Friday, April 1, 2011

On the Surface of Dreams: A Very Serious Matter

Dreams: A Very Serious Matter
Success is not something that comes over night. Strength is not something you just awaken one morning with. It is something you have to work at to become better. No matter how easy it might seem, there is a background to every story. There is no reaching point B without starting at point A. Some thing brought you down the corridor to get to where you are. And despite how far you think you have not gotten, you are on the next stage of being in that very place.
The dreams that people hold are a very serious matter. Sometimes it is the only thing they desire. And often, it is the making and breaking point of the person. Pushing the envelope a little bit is all about opening up and letting a little more of the uniqueness within be without the shield and protection that your skin provides. There is a different way of thinking that accompanies individuality. You are no longer following the standard; you are creating your own. The plan is no longer laid out for you. You architect your own plan for the temple that you are moving forward to create.
I remember when I was first invited to an open mic. My experiences signing had always been at church or in my basement where I would sing to the audience of my four walls for hours and hours at the top of my lungs. I love to sing so any opportunity was a blessing to me whether it was on stage or in the shower. MY friend had been hosting this event and so I went and my name was called. I never felt more nervous in my entire life. I shook from the moment I got on the stage until the moment I got off it as if I had the Shingles. I started singing this song by the artist Monica. I arrived at the bridge of the song and hit the wrong note. Instead of trying to finish the song, I ran off the stage and never walked back into the room. It was so embarrassing that I swore to myself that I would never sing ever again.
Try & Try Again
When you’re thirsty for more, there is nothing that can stop you from trying to grab hold of the more that you’ve been seeking. If it is readily available to you, cool!  But if it is not, don’t hesitate to put your best foot forward to try to make it happen for yourself. Life is all about trying, failing, and getting up and trying again. If we do not succeed the first time, there is nothing wrong with trying again because when we don’t try, we’ve already failed ourselves and not allowed for the success that could happen, happen. Your values change. You start disregarding the he say, she say and remember that God said to not bury your talents if you want to be ruler over many things.

It is said that elements are the necessary things of the earth. The elements of an individual include who you are and what you are.  If you are a singer, then sing as if you were Leontyne Price singing at Lincoln Center before a crowd of 1,000 people. The video of this fabulous performance is available at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Presents: New York Philharmonic: Zubin Mehta & Leontyne Price [VHS]. If you are a dancer, dance as if dancing were your only means of survival. Your element is what makes you who you are, so don’t be afraid to show the world your true beauty.
Setting a goal is about adding a little bit more of yourself into the things that you do make each situation more suitable to the person you are and are becoming. It is about setting up the environment for the future you that you are laying down the foundation for and building. Each victory is a stepping stone. Whether it was a passing event or a failing event, it was an event that made you stronger to attempt the trial again. If it is a pass, good. But if it is not, get up off your face and edit yourself for the next shot.
My Dangerous Edge
Who would have thought that a person like me could become so afraid of doing that very thing I love to do the most?  But if you love something that much, nothing can keep you from doing it. And so, I tried it again and again and again. I am a singer with a good voice and couldn’t see myself not singing.
A dangerous edge is an edge that seems out of the pocket. If you have a gift and are afraid to use it but find the guts to get out there and share it with the world, you have a dangerous edge. You can do anything because no mountain that stands before you can keep your from reaching your goal. You go for it despite the odds.
But it becomes dangerous when that is all you want to do. It is almost like reckless driving. You are so adamant about getting behind the wheel even when intoxicated only to expose yourself and others to unnecessary accidents that could have been avoided.  I have to admit, it has been an adventure. Even to the point that I started to hate myself for not getting to the point B that I wanted to C.
Catch the Feeling
So what comes next? Yesterday’s today’s tomorrow has come and gone. Stop dwelling in the hurts of the timeless motifs which seem to only digress you in the future. Here’s a fresh idea. Challenge yourself to take shots and have a positive tone about the things you strive for. Jump outside to the total plane and get your feet wet. Do something that is not on the curriculum and take risks. Practice your craft as often as you can and never stop trying to improve yourself so you can become better grounded. Break the circle of experience and grow by learning.
I started practicing as if I were in school. I listened to all kinds of music, did scales, studied theory and so forth. Some of the artists I love to listen to the most are Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Mariah Carey, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Recently, many more have been added to my collection. I believe listening to artists who can really sing is the best thing any singer can do to improve him or herself. I learned so much that I was able to teach others and still often do it now privately or with groups.
The more I listened, the more my ear widened to add bits and pieces of me into what I was doing even when covering another artist’s song. That’s how I found my spirit of adventure. It is about getting out there and doing something about it. It is about being comfortable with who you are and stepping out. It is about being as comfortable in your own skin as Molly Ivins was when she would do her funny video segments on the McNeil Lehrer New Hour, or wherever she would go. It does however become a little dangerous because like a baby learning to walk, they stumble. I stumble. But to get to point B, you must start at point A. And so, though I might not be the Stephanie I want to see when she is me, I know that she will be the promise that has flashed before me; the better version is on her way.
A Flash of Promise
Don’t worry about how long it is taking. It is tiring to watch someone constantly looking at their watch as if the one billion seconds plus, they had the opportunity to breathe was not in their favor. The time sequence is the time that your season opens. Everything has its own time and season so patience is the most important thing to possess when reaching for your goal. The more patience you have, the more likely you are to stay strong and fight for the things you want the most. Showing your true love of yourself b y doing the things that you love to do whether it be singing, writing, dancing, playing softball, building websites, or making crafts. If it is in you, do it and be that adventurous person that you were destined to become.
I would get a bit discouraged seeing all my friends doing things musically. But then a few things happened. I started entering contests and going out there to share my talent. I started meeting people and eventually, was invited to perform in my first band.  I have been blessed in so many ways that it would be hard to say that all my trials were not worth it. I work with some great artists and have seen stages that I never imagined my eyes would see. In so many ways, I aspire to get further and I know if it is in God’s plan for me, that day will come.
On the Surface
On the surface, I always seem fine. I get up like normal people and get through the day doing the things that normal people do. I work, I go to school, I do homework, I have a social life, and I have hobbies that I enjoy. But a few odd things happen to me in the course of my life. The energy of music seems to move through my body and I will either start singing a tune when I am not in a normal place I’m talking walking down the street or sitting on the train. It is not something I try to do. It just erupts like Mt Vesuvius and I do not know how to control it. It just happens. The other; I can be sitting comfortably doing my work and then suddenly tears roll down my face with the thought, “I want to sing.” 
Are my trains of thought abnormal?  Does the fact that in music history, the Grammy song of the year for the year I was born was Fleetwoood Mack’s, “Songbird” which was featured on their Grammy album of the year of the same year, "Rumours" have any significance with who I am today? Is singing all that I have in me? What about the times when I put singing in front of those that I loved and made them see me with an unusual point of view? Will singing cause me to make the same mistakes over and over again?  As amusing and inventive as all these questions are, I have never wanted to do anything more in life than sing. It’s who I am and what I am: a singer. 
Check out my myspace page at www.myspace.com/melodiaz where you can check out some of my original songs. I also have a youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/sj1and0?feature=mhum where you can see live footage of some of the performances I did with various bands around the tri-state area.

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