Tag Archives: singing

Soul Sister

I’ll set the scene.

The 4-foot long windowsill in the spare bedroom of my childhood house.

dance

Me, in all my 6-year-old crimped hair glory, dressed in either my dance recital outfit or a “Get In Shape Girl” leotard complete with leg warmers, bangle bracelets and my own personal touch—two foam balls shoved into my shirt to emulate cleavage, a practice I may or may not still employ today.

“I know you like what you see.”

An enormously bulky boom box was situated in the corner. After visualizing my upcoming performance, I would adjust my jelly sandals and run to it, hitting “play” before quickly sprinting back to the stage mark on the windowsill before the music started.

“And if you want more, if you want more, more, more, more.”

When it did, I would brandish my “Barbie & the Rockers” microphone and launch into what I can only assume was a Star Search worthy rendition of “Jump (For My Love,)” waiting for that chorus so I could literally jump off the windowsill for dramatic effect.

“Jump, I know my heart can make you happy.”

These concerts went on for quite some time, and I must have been rather impressive for my mom relented and took me to see the Pointer Sisters live. While I had no idea what exactly a “Neutron Dance” was—and come to think of it, still don’t to this day—I did just that on the chairs throughout the whole concert.

“When you are next to me, oh I come alive.”

I’ve since been told that my mom’s greatest fear wasn’t that I would fall through the collapsible chairs I was dancing on, but rather that the smell of pot wafting through the air—thick enough to give a contact buzz to half the crowd at Woodstock—would linger in my hair for weeks.

However, I would like to think that it was my Day-Glo Swatch watch and a chronic love of the music, not second-hand chronic itself, that fueled my Pointer passion.

“Jump, jump for my love.”

Regardless, it was simply a warm-up for my second act years later, one that would include switching from jumping (for my love) to lip syncing Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love” in the front yard for only 25 cents a ticket.

Hey, times were tight in the ’80s and a diva needs her bangles—and foam balls.

Some things never change.

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Destiny Takes a Detour

When I was seven or eight, I heard my life’s calling, and it came in the form of a show tune.

broadway-street-sign

My parents had gone to see Les Miserables and I got the first taste of my destiny—to be on stage, to sing, to perform—to be a star. I played that tape over and over, memorizing every word to every song. While I was too young to know the story, it didn’t stop me from rollerblading dramatically around the driveway to the songs or performing solos on our deck to flowerpots and pets. 

I was destined to be a star, and it’s not like I didn’t have experience.

When I was four, I had to be dragged off the stage after a breathtaking tap/ballet performance. Then there were the dozens of living room concerts, foam balls stuffed in my shirt for fake boobs and a gaggle of bangles adorning my wrists. I would shimmy and shake down the staircase, emulating Mariah Carey or Barbie and the Rockers in what could only be described as an exact approximation of their talents.

The years saw me hand jive through “Grease” and sing for my “Rent” of “Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes."  I’m not sure what happened, but somehow the use of my musical talents became restricted to years of piano lessons and leading cheers in the dugout of softball games.

I can only assume that this town just wasn’t ready for my unique talents.

As an adult I’ve seen a few shows locally—Les Miserables a couple of times, of course—and a trip to New York afforded me the opportunity to see my first Broadway show—“In the Heights.” I left in awe, reminded of the life I could have led.

(And hearing show tunes still gets me singing and dancing around the same way that watching Jackie Chan movies gets me karate chopping my way through the house.)

But apparently being able to sing well is a prerequisite for starring in musicals, and unfortunately, things always sound much better in my head and living room than they do when presented to an external audience—say, people at the grocery store watching me sing “Summer Nights” to the summer squash.

I suppose sometimes destiny takes a detour.

(insert dramatic sigh)

Lesson learned.

This post is in response to the RemembeRED prompt:

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Write a post that either starts or ends with the words "Lesson learned." Word limit: 400 words.