Monday, July 30, 2007

On Stage

I've never felt more at home as I do when I am on a stage. It's like coming home from a long trip. You walk in the door of your house and think "It's good to be home". That's the feeling. I look out at the audience and just feel like I'm home. In my heart I feel that this is where I'm supposed to be. I have had many jobs in restaurants, offices, bakeries, department stores, gas stations, factories....none of them have ever meant as much to me as the times that I was on stage. It doesn't matter what stage or what city or what event or even if there was an audience. I just feel the most comfortable there.

When I walk into a theater or arena or any kind of show venue, I immediately get a picture in my mind of what it would look like from the stage with the house lights down and the spotlights shining. I can hear the crowd cheering and singing along. I can hear the music playing. I smile to myself as all of this passes through my mind. I know that I could just live in that room for the rest of my life and never leave. If I could, there would be a room just like a showroom in my house. Who knows, maybe I will have one someday.

We were asked to provide the music for my stepson's wedding this past weekend, so over the last month or so we have been piecing together a sound system. We purchased a sound board and a set of Yamaha speakers, speakers stands and cables, and new microphones and cables for them. All together we spent close to $1200, which isn't too bad. We got a couple of discounts here and there because we knew people who knew people, and we got a discount on the sound board because it was the last one they had and was the display model. But it's in mint condition, and works perfectly.

We set it up and it just blew me away. It was like a mini-concert. The place even had a mirror ball. The volume only has to be on the first or second notch, and it was loud enough to fill the room with music. I could have stayed and played for hours. I was having so much fun. It's really hard to describe that to people. It's not work, it's more like playing. I mean, just imagine if you were doing the thing that you love to do the most--fishing, flying, dancing, painting, singing, cooking, shopping--whatever it is that you really love to do. Now, imagine that not only do you get to do it, but that you were getting paid to do it. What an awesome job it would be. Well, I would do this for free.

And just to put icing on the cake, two of the couple's friends are interested in having me do their wedding receptions as well.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

That's You?!

It's amazing....

I had a friend who opened a recording studio and to get people interested he held an open house. He let folks come in and try out the studio free of charge. Of course, I took advantage of the chance to record something in a real studio. I didn't have the money to pay for that type of thing then, and it was something that I had been dying to do. I recorded a few different songs. They all came out pretty good, but one of them is great.

Several months later I showed it to a woman at a talent agency (they really handled models more than anything else). She stuck it in the tape player and turned it on. She listened for a minute or so and then looked at me and said "That's you?". I said it was. She listened a bit more and then looked at me again. Then she said while pointing at the tape player and then at me, "That is you.". Again, I said it was. She turned the volume down some, crossed her arms, and said "Sing.". So I did, and she finally believed me. I was a little surprised by the whole thing. I didn't expect that when I played the tape for someone they wouldn't believe that it was me.

Just last night we played the recording for some new friends and they said the same thing...."That's You?!" Unbelievable. I guess I just don't look the part. I don't look like the people on the red carpet. I'm a real person. I guess everyone expects you to look a certain way if you have certain kinds of talent. Singers should look like this and artists should look like this and actors should look like that and athletes should look like that. There is so much stereotyping in this world that we just can't seem to accept people for who they are. This is one of the major snags I have hit over the years. But once they get to know me, they get over it quick.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My First Post

From as far back as I can remember, there has been music in my life, and I can remember that I have always wanted to be a part of it in some way. I can remember listening to the radio and playing records and tapes for hours on end. I remember my friends trying to get me to come outside when all I wanted to do was listen to music and sing. I remember sitting with my brother and his friends while they played their guitars. I remember watching every awards show on TV and listening to the weekly top 40 hit list to see who had the number 1 song that week. I remember watching American Bandstand, not to see what the dancers were wearing or to see who was dating who, but to see and hear the musical acts that were performing. I loved shows like Solid Gold, The Donny & Marie (Osmond) Show, Midnight Special, Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, Tony Orlando & Dawn, Sonny & Cher, The Captain & Tenille, Dean Martin....anything that was a variety show or was musical.

Everyone in my family was musical in some way or just loved music. My dad used to listen to the local country stations and took us to a couple of shows. I remember going to see people like Glen Campbell and Johnny Cash. My mom loved performers like The Platters, Nat King Cole, Patsy Cline, Patti Page, Brenda Lee, Johnny Mathis, Connie Francis, and Doris Day. My brother, on the other hand, was and still is a metalhead. He loves groups like Kiss, Dokken, Ratt, Poison, Led Zeppelin, Rush, and AC/DC. So I grew up around all kinds of music and I like some of all of it. My husband is into Motown and R&B, like the Spinners and the Temptations, and also into the comedy songs and parody songs of people like Weird Al, Rodney Carrington and Ray Stevens, and now that my son is a young adult (he's 25), I am hearing a lot of the new stuff that is on the radio. As with all the other types of music, some of it I like and some I don't. I have a cousin that sings, another one that sings in a band and plays guitar, and one of my uncles used to sing and was able to play harmonica and piano by ear. It's almost as if being musical was born in my blood.

There are things about some of the music I've heard over the years that really bothers me. I don't like it when songs seem to promote things like drug use or brutality. I never cared for the heavy metal songs where someone is just literally screaming and the band is playing the same four chords over and over for six solid minutes. (Don't throw tomatoes, there are some heavy metal songs I really like. Jaime's Crying by Van Halen is one of my favorites, and I love Beth and a few others by Kiss.) As a singer, I like to hear the lyrics of the song so I can join in. I also don't think the "n" word has any place in any kind of conversation. It was used originally to belittle and degrade people and even though it is used in casual conversation these days, it still has that connotation to it. I just don't like the word--never have, never will. But I don't believe in censorship. I would never say that someone else can't say what they want in their songs. I always have the option of not buying that artist's recordings if I don't like what I hear.

I think there are some really fantastic artists, groups and musicians out there, and tons of great music. They are writing new stuff and renewing the old stuff and most of it is fantastic. You just have to keep your ears and your mind open.