We couldn’t let this day go by without wishing a very happy birthday to one of our favorite people, the multi-talented actor, singer, and writer, Gil McKinney. Yes, he’s definitely a writer – in fact, he was the very first of the Supernatural actors to complete his chapter for Family Don’t End With Blood! In that chapter, Gil writes about how the SPN Family has supported, inspired and helped him to rediscover talents and passions that he’d put aside. That includes singing, which he has now done in performances all over the world, at conventions and at concerts. That also includes his awesome EP and Christmas CD produced by Jason Manns, which are both emotional and beautiful.
I still remember the first time Gil opened his mouth to sing at a Supernatural convention and every jaw in the room just dropped. His voice is that beautiful, and his stage presence only makes the live performances more stunning.
My favorite song of Gil’s is “How Was I To Know,” written as Gil dealt with the death of his father and the birth of his daughter. I lost my dad right around the same time, and this song was tremendously healing to me as well. I still can’t listen to it without tearing up, but those are good tears.
In the chapter he wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood, Gil talks about rediscovering his passion for singing and performing, and how the SPN Family helped immeasurably. He was kind enough to come to the book release party, and to get up onstage and read this part of his chapter to the gathered fans.
Alone on stage with a microphone in my hand, I finished my song and was instantly reminded that I was not alone. I was once again met with a wave of cheers. I’m not sure if I surprised the audience, but I know I surprised myself. I was met backstage with an overwhelmingly kind response from my fellow cast and crew, and I felt an excitement that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. There is nothing quite like singing in front of a live audience. And I have found no better audience than the fans of Supernatural.
A spark had been reignited. Something forgotten had been rediscovered. You see, I have been singing for as long as I can remember, but somewhere along the way my confidence had been injured, my hope all but shattered by rejection and deep frustration. I had auditioned for many musicals early in my career and had once even come close to landing a Broadway national tour. But these jobs just never came my way. And then, at some point, the auditions just stopped coming in. I continued to study with a voice coach and sing at home, but opportunities to perform were nonexistent. The stage was dark until the Supernatural fandom came along.
Fear of failure is something I think many of us battle. How do we not only face that fear but also work to get over it? I’m not sure I have the answer to that question, but I know it is almost impossible to do alone. I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams that working on Supernatural would be the impetus for me to face my fears. The support and encouragement I have received from the fandom is without a doubt one of the greatest gifts of my life and something I will always be grateful for.
Gil is of course also beloved because he’s a Winchester – as he likes to jokingly gloat when referring to Sam and Dean, “I made that.” Not too shabby.
We haven’t seen the return of Henry Winchester on the show (yet), but since other Winchesters are about to return at least temporarily, who knows? Things might have been very different for John and for his sons if Henry’s story had played out differently.
I’ll leave you with some photos of Gil performing at the Saturday Night Special, where I miss him very much! You can read our very first interview with Gil here, for some nostalgia, and a fun chat with him and pal Osric Chau here:
And if you haven’t read Gil’s very personal chapter in Family Don’t End With Blood, overflowing with gratitude for his fans, you can pick up a copy at amazon or at the links on our home page!
Happy birthday, Gil!
–Lynn and Kim