I guess I’ll start by telling ya’ll how I got here. As the family knows, I’m an avid karaoke-er (as is Meghan). I’ve won a couple competitions, did lots of theatre when I was young, sing for the Y-Town Hoolies, blah blah blah. Even with all that, I know that wasn’t the direction that mom and dad wanted me to take my life. It was unrealistic and success was more based in luck than talent. So, despite the drive and passion for it, and despite being told by my professors in college to quit and go to Hollywood, I didn’t. Now, I want to put it out there that I don’t know that I’m Hollywood quality or material. The realist in me has always put those dreams aside as unattainable or vain. The elitist in me has poo pooed them, saying that I’m too good for pop music or reality tv or silly shows like American Idol (even though people had asked me numerous times why I hadn’t tried out for it). So there’s a little insight into my head before about a year ago.
About 2 years ago I started hanging out with my very dear friend, Karih. She’s easily one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Cuban and gorgeous, intelligent and charming, and of course she had no idea that she was any of those things except Cuban. One day we were playing Rock Band at her house and she took the mike. My jaw dropped. Her voice was amazing. I mean really amazing. She had been to karaoke with me at least 3 or 4 times and never once gone up. I know some people are afraid of singing in public, so I asked. I don’t recall her specific response, but it was something like “Oh, I dunno, I just never wanted to or thought I could.” I, of course, thought that a little absurd and gave her the standard “If you don’t put in a song next time we karaoke, I’ll do it for you.” So, the next time we went she was shaking and terrified, but she put in a song. It was pretty good, “Killing me Softly” by the Fugees, a karaoke ease in piece. We cheered and stomped our feet, of course. Karih has a habit of turning scarlet from the tippy top of her head down to her toes when she’s embarrassed. When she got to the table I could actually see her hands shake. She was scarlet, and shaking, and smiling from ear to ear. Okay, that’s Karih. Let’s move on.
At some point last year Karih started telling me about this new awesome show she was watching, The Voice. She has always been extremely self conscious of her weight, so she was absolutely gushing about how cool it was because the contestants didn’t have to worry about the judges telling them they need to be a toothpick to be successful or fit a mold that the producers set forward for them. She told me I should go on. I laughed and gave the rebuttal “What about you?” Then she got this look on her face like I had just given her a challenge. “Okay, next time they have auditions we’re going. Together.” And then the fantasizing started. “Ooo, what if we ended up on the same team? Or having to go against each other? That’s be so awesome. I wouldn’t care who won between us…” Those kind of what if conversations are fun and cathartic all at the same time occasionally. And then I got to thinking about it… am I too old for something like this? Nope. There’s not an age limit like Idol. And, what I realized was this: while my standard response to people who asked me why I hadn’t tried for Idol was “Not really my style” what that meant but would never admit to was “Oh I dunno, I just never thought I could. I’m too old, I already missed my chance. I’m not skinny enough or talented enough.” And, like all things like this are concerned, they move to the wayside because you can make up your mind one way and then talk yourself right back in the other direction pretty easily, or at least I can.
Fast forward: It’s April and I’m telling dad about this story. We’ve been talking about his band and my band. His harmonica player, Matt, gave me a fabulous compliment, saying that if I lived down there and had a good band and producer that he thought I’d be famous now. I tell dad about the deal with Karih. He tells me I should go. I respond with a standard. Nah, I’m too old for stuff like that. Again, I’m paraphrasing here, but his response here was “Not even close. You’ve got time and you should go.” Now let me pause here and just point out that the industry isn’t really fair to women. Serj Tankian got his recording contract in his mid thirties. Feist was very old for a woman and got hers at 28. So yeah, 31 is a little late in the game to be getting started. So, dad leaves and goes back to NC after a very nice visit with him and Cata. Maybe a month later I get a message from dad. It broke my heart. Completely. It read something like this: “If I had known the people that I knew now and had the connections that I do now when you were 14 you would be famous right now. “ my stomach dropped. “Dad, that’s not what you wanted for me when I was 14.” And he responded with 3 small words that anyone who knows my dad knows he rarely says (a trait I gained from him, btw) “I was wrong”. Well that was that. My eyes started watering. And I started thinking about it. I don’t want to live my life thinking about all the could have beens and should have dones. I don’t want to be stuck living with the thought that I didn’t try as hard as I could to get what I wanted or let things hold me back. The next day he asked if I had signed up for Voice auditions yet. So I did. Right then and there. And I called Karih and we got together for a drink and I informed her of what she had to do. She turned that awesome shade of scarlet. “You what? We’re what? I have to… gulp oh god” And that’s that. We’re on our way and I’ll write new installments with each step of the journey.