Monday, January 30, 2017

No Comfort Zone for me in 2017!

So I believe this will be a year of me living outside of my comfort zone. I've been singing since I was a little girl of about 9 or 10 years old and have been singing professionally for over 20 years, yet in just the first month of this brand new year I have found myself way outside of my comfort zone during my second gig of 2017. I had the pleasure of stepping into the shoes of my friend and colleague Marlene Hill to perform in the Swinging at the Cotton Club Show. To say I was nervous would be a grave understatement. All week long heading up to the performance on 28 January I was practicing the seven songs I'd be singing during the just shy of two hour show. I sing loads of genres during the many shows I perform each year including Soul, Motown, Jazz, Blues, Classic Rock and Funk with the occasional Pop song thrown in to show I'm current. However, singing in the style of those famed Cotton Club shows is a bit of a stretch for me. Out of the list of songs I was given to learn for the show, I only knew two already, God Bless the Child and Can't Help Lovin' That Man, and had at least heard of a third one, Stormy Weather.

The January performance would be my 2nd with this company having depped for Marlene just over a year ago. With that only being a one-off show, I didn't feel the pressure I'm feeling now having to cover six shows in the span of two weeks. The cracks were showing a bit during the first half of Saturday's show and I'm choosing to blame that on the difficulty I was having hearing myself. Struggling to hear myself against an amazing eight-piece orchestra added to trying to remember cues and how the songs actually go, was definitely all the building blocks of discomfort, but I got through.

During the break, I had a bit of a pep talk with myself and remembered that this was only music and performing is what I live and breathe for so I allowed myself to relax and enjoy myself during the second half. What a difference remembering the pleasure of what I get to do night after night as a profession made.

As I young person my dream was always to be able to do music for my living and not have to get up to an alarm clock in the morning. And I am living proof that dreams do come true.

So I've got five more Cotton Club shows starting 2 February in theatres that zigzag the country. I need to be off book and have my lyrics in my head by Thursday and I'm about 70% there. So, there's still a bit of work to be done to be ready, plus there's the issue of changing the key for Stormy Weather. Marlene beautifully sings this song in a pretty high key, and I struggled. So the band leader is checking to see if they have the arrangement in a lower key. If not, we might have to switch this one out to something else. I hope we can keep the song in because musically it is a great moment in the show. I'll keep you posted on this one.

My discomfort won't be ending after my run in the Cotton Club shows. I have also booked myself for a James Bond Themed charity event later in the year and I have never in my life sung any of these iconic songs like Goldfinger, Skyfall, etc. I only have to include five or six Bond songs, but how in the world do you choose which ones? Luckily I came across an article today, 23 Best and Worst Bond Theme Songs. That's a lot of material to sift through to find the best tunes, so thankfully it's been done for me here. Obviously, I have to include the Bassey classics, Diamonds Are Forever and Goldfinger. Then there's Tina Turner's Golden Eye and Gladys Knight's License to Kill. Another great one to include in my set would be Nobody Does it Better by Carly Simon and Live & Let Die by Paul McCartney.

So that leaves one more song and this is where the choice gets difficult. Should I include Skyfall? Do you have any suggestions?

Yes, 2017 is the year of being outside of my comfort zone, and though it feels intense and scary, I like it out here.

I welcome your Bond theme song suggestions ... please help!!

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