My “Grammy Awards”

Though I’m open to the experience, I’ve yet to win a traditional Grammy Award.

My Grammies emerge from the stories people tell about how they use my music in their everyday lives and work.  I’m deeply touched when something I’ve created can be put to good use in the world.  Here are a few examples:

  • Kairos Dance Theatre uses my song “Great Big Love” to open each of their Dancing Heart programs.  This innovative work offers people with memory loss and physical challenges the opportunity to dance, tell stories, and connect with each other.
  • A psychologist who teaches mindfulness opens the first session with “Brain Rats” as a way to introduce brain chatter to her students in a light-hearted way.
  • Dozens of people send my “Better Birthday Song” to their friends as a birthday greeting in lieu of that dreadful song we usually sing on that day.  (It’s available as a free download at
  • A friend sings “Kite At Sundown” – the first song I ever wrote – as a final farewell at the graveside of her beloved mother-in-law.
  • A fellow author thinks of the song “Such As These” whenever she encounters people doing the humble work of the world.  She says remembering its message supports her in offering them the gratitude and respect they deserve.

When a song gets used like this, it’s a bit like Pinocchio.  It becomes real.

About Barbara McAfee

Barbara is a voice coach, singer/songwriter, keynote speaker, and author who merges lessons from 12 years in organization development with the transformational power of sound. Her book, Full Voice: The Art & Practice of Vocal Presence (Berrett-Koehler Publishers) was a #1 Amazon bestseller in Business Communication. The book is based on her 25 years as a voice coach, supporting people from many professions in learning how to access the full power and expression of the voice in service to their work and relationships. Barbara’s musical keynotes blend practical content, sophisticated humor, and thought-provoking questions on topics including voice, leadership, and engagement. She was “the band” for Margaret Wheatley’s Women’s Leadership Revival Tour, which visited 15 North American cities. She also appears with authors Parker Palmer and Peter Block. Barbara has produced seven CD's of mostly original music and is founder of the Morning Star Singers, a volunteer hospice choir in the Twin Cities. She lives across the street from the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
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2 Responses to My “Grammy Awards”

  1. Barbara in Robbinsdale says:

    It’s true, Barbara, your “children” have gone off, left the nest, and gone on to meet many other people, some of whom you’ll never know about. And your poems, too – I’ll never forget how you spoke “On Being a Carrot in God’s Garden” at Joel’s memorial service.

    • Yes, that poem has wandered far and wide in the world as well. And I always think of Joel when I recite it now — and wish I had a big carrot to bite! Did you know I used it as the closing poem in the book?

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