Mumpreneur’s testimonial: Parry Ray, the talented singing yummy mummy

This testimonial is one of my favourite so far. So real, so emotional. I found Parry Ray online and fell in love with her amazing voice!

On October 18th 2001, my father was admitted for a routine back operation. it was scheduled for half an hour and he was to be discharged later that day. That afternoon, the surgeon made a mistake and my father bled out in recovery, suffering a stroke which deprived his brain of oxygen for a considerable length of time. When he woke, after five subsequent operations and 4 days later, he couldn’t walk , talk or see. A few months after my world had been ripped apart I rediscovered my voice – my salvation.

At the risk of sounding like a contestant on a reality show, I always knew I wanted to sing. I have always found the emotion conveyed through music compelling, almost intoxicating.That beautiful partnership of melody and lyrics can truly transport the listener anywhere and evoke latent memories of a time gone by… But life got in the way, despite playing the piano from the age of 4, guitar from 11 and singing since the age of 7, the goal of being a professional singer was constantly shelved.

My mother, who recognised my love for music, I think, was reticent – because perhaps it would too unstable a career choice so she steered me on a more tried and tested path – so two Physics degrees later, a few jobs in science and business publishing… life accelerated – I got married, had two beautiful children, many would say that was enough. But, not singing was turning out to be my biggest regret and the dissatisfaction was growing by the day.

Possibly, not the best thought out plan, as at the end of 2001, my father was in still in hospital (he never came home), my mother’s heart was broken and I had a 3 year old son and a 4 year old daughter. Still, I enrolled in a jazz singing class. My technique was pretty ropey but these two hours in the week were like paradise.

After the third class or so, the teacher (a professional singer) asked me if I was professional. I said no, and she looked surprised and said I should be. Now one of my greatest faults is I don’t always think things through..but in this case I think it was a blessing. I went to some open mic sessions, met some amazing musicians and cut a demo to see if I could get work…and i could. Perhaps not the most salubrious of locations, but I really didn’t care.

I was literally living my dream. And if I had thought of the practicalities, I would have done nothing. Slowly the gigs got better, I realised I had to put in some serious graft on my technique and repertoire, but to say I worked harder is a bit of a con as it is my passion and my compulsion.

Throughout this journey, my children, now 14 and 15 have been my greatest support. When I doubt myself, they do not falter – they propel me forward with such energy. They tell me to live my dream, because that’s what I tell them to do. They tell me there are no shortcuts, yes I tell them that too. And when I knackered, they help fold washing, empty the dishwasher and often make me a cup of tea.

Life is busy, and not always straightforward, but the fulfilment is immeasurable. And I feel like I’ve only just got started.

I know it may sound silly, and I know I have experienced some really dark days and I am not unique in this. But. I am a positive person and will always look for the silver lining. Losing my father was unbearable and one of those things that I thought could never happen to me, but it did. My silver lining was I found my voice and i get to sing every day and be part of a family full of talented musicians and songwriters. And I’m pretty sure my dad is smiling down at me, whilst kicking up a storm in heaven ;-).

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