Hi all! Gosh, I’ve been so lax about writing these days. But I’ve been so super busy! I miss sharing my thoughts but it’s time you learned why I’ve been so neglectful. It’s time to share my BIG project that is finally going down THIS WEEK and the hell it all happened. You’ve expected it for a while but the time has finally come! Here’s the scoop…
In any life led by art, sustaining and living a full life is not easy. You will make sacrifices. It is the nature of the beautiful beast. You will work a survival job to support yourself. You will try your best to expose your talents to those who matter without losing your dignity. You will constantly be learning about yourself and your art and how to improve. You will forever be searching for your big break. That big break might not even make the difference you dreamt it would. Unless you are independently wealthy, killing it at a magical survival job, get a long running Broadway gig, or don’t sleep, you might have to pass up on everyday, normal experiences to try to ensure this difficult lifestyle, to pay the bills, to get new headshots, to work a job around your auditions. You must remain available until THE Broadway calls. You must be ready at a moment’s notice if you get a callback. You put things on hold waiting for the next thing. And none of this is paid. You don’t go into this business for the cash. And in this world, in this city, cash is king?
I’ve felt that hunger for as long as I can remember. I recall my first day at college and I met some people in the theatre department. I rattled off my credits like there were Broadway casting directors in front of me when in reality they didn’t give a rat’s ass if I had played Lucille in No, No Nanette in high school. I’d always been overly dedicated to my craft, taking voice lessons and classes when I could afford it and constantly listening and learning new scores and shows. I’m addicted to the information, the knowledge that might get me a step ahead of the other peeps. I was always the person who came into rehearsal pretending not to be off-book when I really was. I lived in New Jersey but I got to auditions earlier than my friends who lived right here in Hell’s Kitchen, again thinking I’m a step ahead. I worked multiple jobs from weddings to catering to restaurants to bars to stores to telemarketing. And I did great at auditions, callbacks, regional gigs, concerts, and Broadway lights in my future.
There was never extra money when I really needed it and I wanted more in my life than figuring out exactly how much I could give at a friend’s wedding while still paying all my bills. Can you go to your friend’s wedding? If I don’t have a show booked! Can you meet for drinks? If I don’t have to work late at the bar. Can you babysit your niece? Only if I don’t have to meet with a new agent. Can you go on a date this weekend? If I’m not working a wedding! Can you go on vacation in May? If I have the funds/if I haven’t booked a gig! It’s a never-ending circle of uncertainty. That hunger for success limits you from saying yes to so much, afraid that you will miss out, no matter how much you might YEARN for stability. “I’m limited…” Thanks, Elphaba. I just wanted “something next to normal.” It’s hard, so fucking hard because that hunger is still there, eating at my insides.
I put the beast in hibernation and left auditioning for a while. I was always meant to sing and act and tell a story. I just wanted to find a different way. I was sick of feeding the beast with my struggles; I wanted to feel full. I wanted something more sure and I was sick of wanting. I started evaluating my life.
Did I love being in the musical theatre industry?
Did we have a love/hate relationship?
Did I just want to perform?
HOLLA. Wanna hear a high C???
Did I want to spend my whole life wondering when the next gig would be?
UGH. Blargh. BLECH!
The beast is still there but I fed it with more nourishing food, a stable job, a handsome husband, a nice home, and some free time to enjoy life. I feel like I’m in flux, like my life isn’t all it is supposed to be yet, even though I’m happy. I was incomplete so I went looking for something to satisfy that hole, a new fullness that would merge my old and new life together.
It’s about finding a way. It’s about MAKING your own OPPORTUNITIES. It’s about following your dreams.
I always dreamed of recording albums. I think part of me wanted to do that just as much as being onstage. I started researching, I met with friends to ask questions, I called around to get rates at studios and I wondered how I would put it altogether on my own. Whoa, but, how, when, where…..?
I called in back up.
My dear friend from high school Megan was always a musical inspiration to me. Not only is she a wife and mother of two beautiful children, but she is a successful and talented accompanist, arranger, vocalist, voice teacher, and musical director. For my wedding she helped me create a medley to play in back of our slide show. She laid down the tracks, I went to a recording studio, and then sent her the vocals. Together with her amazing husband (another brilliant musician and studio engineer), they put together something beautiful for me, the gift of song for my husband on the most important day of our lives. I felt warm again, full. I thought, “damn I want to do more of this.” I casually asked her if she would want to make an album with me. Her response was DUH, we should have done it years ago. She and I have always had an amazing musical connection and I couldn’t imagine trusting something so important to me with anyone else. This husband and wife power couple agreed to collaborate with me in arranging, orchestrating, mixing and recording the amazing music I wanted to sing.
I had doubts that I could really do this. Could I afford it? How does this all work? Did I feel like a fool for putting out my own album? Would people think that next I was going to put on shows in my basement?
No. FUCK THAT. I’m making my own way. I’m creating an opportunity for myself, a calling card. I’ll be sharing this as a business when I put it on iTunes. The pride I wear should be beaming out from every damn pore on my body. The more I think about this collaboration with these two brilliant musical minds, the more I realize that I should be shouting it high from the rooftops.
…steps on rooftop…
“I’m leaving on a jet plane tomorrow to go to North Carolina. I’M RECORDING MY FIRST SOLO ALBUM! And it won’t be the last! And it’s gonna be fucking awesome!”
There’s so much more coming. It took time. I took time. But I went out and I got what I wanted and needed. My musical theatre dreams aren’t dead; they are very much alive and living, but I’ve reshaped them. They aren’t any smaller, just a different shape to fit into my present life. They fit a piece of my current puzzle. And I’m finally feeling satisfied…. full.
COMING SOON: KEEP CALM AND CARI ON, THE ALBUM!