How it's all happening one song at a time.
I decided to blog outside of the house this morning. I'm digging the Coffee Bean vibe down the street from my place, and I could also tell due to the tiredness of my being that if I sat on my couch I would be much more apt to turn on the TV than blog. Naughty! I'm actually really glad that I'm tired. I feel like it proves to myself that I'm working hard. I always feel like I could be working harder and I have about a million things that I want/need to do - but I'm pretty much taking it one day at a time, and that seems to be working well.
Last night wast really special. As I was getting ready to go to the Gardenia for the Open Mic, I realized how excited I was. How much I want this. I started having thoughts like, "This is the beginning of the rest of your life! Sing like you are never going to sing again, blah blah blah." I was getting amped. The point is, that I LOVE the cabaret setting. And I LOVE telling stories and singing songs. I most definitely do. At this point I don't love playing my own songs with guitar as much - basically because I'm not comfortable with that. And to be honest, I'm not sure if the guitar is an instrument that was meant to be in my hands. I like expressing myself with my hands! I like them to be free. But I also know that I am the kind of person who will back away from something that is difficult - for fear of looking bad and basically because it requires hard work. Not this time. I'm going to learn how to play that damn thing. I am! But I'm just writing a note to self, that if someone said to me "Would you rather do an acoustic show of your own songs or a Cabaret show with a piano player, maybe with a few arranged tunes of your own thrown in?" You better believe I would chose the Cabaret one.
The point is, I'm going to get a chance to do BOTH!!! ( more on that later)
The Gardenia is a beautiful relic of old Hollywood. I imagine that back in the Rat Pack's heyday there were tons of little supper/jazz clubs like this one - with a band and a singer. the room was a light pink - with intimate little tables lining the mirror covered walls. The lighting was dim and the room was filled with old friends who I believed had been singing and writing songs and telling stories for years and years in that room. This was their place - their home - their room to come together and remember the good ole days. There were younger singers there as well, but this was definitely a club. A club of people who don't just remember Frank Sinatra records, they remember being friends with him!
I did not feel as if I fit in right away, but I was excited to sing, that's for damn sure. The president of Cabaret West, Les Traub, introduced me to the fabulous Keri Kelsey the host, the owner of the room, and many other luminaries. Musical theater writers, old Broadway performers, etc. My brother Jesse entered the room with his rag-tag band of film school friends in tow. They were automatically awkward and then completely intrigued in an artistic way. Jesse said with a huge grin: "I feel like I'm in a Woody Allen movie!"
Two favorite performers that night. Effie Joy - who I could tell had been around the block many times and lived to tell an AMAZING tale - got up and sang a heartfelt, subtly heartbreaking version of this song: "But Beautiful." It brought me to tears. Here is a video of her singing "My Foolish Heart."I talked with her afterwards and she said she was a songwriter and would sing me one of hers next time! Later in the night, a composer named Ray Jessel played his own tune about the good ole days called "Whatever happened to Melody". It is truly one of the most touching performances I've ever seen. Ray has been a writer/composer/producer for the last 50 years or so - writing for Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Durante, Sammy Davis Jr., and Vikki Carr, etc. His song was a beautiful ditty about the simpler days of Hollywood when glamor was glamor and romance was romance and melody was melody. Oh my gosh. I will never forget it.
I was 17th on the list. I felt like a special guest, because the room was buzzing about this new girl named Fran from Boston who studied with Amanda McBroom in Tuscany! I got up and said a few words. I almost was moved to tears because it was only about 2 months ago when I was just thinking about maybe changing my life around and becoming a professional singer - Amanda said something like, "You should sing at the Gardenia in Hollywood." And there I was. Singing at the Gardenia in Hollywood. It's really an amazing feeling when you feel your dreams and your imagined scenarios coming true. I sang "Blue" by Joni Mitchell.
This is a really short clip Jesse took:
I think it was pretty good. The room seemed to enjoy it. Afterwards, Les said to me, "So you are great! You definitely need to do a show here. Just let me know, and I'll book it. " So there you have it. That is how I booked my own cabaret show in LA. The only problem to solve now is writing it, getting the arrangements, hiring a piano player, etc. But from the way things are going - God is providing the way and the talent and the right people all over the place. I just have to keep my eyes and heart open on a daily basis and it is going to come together!
So I'm talking to the booking agent for Genghis Cohen today about a show of my own stuff - and I'm putting the wheels in motion for my own cabaret act. So there you have it.
I'm at a loss. Sometimes I think I'm exhausted by the pure reaction of the universe to me believing my dreams can come true. It is an overwhelming energy! If there is ANYTHING I'm learning in this process it's that If you believe you can't, you can't. And if you believe you can, you can. The universe will agree with you. It is as simple as changing that belief, despite your outside conditions, despite what your perceived roadblocks are, if you believe you can, you can. That is literally all God, or the universe, or whatever you believe in is waiting for. FAITH. Faith does not allow any room for 'buts' - there is not 'but' in a faith driven path. You just say, Ok, I believe that this is going to happen, so it is. And then the circumstances and the help and the details fall into place along the way. I am seriously experiencing this. And I know I'm not a preacher and I'm not by any means the cream of the crop or a huge star - but I am someone who dared to believe that I deserved what my heart desired. And I know it sounds cheesy - but SO DO YOU! You deserve to live out your greatest, most ridiculous, most wonderful dream! God actually wants that for you. Hell, he prolly put the idea in your head in the first place!
Ok, I'm done preaching.
I'm embarrassed now. But who cares!
So - I'm almost done with my vanilla nonfat latte - not as good as Starbucks. Old habits die hard. I'm off to buy a frying pan so I can continue making Julia Child's omelets for lunch.
Here is my song and quote for the day:
Whatever Happened to Melody - Ray Jessel
"Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it. " Goethe