I guess I haven’t really mentioned much about this before, but one of the best things in my life is my relationship to little old live-music. I don’t mean the big arena, pyrotechnics, 20,000 people type of live music (although Prince the other week was pretty friggin sweet), I mean small, intimate, local venues, small stage (or no stage), local talent, and most importantly – seeing friends play.
You see, sometimes life can feel so sedentary, or sometimes you just get so tired of thinking about all the things that are wrong, or it all seems boring, or frustrating or annoying. Sometimes you don’t want to fight against anything or be inside your own head anymore and you’re looking for some sort of fix. Something to wake you up. Something to appreciate purely for the pleasure of appreciating. Something beautiful. Sometimes you’re looking for soul food.
For me, this means going to watch friends play music.
See, once upon a time I was a very little girl who had picked up her first microphone before she could really walk properly. Okay, so the microphone was a hairbrush, but stay with me people. I was obsessed with singing. I learned every word to every song I came into contact with. I staged concerts for poor, long-suffering friends (often just a singing monologue while in the backseat of a moving vehicle – a trapped audience is, literally a captive audience) and often I was asked if it would be possible for me to not walk around singing the songs to every advertisement on TV, all day long.
Anyway. My biggest dream was to be taken seriously. But not in a big, get famous, over the top sort of way. I mostly just wanted to be listened to. I thought that if only someone, somewhere, could appreciate just once, for one little second, that I really, really could sing, then I could die a happy woman.
So one day, 16 years or so into the life of me, somebody did notice and believe I could sing and they found me a vocal coach and for the first time in my life I had someone who once a week, would sit down with me and listen to me sing and talk to me about it all with the seriousness that I used to sing Whitney Houston songs.
And after a few years of this I started to dream a little bigger. I thought to myself, if only, if only, somebody, somewhere thought I was a good enough singer that they would actually let me inside a recording booth and actually record a song, then oh my dear god, could I die a happy woman. I wanted to wear those vocal-booth headphones so flippin badly.
And then one day, somebody did think I was ready to record and they let me inside the booth and they spent eight hours actually putting my voice on tape and layering my harmonies and giving me support and attention, and oh my dear lord was I in heaven.
After a few years, I started making bits and pieces of money from this and then, many vocal booths later, I moved to another city and started making friends with all sorts of amazing musicians. And they would actually talk to me and everything. And one day it came to be that some of them actually wanted me to be in live bands with them and sing on stage with them in front of a live audience and EVERYTHING.
And so it was. And now, a few years later, singing in bands and being around musicians and watching or playing live music is a part of my life in an integral, embedded take it for granted kind of way. ie: I can still barely believe it.
And so you can see now, that when I go to watch my friends play music, the joy I get from it, the reason it’s my soul food, is due to an amalgamation of being in total wonder that I have such talented friends, of my brain’s reward centres overflowing with the dopamine that rode in on the music, and of the three year old in me, with a hairbrush as a microphone, feeling that just by sitting in that humble room, she has somehow hit the big-time.
I really think I did.