|Me as a baby!|
According to Mom, I was practically born singing. Even before I could talk. Apparently at just 8 months old, I could sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in perfect tune. I just didn't quite have the words down yet...It came out something like "Up a, up a, up a tar." Hey, I was close!
When company was over my Mom would encourage me to perform for them. A shy toddler I would start by singing quietly, hiding behind the couch. Once I got over the butterflies and heard sounds of approval from the audience, I'd come out of hiding, singing loudly and proudly. I loved the attention. I was hooked. As a pre-teen I used to write musicals and perform them with my brothers and friends for the neighbours. The garage made a perfect stage, with the garage door as a curtain. As a teen, I was involved in high school musicals and talent shows. One year I was Boy George (remember Culture Club?! Really showing my age now! Yes I was an 80s kid!) The next year I was Madonna. When I sang "Material Girl" I even had a routine worked out where I threw monopoly money. The audience loved it. It was an amazing night. The next day at school, I felt like a celebrity. People kept stopping me in the hallways and complimenting me. Normally I was so shy and quiet but I always came to life on stage. A shy exhibitionist -- half of me needed to hide, the other half craved the spotlight.
Being a singer had always been one of my dreams (along with being a writer, an artist, actress, dancer, photographer.) I dabbled in a few things but never really threw myself into anything. I let fear talk me out of things. The dreamer in me always seemed to be held back by my practical, cautious side. I always had to have a "real job" to pay the bills.
One boyfriend that I dated (probably the sweetest one ever. If he'd only had a job!) Rich taught me how to play basic guitar chords. Something just clicked. I'd been writing poetry my whole life. The words always came naturally to me. Now that I had the music, songs started flooding out. I couldn't play guitar very well but it's amazing how many songs you can create out of just a few chords. As Harlan Howard put it "Country music is three chords and the truth." The Sony store had a contest for a "Creative Dreamer" where you could win one of several products (a computer, a camera or an LCD TV) by doing something creative to promote the product. My Mom suggested I write a song for Sony. So I did. And I won! I was thrilled with my little Sony LCD TV. They've really come down in price but at the time it retailed for close to $4000. It's still my favourite TV with the best sound and clearest picture.
When I performed my songs for people, they were very enthusiastic. One guy I met, a host at a Karaoke night I went to, was a songwriter himself. He was amazed that I had already written close to 100 songs in just a year or two. He said he'd been writing for 10 years and didn't have 100 songs. After hearing a few of my songs he said they were catchy and powerful and that I was really onto something. This was what I was meant to do. Within a few years I had hundreds of songs. Now I just needed somewhere to play them.
|At Manhattans' Bistro|
|At the River Run Centre|
When I moved to Guelph, I heard about a bar with an open stage every Monday night, Manhattans. I hadn't performed my original songs up on a stage before and I was terrified. People were very supportive. Particularly one dark-haired smiling guy standing by the bar who raised his arms and exclaimed "I'm your biggest fan!" A fellow songwriter and a fellow Taurus, Kev would become my boyfriend for the next four years. He was awesome. A bit of a mentor to me in some ways. He believed in me and helped me to believe in myself. He introduced me to "The Secret" -- The Law of Attraction. I began to think positive and started to attract positive things. I realized that the "bad luck" that I seemed to have for much of my life was largely self-inflicted. My negativity actually attracted the very things I feared. If I could just learn to be positive, I could attract good things for a change. It worked. Magic started to happen. After years of not acting, I wound up with a role in a film and got to see myself on the big screen for the first time. I got to show and sell my artwork, had my photography featured and with Kev's help created a CD which received rave reviews in the paper, ended up on the radio, in newspapers. It was a whirlwind.
|At the gates of Graceland, Memphis|
Kev offered to produce a CD of my songs. They were my original songs and I provided the vocals and backing vocals. He added everything else -- a one man band and studio whiz -- he created all the instrumentation, did all the mixing and mastering. It was called "Magnetic", and featured songs inspired by the Secret. (If you're interested it's still available on CDBaby -- see link at the side of the page!) It was a long difficult road to bring it to fruition but finally in 2008, it was finished. The CD release party was incredible. The band was phenomenal thanks to Kev who brought together some of the best local musicians. He also had colourful lights set up, a great sound system. It was a dream come true. I felt like a rock star. I wished I could keep the band but they each had their own bands and projects, it was just for that one night that they came together for us.
|Magnetic CD Release party -- photo by J Harvey|
Kev & I had always been a bit of a rollercoaster. Too alike in some ways, too different in others and both stubborn Tauruses who needed to be in control and to be right. Two bulls can lock horns pretty often. It didn't seem like we would last in the long run. As much as I wanted it to work (we'd already invested so many years into it), I couldn't see a future for us. I asked the Universe for a sign and got one. It was time to move on. It was difficult saying goodbye not only to Kevin but to his kids who I loved very much (funny how I'd always said I didn't want kids but I ended up in a relationship with someone who had children and I ADORED them. They were awesome. Brilliant and funny. We had so many good times together.) It broke my heart to say goodbye but I knew it was for the best. It seemed we were heading in different directions. I had reached a fork in the road and knew it was time to make a change. To follow a different path. Leaving Kev of course also meant getting kicked out of the band. I stopped going to the bars and stages we used to frequent in case I ran into him and his friends there. It was like saying goodbye to the musical part of my life. I stopped performing in public at all.