects to my job that I absolutely adored. I adored the intellectual challenge, I adored the subject matter because for me it felt like it was the, one of the few areas of law where you’re trying to make things properly better for the main subjects, the children in, in the case. And so that aspect I absolutely loved, but this self-doubt crippled me. You know, despite feedback that I was doing a good job, despite having a really good practice and people hiring me and rehiring me to do work. I constantly questioned myself, every time I sat down from cross-examination, it’d be like, “What questions didn’t I ask, what should I have asked?” And there was this constant nagging voice in my head, but I carried on, and I carried on, and eventually I had two children, I was running a household with two little kids and I got pregnant again.

And that seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back because I developed an illness called postural tachycardia syndrome, POTS for short, which meant as my consultant, it took me three years to get to my consultant, but when I got to the consultant who knew all about it, he basically said, “You’ll never be a barrister again.” And so this was existential crisis in my life, number two. Who was I? You know, being a barrister had defined who I was. It’s an entree into any conversation. You say, “I’m a barrister,” and people go, “Oh!” And suddenly you can talk to anyone. So it was this little safety thing of, I am good enough, even though I didn’t feel good enough in any way, shape or form.

So I was ill and I still have the illness, but I have learned to manage it in a way that I can live my life. And I did go on to have a third child, my lovely Freddie, who is a bundle of joy. And even now as much as at eight years old, he’s still my bundle of joy has wonderful dimples and smiles, so it was a wonderful addition to my beautiful family. And then after awhile, I was like, “Well, what am I going to do now?” So I retrained as a life coach, but at the same time as this, I had gone back to singing.

So just before I became ill, I had gone back to singing and I found a wonderful teacher, Posy Walton, who was absolutely fantastic and recognised my voice and was able to bring out my voice. But I started going to a place called AIMS International Music School run by two wonderful people, Penny and Neil Jenkins, and they transformed my life in terms of singing. And when I was unable to work again, they offered me to come and work for them so that I could go and sing, which was an amazing offer. And I went to, I was T-lady for AIMS International Music School. And then while I was being T-lady and singing at AIMS, I was retraining as a life coach. And I realized, and this struck me hugely, how much you can see what a singer is thinking when you watched them sing and added to this, a great friend of mine, Ruth Randall, said to me when she was coaching me, “You don’t seem to enjoy your singing.” ‘Cause I was talking about going to AIMS and the pressure I was putting on myself and blah-dee-blah-dee-blah. And I suddenly realised, this thing I did because I love, I love it, I wasn’t enjoying. And that crystallised what I was seeing in the singers. I would see these singers pushing pressure on themselves. And it was really interesting how there were some singers who didn’t necessarily have the best voices, but they could perform, or they could inhabit a song and they could let go of every insecurity and really be in the space with their audience. And some of the other singers who may have had even better voices, couldn’t, and you could see as they were seeing all their hangups going around in their heads, everything that was going on in their heads would somehow show up in their performance.

I realised this was exactly like me as a barrister and others as a barrister, that it wasn’t necessarily the people with the greatest intellect or knowledge who made the best barristers, but the ones who could really be in the now and be in the space and connect with their audience, whether that was the judge, the jury, the witnesses, the magistrates, the other parties in the case, there was something they could do which made you connect with them and understand what they were trying to get across in terms of their argument and their message and made them more persuasive. So what was this? And I spend the next few years really researching this and working with singers and other performers and business performance, business men and women would come to me and we would work together and I would look at the neuroscience behind it, the psychology behind it. Emotional work, psychological work, and really dig in to what was going on and the more I did, the more I realised that what goes on in our heads affects what comes out of our mouth and how we present ourselves when it comes out of our mouths. And so now I work with singers and other performers, business performers, and other performance to help them transform how they think, to transform how they perform.

And from that work, I did one-to-one with a lot of singers and performers. I then created my Fearless Performer program, which condenses all the tools or a large number, the most important tools I use with my clients into this online course. And I created this course to teach you how to change how you think, the reason you think the way you do, how to change how you think, and how to transform how you perform.

And the amazing thing about this is not only do you transform how you perform, but almost inevitably how you show up as a performer, whether that’s doing Facebook Lives or singing on stage or networking, however you turn up as a performer, almost always echoes some things that are going on in your life, so if you transform your thinking around performing, you can transform your life. And that is exactly what this work has done for me because, you know, I was a barrister. I got up, I performed so to speak in court and most people would have said I was confident, but I wasn’t. I am a dyed in the wool introvert who on one level finds people terrifying. But I, so when I did this and I wasn’t confident, I wanted to run away and hide. In social circumstances, I was incredibly shy and when I stood up to sing, my knees would pretty much knock together and I’m not kidding you. My hands would shake, my voice would shake, and the voice in my head was going crazy, absolutely crazy.

And what this work has done has transformed how I think of myself, how I think of myself as a performer, what I think performance is, and what I give to my audience so that I can sit on these videos and talk perfectly naturally to those of you that are listening. And I can be myself, so I can let my personality shine through and if you think of singers, the really great singers, they can inhabit a character, but they can give it their own shine. Their personality shines through the character, and that’s how they inhabit the character.

So it’s about truly being able to be you so that you can inhabit a character without that voice in your head tripping you up, tensing you up and creating all sorts of hurdles. And it has transformed my singing, it has transformed my life, my friendships, my family, all my relationships and how I show up here and in life. So that is a little introduction to who I am, why I do what I do, and what I do.

And I would love to hear a bit about you. So please feel free to contact me. And tell me a bit about you, who you are, your struggles, because the more I know about you, the more I can help you with what I do and focus what I do to help as many people as possible.

Thank you so much for listening, thank you so much for being part of my list, my community, some of you are heavily involved with what I do, some of you are just on the outskirts, finding out little bits about what I do.

You’re welcome here, you’re welcome in my Facebook group, the Fearless Performer, please ask me questions, engage me, I’m here to help you because now my passion is transforming performers so that they can truly be themselves onstage and really enjoy their performance as they sing at their best.

Have a wonderful day and I hope to see you soon.

If you’ve liked what i’ve talked about today and like my way of looking at music and and performing, then there is a free training you can sign up for here.  

Thank you so much for listening