Stay-At-Home Cabaret Singer Spills All
Updated: Apr 15
Welcome Dear Ones!
I've been intending to start this blog for years; long before the pandemic struck, but have always found the perfect excuse of "not having enough time. Now there's time, but truly time wasn't the issue before. The truth is that I was afraid to show my vulnerabilities; to appear less than professional. Which is ironic, because as performer, I deliberately expose my vulnerabilities. I deliberately delve into my deepest memories and emotions and bring them forth to connect with my audience. I want to transport people; to let people to know that they're not alone with their feelings; that others feel this way, too. If I can do this, then I feel like I've done a good job. For me, being vulnerable is the benchmark of a successful performance. But really, in that context, it's controlled. You know where you need to go, and you allow yourself to get there, but the vulnerability is wrapped in a lyric, delivered by a character. It's not like personally admitting, "Hey I'm not as together professionally as you think I am". I tend to keep those kind of admissions at bay.
Many artists will tell you that they're afraid of people discovering they're an imposter. Well, count me in on that. I know I'm good at what I do, but I also know what I don't do at all, and it's those deficiencies that leave me feeling like a fake. I don't like that feeling, so I'm going to kill it right here and now, by telling you the truth. I'm an actor who sings, but I am not a musician. I'm a trained singer, but I don't read music. I sing by ear. I don't write music. I interpret it. I'm a storyteller through song. Some of you are probably going, "So?" Well, it's a hard thing to admit when everyone in the music world these days seems to be a multi-instrumentalist, or a singer/songwriter. It's a hard thing to admit to your audience. My fear is that people will suddenly see me as an amateur, or unworthy. It's a hard thing to admit when you want to collaborate with musicians who are at the top of their game and have them take you seriously. It's a hard thing to admit when you want people to see you as a peer. I know it's ridiculous, because I have so many other skills and talents and abilities, but it is my Achille's heel. We all want to be seen and heard and appreciated; to feel significant and that's the other thing... I hadn't yet achieved the career success that I had dreamed of so many years ago, when I first started this journey.
The truth is that I was afraid of success. I was afraid that having a successful performance career would mean being apart from my family; or deciding between career, or family. My family is my foundation and my strength and my well-spring. My family is my non-negotiable priority. There was a time I wouldn't have uttered such a thing, because I thought I'd be perceived as weak, or reliant, or dependent --and I am fiercely independent in so many ways-- but, it is the honest truth. --If there's one thing we all can recognize in these times, it's how dependent we are on one another. We need our families, whether they're the ones we're born into, or the ones we've created for ourselves. There's no shame in stating that fact. And at the heart of the matter is love. That's what life is all about: giving and receiving love. In the midst of this pandemic, we can all appreciate that fact.--
After a hiatus from performing, I created an autobiographical cabaret show, which I named "Diva Interrupted". In it, I joked that I was a stay-at-home cabaret singer --Which I guess is now a thing! -- but instead of riding the crest of the success of that show -- which could have easily toured -- I chose to concentrate on recording, as a means of achieving legitimacy for my work, while allowing me time to raise my children and focus on the special needs of my family. To others it may have seemed like I quit, or downgraded my career from job to jobby
-- One person actually said to me "It's nice that you have your music as a hobby"! -- But to me, it felt good to be creating something beyond an ephemeral performance. True, I wasn't performing, but I was working on developing all the ideas in my head. I began storing up material and developing concepts. I was rehearsing and having arrangements created for various projects. And I was learning to become a producer and an entrepreneur building a business and a brand called "Home And Yonder".
The first project H&Y unveiled was "Winter Was Warm: Swingin' & Sentimental Songs of the Season". I am incredibly proud of this recording, which set me on a wonderful new path and made me feel like I had finally arrived at the party. Though I intended to follow up with a quick Valentine's EP, the ideas grew and grew and five years later have turned into what I consider my absolute best work to date: two separate projects featuring music from the ArtDeco Era. One is a 16 song concept album. The other 16 songs are earmarked to be part of an historical dramatic narrative podcast with music.
Last autumn, both projects were being mastered for a 2020 release to coincide with the 100 year anniversary of the Roaring Twenties, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
( For more about this, read here or watch here ). Thankfully, I can report that my surgeries were successful in removing the disease. I feel good, I am healthy and strong and not immune compromised, but as a preventative insurance against any recurrence, I am in the midst of radiation therapy in the midst of a pandemic, which makes for even stranger times!
Which brings us up to now. I must say, if anything, I am filled with a greater imperative to share my story and my work and to create and connect even more! So, this is the start of my blog; it may be an imperfect, work-in-progress, but after all this time, I'm OK with that and happy to share the journey with you, just as I am.
Be well! Take good care! Bon courage!
P.S.) Since this is all new to me, could you please give me a "shout out" in the comments below so I can be certain this is making it's way to you? Thanks so much!