I have a pretty bad memory. I know that’s funny coming from a professional musician who’s life revolves around remembering lyrics and chords, but it’s very true. I have never been one to fully, correctly remember memories. Normally, I’ll forget a thing or two, or just not remember it at all. Yet, I remember the first time I knew I wanted to be on stage.
It was Spring and I was six years old and ready to try out for my first play ever. My school was doing some sort of Mother Goose play that was filled with countless parts for every boy and girl. We had Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Jack and the Bean Stalk, and many more, but the one character every little girl wanted to be was Cinderella. Cinderella had the most lines, one solo line in a song, and she got to wear a gown and hold hands with a prince. I NEEDED to be this character.
Come time to audition, you just had to sing part of a song and read a few lines. My tiny self belted the best I could (I say In My Own Little Corner) and read in a very dramatic voice. I, personally, thought I nailed the audition, and now all I had to do was wait a week to hear what part I would get. I would tell my parents every day how I NEEDED to be Cinderella, or at least a princess, so I could wear a pretty dress and have a cool roll to play. Little did I know, I wouldn’t be Cinderella. In fact, I wouldn’t be a princess at all.
A week past and it was finally time to see what part we all got, and boy was my grade buzzing with rumors of who was playing who. We didn’t get confirmation until the very end of the school day when our homeroom teacher passed out papers with everyone’s roll on it. My little hands shook as I tried to read as fast as I could, scanning through the names at lightning speed. My heart sank as I read a different name than my own under “Cinderella” but that’s OKAY! Maybe I got Rapunzel? Snow White? When my eyes finally landed on my name, I let out a small sigh and slowly folded up my paper. Of course my friends were cheering as they found out their rolls. My best friend was Mother Goose herself, another was Rapunzel, and list went on as all my friends and classmates got speaking rolls. I was happy for them, truly, but I just wanted to go home and cry a little. Which I did. I was dramatic.
After getting off the bus, I ran as fast as I could home. I swung open the front door and started crying as hard as my little body would let me. My mom and dad heard, and being the great parents that they are, ran to my side to see what was wrong. I just held up the sheet of names to my mom and turned my head down, too ashamed to look them in the eye. I was in fact the family failure now. I knew I would need to pack up my things and move away to Canada or maybe Disney World. Instead, my mom laughed and said, “What’s wrong with this?! Katie, you’re singing a whole song by yourself! Good job!” My eyes shot up, confusion on my face. Apparently, I was saying small speaking rolls with the rest of the ensemble but my music teacher wanted me to sing the big song at the end…all on my own. I was floored. Sing? I don’t sing?
Maybe in the shower and I could kill some Backstreet Boys, but that’s really it. Thus, my musical discovery began.
The next two months were spent with me getting lessons from my music teacher, and trying my best to learn the main song. It was a lot of work for a six year old, but I was determined to make my family proud and not move to Canada out of shame. When the show finally rolled around, I was struck with the worst luck. A. Huge. Cold. I was coughing and sneezing like crazy, I felt defeated, but my dad gave me some great advice. He said, I could either back down and sit in the crowd, or I could stand up and give it my all. So, I did. In my little red shirt, frizzy blonde hair, and a huge cough, I sang my six year old heart out. I coughed out loud, sang way too loud into a overly hot mic (still do that), sneezed on stage, and I freakin loved every minute of it. I loved making people laugh when I coughed not so carefully to the side, and I loved hearing the claps and whistles when I was done, but I especially loved seeing how proud my parents were when I got off that stage.
To this day, I love making people laugh, cry, connect, just making people feel welcome; feel human. I love writing songs about my past, present, and future, but I never get over that feeling of making my parents proud, and making MYSELF feel like I can do anything. Just like the song says, “It doesn’t take a shooting star to make your dreams come true. It only takes a willingness that’s there inside of you.”
See? I remember some things.
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