“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I learned to sing at the same time I learned to talk. My dad would rock me to sleep every night and have me fill in the words to his lullabies. That's when my love for music was first sparked.

To sing well, you have to let go. To accept yourself as you are in the moment while still learning and moving forward. To renew with fresh energy each second. To listen outside and inside yourself. To support yourself and to be aware.

I want to sing my life. To let go of fear and worry. To delight in the melody of each sliver of grass and drop of sky, noticing each with fresh energy every day. To listen to the heartsong of others and to sense the music inside myself. To support myself and others along our travels.

Singing to me is connecting, forging a bond between the essence of one person and another. Every Christmas Eve, three generations in my family converge at the piano to sing together. I have felt that same kind of familial closeness with complete strangers when performing together in choral festivals. I want to give that to people, to alleviate what Mother Teresa called "the greatest disease in the world" - loneliness. I want to fulfill my name, "the thing with feathers that perches in the soul," to use my voice and my being to sing forth optimism and light for others.

— Hope Carlson