Thursday, October 29, 2009
80'S ROCK + FEAR CONQUERING
So I got an email from my fabulous agent last Friday asking how I feel about my singing voice. I am immediately giddy. What oh what is in store for me today? I scroll excitedly down the page and find a link for an audition breakdown. This is what I found:
“In 1987 on the Sunset strip, a small town girl met a big city rocker and in L.A.'s most famous rock club, they fell in love to the greatest songs of the 80's. It's Rock of Ages, an arena rock love story told through the mind-blowing, face-melting hits of JOURNEY, NIGHT RANGER, STYX, REO SPEEDWAGON, PAT BENATAR, TWISTED SISTER, POISON, ASIA, WHITESNAKE and many more.”
If The Baji is reading this she’s probably chuckling at the Twisted Sister reference since I was totally in love with them when I was like, eight years old. Which, needless to say, made her very concerned about my future. But I mean, ‘face-melting?’ Journey??? I knew right then and there I HAD to do it. Who cares if I don’t know how to read sheet music and I’m nowhere near the ‘belting’ range of singing? Fuck it. I’m game. Time to pick my tune. After eliminating Ms. Benatar and REO Speedwagon from my list (no way in hell my voice is getting that high right now), I decide on Asia – Heat of the Moment. It’s in my range, so I figure I’m good.
Today, I entered into a world unknown- the world of Musical Theatre. As soon as I step into the massive auditorium, I realize that these are not my people. There they are belting their heads off, doing that musical theatre face thing, complete with a full range of complimentary arm movements. It’s cool, seriously. I came here to make a stand. I came to conquer my fears and challenge myself. To be brave and courageous. Yes, it’s true. All of the above. What I didn’t bargain for was the self-inflicted ego bruising. When my group is called to the secondary waiting area, outside the audition room, I learn that we must sing acappella. I also learn that from outside, you can hear the people auditioning clear.as.day. Um yeah, hi. What exactly have I gotten myself into over here?
One by one these fabulously trained and talented singers do their thing. They all sound amazing. Perfect, clear, strong. I am overwhelmed by the urge to excuse myself. These people have worked hard and auditioned hard for these kinds of shows. And me? I’m just here for the challenge, end of story. I had no illusions about this day- I knew I didn’t have a chance in hell of ‘getting’ a part. I thought it would be fun. I’m facing my fears and moving forward! But I start to feel like I’m being disrespectful in a way. Like I’m cheapening this process somehow. Ugh. Here goes my inner dialogue. Why must I always fight with myself? In the end I decide to announce to the girl beside me that I’ve never done this before. Y’know, just thought it would be a good experience. She tells me my song choice is different and therefore ‘refreshing’, and that I should just go in there and ‘sell it!’ Her enthusiastic response made me feel less like a loser and helped my proverbial ‘balls’ to re-inflate.
I guess I was into announcing, ‘cuz I walked into the audition room and announced “and now for something completely different”. Yes, I did. Thankfully, the woman chuckled and said she loves different. I think to myself, ‘Lady, you have no idea.’ I proceed to do my best 80’s rock performance, after which she smiles and takes a moment to peruse my resume. As expected, she inquires about my extensive dance background. ‘So you’re mainly a ballet dancer?’ I laugh inside and then give her the rundown. She asks me to sing again. I oblige. While I’m singing I notice that she’s staring at my throat. Like, the INSIDE of my throat. What is she looking for? My freakin’ breakfast?? I felt violated. Ok, maybe that’s a tad dramatic, but it was strange and slightly disturbing. I guess she was trying to determine my vocal ability through some kind of tracheal examination?
Anyhow, I finish and guess what she says?! “You can sing”. That’s right, folks. Ayesha.Can.Sing. Of course, she followed that with a ‘BUT’ which was followed by ‘we need belter’s for this show’ followed by yet another ‘BUT’ and then, ‘I’m going to give you a purple ticket to sing for the casting director anyway because you’re a dancer who CAN SING.’ Now, this may not seem like a big deal to you, but to me, it was more than I could ever ask for. Yeah, I can’t belt out a show tune, no surprises there. But I never thought I would hear the words ‘you can sing’. Doesn’t matter that I chose to leave instead of waiting another hour to proceed to the next step, or that I have zero interest in auditioning as a dancer (c’mon, at this point, I’d probably break something). Nope. I got what I needed. Validation.
You can cry now.