Your own kind of music

Matt with his voice teacher after Matt's wonderful, nearly flawless solo performance of "Do You Hear What I Hear?" at the Vacaville Festival of Trees, 2003.

All smiles: Matt is congratulated by his voice teacher after Matt’s wonderful,
nearly flawless solo performance of “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
at the Vacaville Festival of Trees, 2003.

“You’ve gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along.” —
Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil

This 1969 hit is a favorite of mine, as recorded by one of my all-time favorite vocalists, Mama Cass Elliot.  I play this song often for Matt when he and I are riding along in the car together.  It sounds in my ears almost as if it was written for him, but of course, there are others who share that feeling.  So many of us have felt different or apart at some point in our lives, and some of us will never quite fit in with the crowd.  Individuality can be a curse as well as a blessing, but there’s no cure for the loneliness except to accept our differences as gifts, and make the best of them.

Though Mama Cass didn’t write this song, there is no one on earth who could have been more certain to make it the hit that it became.  When I think about all that was best about the 60’s, Mama Cass often comes to mind.  This woman endured much prejudice and many cruel jokes, but she kept on singing, blessing the world with her musical gifts.  I hope you enjoy this lovely video as much as I do, and let it help you remember to sing the song that is yours alone.

One year ago today

A contribution to reality

This post was first published seven years ago today. Out of over 1100 different posts I’ve written for this blog, if I had to name my top ten personal favorites, this post would definitely be one of them, because of the song.

The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Sheila

    Good morning and Happy New Year, Julia and Matt☕️. What a great post, wonderful picture and favorite song. I hope you’re doing well and managing to stay safe. Maybe our Verandah is the best place to be right now. Our Club is now 26 that share our pleasure! Enjoy, and know I’m never far away, whether we’re sharing hot cocoa or sweet iced tea! Hi to Matt and keep singing♥️

    • Sheila, if I’m in that club, I can say honestly that it’s the first club I’ve ever been in where I knew only one of the members! 😀

  2. Ann

    Love the video!! Mama Cass was a special talent and that song could have been her own personal anthem.

    How is Matt doing? He look so happy in the photo.

    • Hi Ann, thanks for asking. Matt is mostly doing well. Like almost all of us, his life is not 100% as he would wish, and he sometimes feels frustration at how limited his options are (he does not voice this, but I can tell). But for the most part, he remains cheerful, agreeable and loving. How many of us can say the same? He is, more than most people at 35 years old, a generally happy man. And that beautiful smile is never gone for long.

  3. MaryAnn

    That giant, wonderful smile! Lights up any place Matt goes!

    • Thank you, Mary Ann. I agree!

  4. Good morning, Julia! I love this photo!
    Influence of our teachers … Matt and his teacher with matching facial hair … it makes me wonder, did Matt adopt that style from that teacher specifically? It’s a good look on each of them.
    I do remember that Mama Cass song! Would you believe I never paid attention to it previously? I missed a gem. I remember the Carpenters’ “Sing”, but I think I like this song better.

    • No, Matt certainly did not adopt the beard from the teacher. Maybe the teacher adopted it from Matt, because Matt had a beard before the teacher did. Truthfully, I never noticed the similarity between the two, because it’s a very common style.

  5. Judy from Pennsylvania

    Your photo captured the kindness that was written on the face of the teacher, and the joy that beamed from Matt’s face following his performance of singing. I see that they both are sporting the very same style of beard and mustache, a style that Matt wears even in other blog photos. Does Matt do any singing at home or at church (if able to go during shutdowns) these days? And does he still like the same style of beard and mustache?

    I also enjoyed seeing him with his riding instructor in a different blog post later this week (I’m doing some catch-up reading). Your camera was there at just the right time. A precious photo. And thank you for the quote from Gibran. It was new to me and I liked it so much I wrote it down to share with on online group I’m part of.

    • Judy, Matt still loves to sing, and sometimes early in the morning before he has gotten up I will hear him singing hymns in bed. ❤ His Daddy used to sing hymns with him while he helped Matt with grooming (shaving, haircut, etc.) and that, along with countless hours of singing in church, has stuck with him. I think he and I could both say that being able to sing with others in church has been the worst part of the restrictions during Covid. Matt still wears the same beard and moustache, although I had to learn a lot about shaving and grooming a heavily bearded face, and will never be as good at it as Jeff was. But Matt insists he wants to keep the beard and moustache, and he asks for so little that I think he should have that choice, despite the amount of work it creates for others. Besides, the shaving is the hardest part, and there would actually be more to shave without the beard. 😀
      Glad you liked the Gibran quote, and were able to use it!

  6. mike c.

    I am sure in today’s “mean girls” cancel culture Mama C. would have gotten a bunch of flack.
    I can think of a current example, but there was Simon Cowell’s body shaming of “Mandisa ” on American Idol.

    • Mike, sadly, in today’s world I don’t think Mama Cass would have found a place. Even those who have the longshot of an appearance on American Idol or such programs are often either crowded out by autotuned pop tarts, or transformed themselves into something barely recognizable. If Mama Cass had been “discovered” on such a venue, there would have been an instant makeover and she would have lost a significant part of her unique charm, in my opinion. I’m glad she lived when she did. I only wish she had lived longer. And the vicious rumors of how she died are untrue.

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