I can see why people give up.

The words have echoed so many times in my head I can’t stand to hear them anymore. 

“It would be so easy to just stop.”

Just give up. Just let it go.  Accept defeat.  Accept that maybe you’re just not cut out for the life that you’ve always dreamed of. Look, you’re thirty one years old and you’re still nowhere near where you want to be in life. Sure, you’ve got some things accomplished, but is that enough? Are you really going to continue to try and climb this hill when you just keep sliding back down (and hitting rocks and branches along the way)?  Just give up.

Maybe in order to make it in this business you have to sort of like pain. Not that I enjoy pain! I certainly don’t!  But I’ve lived with enough of it to become quite acquainted with it. To expect it. To wonder where it is when it isn’t around.

Sounds unhealthy.

Anyway, I can see why people give up. There are so many distractions in life. So many good and bad things that can pull you away from your main focus. 

And it’s hard!

You’re constantly comparing yourself to others who are where you want to be and you’re constantly wondering if your efforts will be fruitless.  There are people who are just waiting to claw at you and pull you back down when you even get a little bit ahead. Nitpicking at your appearance, your sound, your accomplishments. Making you question your own work.  Usually it gives me fuel. When someone tells me I can’t do something it makes me want to do it even more.  But after awhile of being in the ring, you get tired. You need that hype man, you need that encouragement to keep going.  Stay on your feet. Keep your eyes open. Don’t drop your guard.

The problem is you won’t always have that hype man. You won’t always have your friends and family around when you fall to tell you that you can get back up and stay in the fight.  They intend to be, sure! But sometimes they just can’t be. Sometimes you have them, but 100% of the time it will come down to you.

And God.

Personally, I have to constantly remind myself through prayer and scripture that God is still with me. 

Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Gen. 18:15

Yet another thing that would just be so easy.  Just throw up your hands at God and tell Him that He’s not working for you. He’s not helping you. He’s not doing anything for you. 

No, I can’t do that. The more difficult thing is to look at what’s going on in your life and force yourself to remember that God isn’t working FOR you. He’s working ON you. He didn’t create you so that He can do your bidding, He created you to become something amazing.  He wants YOU to be a blessing to others.  What kind of blessing are you when you’re not getting anything accomplished in your own life? That’s not what He wants for you. He wants you to be able to shine and show the world that you’re shining because of Him.

But it’s dark, it’s scary, it’s frustrating, and you might look at your dreams and how far away they are from where you’re standing and you think there is absolutely no way that you’ll ever make it because you don’t know how…. but HE knows how. And you might be afraid that you’ll never make it. You’ll die before you get there.  Maybe accomplishing your goals requires a lot of risk and a lot of putting your neck out.. it’s scary! Maybe it requires hours upon hours of additional work on top of what you’ve already got going on in your life. How are we supposed to accomplish so much in such a small amount of time???

But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

I can certainly see how easy it is to give up on your dreams.  I’ve done it before… but it just wasn’t for me. I actually had a boyfriend break up with me and tell me that I needed to pursue my music career. He knew I wasn’t happy with what I was doing. He was right.. and it still took me another year to force myself to start working on it. Finally in 2008 I stepped onto a stage again… It’s been a crazy rollercoaster ever since with extreme highs and extreme lows and I only hope that it continues to get better until I’m finally living the life that God intended me to…

I can see how easy it would be to give up again.. But I’m not going to. And whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish in your life, I’m telling you.  Don’t give up. Don’t look back on your life and wonder, “What if I had tried..”

 

And we did it all without the meds!

This has nothing to do with my music but everything to do with life and sometimes I like to write about life.

My son Ethan is eleven years old. We’re a quiet family, he and I. I’ve always been “the quiet one” at home, I think its because I was the baby for awhile and then the middle child. I didn’t “find my voice” until I left home and started teaching kung fu, which sort of forced me out of my shell. There was nothing wrong with me (Hah. At least not in THAT way).  I was a quiet child who liked to day dream, draw, read, write music, and when I got to know you, I’d talk your ear off. Again—there was nothing wrong with me. Yet,  I had so much trouble in school I began to think that there was something wrong with me.  I didn’t want to be there. I thought the work was pointless and the teachers didn’t care about me. There were less than a handful of classes where I actually felt like I was supposed to be there and in those classes I did extremely well, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the classes that skipped or flunked out of.  In the end, I just didn’t have enough credits, so I dropped out in my third year and started working full time. All the while my dream was to be a musician, which I really didn’t feel I needed school for.

School made me feel stupid. School made me feel like a number. Just another kid slipping through the cracks of the educational system. Eventually, I decided school just “wasn’t my thing” and that was okay with me. It’s still okay with me now. I still believe that school “isn’t my thing”.  I can do it. I can sit in class, do the work, follow directions, and get good grades, but unless I absolutely need the class and/or enjoy it… I’m not feelin’ it. I figured I was just “too ADD” for it. Yet I went back and graduated college with a 3.93 GPA. Suck on that, HS!

Anyway, now I’m a mom with a child who’s in school and having the same problems that I had when I was a kid.

I didn’t want him to be off with a slow start in school so I took advantage of every helpful opportunity I could get. Every program that was offered I accepted. All the extra help he could get, I gave it to him. When we were at home, I helped him with his homework. When he was at school I communicated with his teachers to see how he was doing. It was a long, stressful, and anxious time. Every parent/teacher conference was the same. “Ethan’s a really sweet kid, he’s really kind and polite and he loves to help, but he just can’t keep up with the other kids.” 

Even in first grade he struggled with his homework.  He and I spent hours over simple problems; Ethan shutting down and me growing frustrated and angry at him for not being able to just follow the directions.  I couldn’t figure why he was having such a hard time understanding the work. It made homework time excruciating for both of us. Eventually I talked to his teacher and she gave me great tips on how to make things less stressful. We’d set a timer to the appropriate time for one question then take a short break, we put his spelling words to music or turned it into a game. I’d even put chocolate chips on a plate in front of him and after each problem was done he could snack on a few (Yes, I reward with food. Don’t judge me!). The more fun we had, the better Ethan did with the work. Homework, over months of trial and error, became a much less stressful and much easier task, but that didn’t change the struggling in class.

Eventually came the testing and the psycho-educational evaluations. We did the Connor’s test in both households (his father and I are divorced) and both tests came back with different results because apparently his father and I see things differently… or we see different sides of our son.  Anyway, it was frustrating and difficult and for three years it was suggested that because Ethan has ADD (not AD*H*D) we should try medication because it would help him focus in school and he would be able to keep up with the curriculum without struggling.  

I understand that chemical imbalances do exist and that medication can be helpful to some, but on a personal level, knowing my son and what he was capable of, I do not believe that medication was ever the right choice for him.  His teachers were trying to help him, the school was doing everything they really could to help him succeed and it was really apparent that they all loved him and wanted him to do better, but whenever medication was suggested I put my foot down and insisted that we find other ways to handle the situation. His father, thankfully, agreed.  My worry about using medication is that if he relied on the medication he would never learn how to focus on his own.  I learned on my own when I recognized what the problem was. Surely, he could do the same.

At first, I thought this would change quickly. I figured maybe he was too young and by second grade he’d be fine, but it only seemed to be getting worse.  The report card was getting worse, the conferences were getting more frustrating, and he didn’t seem to understand why or how to be a better student in the classroom and I couldn’t figure out any other ways to help him from my end, especially with him having to live with two separate households. 

I don’t think that Ethan has a chemical imbalance. I don’t think that he has a “disorder”.  I do believe he has a short attention span because I know I do and I can see it in him. I also think that we are simply quiet people and that is not what the workforce or what the school system is designed for.  It’s a go-getter world.  We’re taught to talk a lot, “get your name out there”, “be more outgoing” (I’m quoting people who have said these things to me along the years), “speak up for yourself!”. And while I understand the importance of these things now and I’ve learned that in order to get ahead, putting yourself “out there” means speaking up and it also means that sometimes the people with the loudest voices, even if they don’t really have anything to say, are the ones that take center stage.  I’ve also learned that if you stay quiet… people think there’s something wrong with you.

They thought I was dumb because I didn’t talk a lot in school and my brother wanted to help me do everything.  They thought something was wrong with my little sister because she was quiet in pre-school.  They thought Ethan had a learning disability because he was quiet when he’d just started kindergarten at age 5. Shyness is seen as social phobia. While social phobia is probably real, not all shy people are suffering from it. Some people are just… shy.

A few years ago I read this book called “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” by Kent Nerburn. I think I’ve referenced it before, but I’ll certainly do it again. It brought to light something that really clicked in my brain and it made me feel so much better about my experience with schooling.  The book is a narrative, Nerburn was asked by an Indian elder to write a book for him about his life.  The elder, going by Dan, had this to say about his experience in boarding school:

“I remember as a little boy in school. When the teacher would call on me I would sometimes want to think about my answer. She would get nervous and tap her ruler on the desk. Then she’d get angry at me and ask me if maybe I didn’t hear her or if the cat got my tongue.

“How was I supposed to think up my answer when I could see her getting upset and nervous and knew that the longer I waited the worse it would be? I’d end up saying one word or, ‘I don’t know.’ I’d say anything to get her away from me. Pretty soon they said I was stupid.

“I remember one teacher telling me I needed to learn how to think. She really didn’t care about my thinking. She just wanted me to talk. She thought talking meant thinking. She was never going to be happy unless I started talking the second she called on me. And the longer I talked, the happier she would be. It didn’t even matter what I said. I was just supposed to talk.

“I wouldn’t do it. I thought it was disrespectful to talk when I didn’t have anything to say. They said I was a bad student and that I was dumb. (p. 66)

When I read that… I was so happy. I realized “Oh my God it’s not just me..” Ha!  And it’s true! So true! Next time you’re in class, or at work in a meeting, or even just out and about… listen to people. Listen to the people who are talking and being animated and consider their words. Sometimes they really are saying something. Most of the time they just want to make noise.  If you really want to test the theory–go quiet.  If you don’t have anything important to say, if you don’t have anything *nice* to say, or if you just want to think about your answer instead of feeling like you need to blurt out anything just to appease someone else… Go quiet. See how long it takes for someone to get antsy and speak up just to fill the void in the air. 

Anyway, that’s going a bit off topic. My point is… Nothing’s wrong with you if you’re quiet. Nothing’s wrong with you if you want to take extra time to think about your answer, to figure out a problem, or if it takes time to understand the work that’s set in front of you… It’s just that we are living in a fast paced world and if you’re not processing things as fast as everyone else, it’s going to frustrate the people that want you to move faster.

Now, going back to Ethan and the whole point of this post.  Last year was a particularly rough year. I sat down with Ethan (who was 10 at the time) and explained to him why his classroom habits needed to change and that everyone was there to help him figure out how to focus, because when he was focused and on task, he did great.  I also told him that we were going to try to change his diet, exercise, and sleep habits to see if that would help him focus better in school. I told him that we were doing this because his problems focusing in class were bringing his grades down and if he wanted to succeed he needed to get passing grades. I also told him that if he only continues to get worse, medication will eventually be an option to consider. At that time, I really wasn’t monitoring his nutrition intake, even if he was eating healthy. He’d go to bed when I felt like sending him to bed, but he was pretty active so we didn’t have to change that. 

From that point on, bedtime was 10pm. Still a little late for most kids, but he didn’t get up until 7:30, and with my schedule sometimes we just didn’t get home until late. I started making him breakfast every morning. We’re vegan, so it was a whole grain bagel with peanut butter, tofu scramble, vegan sausage and sometimes kale, and a glass of fortified soymilk.  At the very least if we were running late, he had the bagel with the peanut butter. Whatever he ate had to be packed with protein. For lunches I packed him a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread, again, packing on the protein, and his snack would be a cliff bar or some fruit. The cliff bars became his favorite. Sure, they’ve got sugar in them, but since he’s 11 and doesn’t eat many other sugars, it wasn’t gonna hurt. He also got tired of the peanut butter after awhile so I started packing him tofurkey sandwiches with greens, too.  The important thing was to make sure he had high protein and some carbs all day to keep him alert. All of these changes were made in addition to talking about his educational goals and praying every morning for God to help him focus in school and learn as much as he could.

Well, it’s been about a year now and let me tell you.  As of the last meeting I had with Ethan’s teacher and counselors… he is meeting or exceeding in all of his educational goals. ….!!!!! He’s doing so well that special education assistance is no longer necessary. I was so happy when they told me this that I requested his teacher pull him out of class so that I could give him a hug and tell him the news myself as well as how proud I was of him. His teacher said that he does have trouble focusing from time to time but he sees Ethan noticing his own distractions and pulling himself back to the task at hand and he’s not worried about Ethan falling behind the rest of the class. 

 When I told Ethan, he was very happy. He knows he’s on the right track now. He knows that he has the power to succeed and that he has everything he needs to do it. He can see the difference when he doesn’t eat right and when he doesn’t sleep well.  He’s seen his own prayers answered. He says he wants to be a doctor when he grows up and I’m sure that if he continues on this path, he will be. And we did it all without the meds…

 

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The Voice Audition, Philly 2014

What’s up, reader?!

How are ya? Good? Good!

So I tried out for The Voice on Saturday.  Wanna know how it went? Okay, I’ll tell ya!

All joking aside, I’m not really sure how to start this blog so I figured I’d make it all customer service-y. On Saturday 1/11/14 my friend Sarah and I went to the Philadelphia Convention Center to try out for The Voice.  Now, if you’ve been paying any attention to my other social networking pages this isn’t news and you might be tired of hearing about it, but I’m still getting a lot of questions so I figured a recap is in order!

My family and friends had been bugging me to try out for The Voice for a long time now so I figured eh. Why not?! The worst that could happen is I don’t make it on and I waste a few hours of my life, and the best that could happen is I get famous and win a record contract! So definitely worth a shot. I signed up online and started looking for a song choice.  Now.. I’ve tried out for American Idol twice and never made it past the first round (except for the American Idol Experience in Hollywood Studios, FL. I made it to the finals for that!) and I wondered if it was because of my song choice.  I was also really curious about how they pick their contestants and how much like Idol their audition process was. I figured it can’t be too much different since it’s an open casting call.

I have to admit, I had never even watched The Voice before. I knew the general idea behind it and I knew who the judges were and I’m a huge fan of both Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine, but I don’t know that much about the other judges.  So I spent a lot of time on their website, reading their rules, what to expect, and any little bit of helpful information that I could find. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that they do have a twitter page that’s specifically for hopefuls to give them tips for their audition and I learned that they prefer you to sing something contemporary and to try and make it your own instead of sounding exactly like the artist that recorded it.  I wanted to do something different, something other women probably won’t be singing, so I just kinda listened to the songs that I liked on the radio and then when Demons came on by Imagine Dragons I realized I found my song!

I don’t sing as low as the lead singer of Imagine Dragons, so I HAD to change the way the song sounded, which kind of forced me to really make the song my own.  When I figured out a way to sing it, I recorded it on YouTube and sent it out to all of you for opinions, suggestions, and any constructive criticisms and I got a lot!  At first, I’ll admit, it was hard to read some of it, because as much as an artist likes to hone their craft… nobody likes to hear that they’re less than perfect.  Thankfully I’m lucky enough to have some talented and helpful creative friends who gave me great feedback that I can use not only for the audition but for all of my singing!

Here’s the final video (before the audition!)

Okay, back to the audition.
If you don’t know my friend Sarah, I have to introduce you. She’s gorgeous, she’s talented, and she’s super fun and an awesome mom. Check her out!

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=sarah%20czechowski&sm=3

We were scheduled for the 2pm group of auditions. When you register on The Voice website for the open calls, they send you an Artist Audition Pass for one of two groups on one of the audition days. The 7am group and the 2pm group. We arrived around 1:30… and we may or may not have gotten lost on the way.. which is sort of ridiculous since we’re both locals, but in our defense, we were just following the GPS (which took us to the other side of town..). So we really arrived around 1:45 after parking the car and such.

People were still lined up around the block, but it wasn’t too bad. We met a young singer from Boston named Savannah and we talked about music in our hometowns and whether or not it was JUST tea in my thermos until they let us inside. Once inside, they separated us into several long lines to get ready for bag check! So it was another bit of standing around and waiting. Everyone was chatting and getting to know the other contestants and I told Sarah that I was going to try and be more social this time because I’m really actually very shy. We met another woman who is a school teacher in Harrisburg and she was trying it out, too, and we discussed whether or not either of us will feel like going out after the auditions or not.

When I tried out for Idol, they told you to show up at 5am, even if the doors don’t open until 9am, because they want crowd shots. They have hype men and people walking around with cameras trying to get people to do silly things or asking people to sing and talk about themselves. It’s a fun experience, but it’s definitely a show start to finish.  The Voice was a little different. There were no hype men, no cameras…. actually NO CAMERAS. NO CAMERAS ALLOOWEED past the bag check.  So we took a few before we got that far.

Sarah FaceTiming her daughter in line.

After bag check they move you along to another line where they take your registration papers and send you to the next holding area. It was kind of nice, actually. Yes, you wait a long time, but it wasn’t unbearable, especially when you have friends to chat with.  After handing in our registration we were seated with about fifty or so people in one section and the crew members encouraged us to get up one by one and sing our audition songs. It helped warm our voices up and helped some of us get our jitters out.  Sarah wasn’t sure at first which song to sing, but she settled on Bruno Mars – Locked out of Heaven and she sang it pretty well in her My Little Pony dress.  I got up and sang my song, too and accidentally started too high, even though I was checking my pitch every 2 seconds making myself even more nervous. I recovered well, thanks to all those hours of practice!

After that, we moved to a smaller room and did more of the same. Took a seat and everyone got up to sing their song one by one. We met another young up and comer, Willow Amoros, from New York who was super nervous but sounded amazing! I really hope he posts music online and puts himself out there some more! Then as the amount of people in the room began to dwindle, Sarah and I said a quick prayer.

Finally they led us out ten by ten and took us to the audition rooms. Where we waited in line a lil’ more. See… if I was doing this alone I probably would have been taking all this waiting time and going insane and nervous out of my mind, but I had a friend with me and I was talking to the other contestants. During the Idol auditions, people were singing everywhere. It was really loud and you basically have the run of the stadium which means I got up a lot and walked around, singing my audition song for practice while everyone else was doing the same. It was actually sort of inspiring.  But for The Voice.. Everyone was quiiieeet…  We met a psychologist who shared some relaxation techniques and we joined Willow in another prayer before they finally let us in.  I think I left my thermos on the chair outside the audition room :(

So. One producer (or scout?) was seated at a desk in the middle of the room with our registration papers and a laptop. Five seats on either side of the room and one green line. The woman was very kind and seemed genuine enough with her introduction and well wishing, and then one by one each of us got up and sang our audition pieces. I would say 8-10 of the people nailed it. Myself and Sarah included. I remember being not so impressed with one or two of the other songs, but I can’t remember who or why, so it must not have been that bad. I hit every note I wanted to, started in the right key, felt great while I was singing, made eye contact occasionally (too much makes me feel creepy) and felt like I had a good presence… overall I was happy with my audition and almost certain that I made a good impression and that I’d hear those magical words…..
And then she very kindly advised us that none of us made it to the next round. She didn’t give any feedback or tips or any sort of reason why, they simply say “You all did very well, unfortunately I’m not going to pass anyone on to the next round. Thank you so much.” In so many words.

Earlier in the morning, Sarah had said, “God please let this be a painless day”. I’d have to say that it was pretty painless.

“And I didn’t even have to use my A-K. “

 

 

 

ninja.

Lately.

I haven’t updated in awhile.

For that, I apologize.

It’s mostly because I haven’t been in the mood to blog, not because life stopped happening. Life kept happening. Life happened a lot!

I’ll spare most of the details, but I’ll give a little rundown.

After the gig with DKM, which was my last blog post, I got super busy with my band: Evangelina + the boys.  They’re really a great bunch of guys. Every one of them very talented.  We wrote new songs together, played some gigs, got some press and got out pictures in the papers here a few times. Things were going really well on the music front.

At home, things have been pretty much the same. Work and Motherhood. All day errrr’day.

Unfortunately in October the band had to split up. My awesome bass player moved two hours away with his company and my awesome guitarist had to focus on his own business. I still have my brother in law who plays drums for me so we’re in the market for new players who are ready to take this thing to the next level :)

Hmmm what else.. Oh yeah! My sis got married in June which was amazing and beautiful….. and a local cafe has picked up my baked goods to sell on occasion.

So all in all, I’ve just been busy. Trying to push my music career to where I want it to be; along with the rest of my life.

Thanks for reading.

<3 V

 

So yeah.. that happened.

I honestly don’t even know where to start…

Well, I will do this, though. A lot of people have been asking how I got the gig with Dropkick Murphys last Saturday, but I already wrote a blog post about that right here:  -> Something so Awesome!

Okay, so how did Saturday go?

Nerve wracking.. Exciting.. Unexpectedly easy.. RIDICULOUSLY FUN.

It’s kind of surreal, but totally real, how chill the whole thing was, actually.  I’m almost embarrassed by the amount of geeking out I’m still doing over the whole thing! So.. please allow me to geek out a little bit more over the next few paragraphs, then I’ll get back to being all professional-musician-I-do-this-stuff-all-the-time or whatever.

So I showed up for soundcheck and had to use that pretentious “I’m with the band” line to get into the parking lot while totally assuming the guy wouldn’t believe me because I had zero cash on me. LOL.  He did believe me and let me through, thankfully. Pulled around back and there’s Al Barr (singer) talking with some folks by the van… I moseyed on past and was greeted by James Lynch (guitar) who was having a cigarette by the back door. That was what was so surreal, I think.  Here I’ve been listening to these guys for the past 15 years or so, going to their shows and dreaming about what it’d be like to be where they are with my career. Making music, playing sold out shows, traveling the world, and still being down to earth normal people but making a difference and doing good things. And I’m walking backstage in the middle of the day and they’re milling about like.. normal people. hahaha. You know what I mean though? Not like “rock stars”.

I have met people already in the music world who have “rock star” attitudes (not in a fun way) who have not had anywhere near as much success as these guys… so yeah, it is a bit refreshing to meet musicians who are professionals and don’t have snotty attitudes.

Once inside, I met up with Evan, the tour manager, who I’d been corresponding with via email up until then. He was super kind and just as excited for me as I was, which was totally awesome! Made me definitely feel at home. All of the guys in the band and the backstage crew were extremely welcoming and no one seemed stressed or rushed.  Everyone was just relaxing. I didn’t get to meet the opening bands, I’m not really sure where they were during this time, but me being as shy as I am I really didn’t go out seeking to meet people.

Evan basically told me to sit tight until we were ready to soundcheck for Dirty Glass (the song I sang), so I spent a good ten minutes or so not budging from the one spot he’d left me in because I was so afraid to go anywhere even though I had an all access pass around my neck. I did take this picture, though!

backstage at electric factory

And I marveled at all the cases labeled “DKM” etc… yeesh if I had that much gear to lug around to each gig I’d totally be leaving things everywhere. I’d forget my head if it wasn’t attached..

Finally I realized that sitting there was sort of pointless as the backstage area is kind of small so it’s not like they’d lose me if I walked around a bit. One thing I love to do before a gig is get a picture of the venue before anyone arrives.. and since I’d never been inside the Electric Factory without a ginormous crowd there (capacity between 2k-3k, I believe), I figured this would be a good time. I got a few more pictures as I moseyed.

Soundcheck/Lighting

Love the lights..

Electric Factory downstairs.. emmmpty.

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Electric Factory upstairs….empppptyyy.. and pretty!

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Band on stage, getting ready for soundcheck.

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Ch-ch-ch-checK

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Checking of Sounds.

SO after that it was my turn and I think the guys in the band who had not met me or knew who I was yet were like “Ohhhh thaaaaaat’s who that is” because of course, I didn’t walk up and introduce myself because I’m too busy hiding inside my own head. haha. Ken Casey I had met a few times and he introduced me to the rest of the band and then it was time to sing.

Okay, the thing about me is… I am super shy, yes. So painfully shy that most people assume that I’m a snotty bitch who just doesn’t want to talk to anyone.  But I’m learning to over-come that! …I think. And everyone goes “How can you be shy and yet go and sing in front of so many people? You don’t look shy on stage.”

There is a *huge* difference between singing on stage in front of a bunch of people and talking to people face to face, or saying hi to strangers one on one. Think of it this way… It might not be hard for you to walk up to someone and introduce yourself and strike up a conversation, but would you get on stage in front of thousands of people and sing a song?  No? Okay, well I’m the opposite of you. :)

So here I am… all by my lonesome.. with Dropkick Murphys.. and no one in the crowd. I was fucking scared outta my mind! Because THEY were the only ones listening. There was no crowd drowning me out. So I told myself.. between the mantra of “don’t forget the lyrics, don’t forget the lyrics, don’t forget the lyrics”.. to pretend I’m listening to it on the stereo and sing along.  Just listen and sing along. And sound check. Make sure your mic is working. Make sure you know where to look for what.. etc… And then the song was over.

“There was a little bit of feedback,” I said to the sound guy.
“That won’t be there tonight, when the crowd comes in,” said Ken.
“Yeah, it’ll be worse!” says Al.

And soundcheck was done :)

On my way down the ramp (the one in the picture) Al turns to me and says he really liked the way I sang it and that I might be the best singer to do that song yet. On the outside I’m smiling and saying thank you so much. On the inside I’m fucking dying. ^.^!

OH.. Almost forgot. Being that I am a girl, and girls make sure we have outfits for everything. I rocked my Spaceboy t-shirt to soundcheck. 302 Represent!

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So I went and picked up my backstage posse and came back for the show.

My son, E. My brother, sister, and brother’s girlfriend.

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We got there super early, so basically we just hung out backstage for a few hours until it was time for DKM to go on. We checked out the opening bands, too, but the kids were just so excited to have “all access” passes that they wanted to hang out backstage more than anything.

In fact, most of the time was spent like this:

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Whatcha doin? Oh nuthin. Just sitting on DKM’s couch, eating their snacks, drinking their sodas and playing video games… watching Minute to Win It…

And then E got restless.

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So I let him give a tour of the backstage area.. Here it is (it’s short, no worries).

Also, I bought a new dress special just for the occasion! Because you can’t possibly wear the same thing for soundcheck that you do main event, right??? (Sarcasm…)

And I had my best friend Lauren take photos of me. Check her out, Watras Photography.

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Alright so after hanging out, it was go time. Two of my best friends had come for the show and I met up with one of them by the bathroom (after passing by a bunch of people who were *obviously* wondering why I was so dressed up for a punk show) and we hugged and shared excitement before splitting up again and waiting for the show to start.

This was Amber and Jodie’s first Dropkick Murphys show, so I was not only super excited to share it with them, but I was pretty stoked for the rest of the show myself. I love these guys!

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Pretty soon.. faster than I can imagine.. I was walking backstage. I said a little prayer, as I always do before I sing, then I walked up to the side of the stage. Eric had the mic ready for me and held onto my pass and my water. Evan cleared a path for me and made sure I didn’t walk out too early.

Ken gave me a pretty cool introduction, though I will be honest, I could barely hear him over my own nerves. Then it was time to start :)

Here are some photos and a few good youtube videos that audience members took. :)

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 All in all, it was a pretty amazing night. I got hugs and fist bumps from the band and we hung out backstage for a little while before taking the kids home, I met some really nice and really cool people from the Claddagh fund and I talked to Evan about possibly performing with them again. It’s definitely going to happen, though I’m not sure exactly when. Ken even told me I’m their “girl in Philly”.  So.. I’m definitely looking forward to playing with them more in the future. Maybe I’ll work up the nerve to ask if I can sing in Boston with them.. hmmmm.

Thanks for reading! <3

love and what it’s not about

I took a very nice and very short trip to NYC today just because.

Because sometimes you just have to get on a bus with your favorite kid and go to New York and visit your favorite New Yorkers (even if they are transplants and even if you don’t actually get to see them) and eat vegan food in an all vegan cafe and walk around the city when it’s cold with hot tea just because it’s hot then throw it out when it’s cold because you didn’t really drink it all, even if it was delicious. It was hot.

Sometimes you have to walk in to the Empire State Building with said child and not go up to the observatory because you can’t really afford it, but pretend like you are, then go outside and look up—-wayyyy way up to the top and see just how high it is.

Sometimes you have to buy an “I <3 NY” pen and wallet because the kid needs something to put his money in and you need something to write with and gosh darnit those lil’ gift shops get you every time.

Anyway, that’s now what this post is about, but what’s what I did today and it was lovely.

It got me thinking about lovely things. Like love.

Well, honestly this entire week, especially since Thursday was Valentine’s Day, made me think about love.

Yes, I’m still single and no there aren’t any potential beau’s in my life, but I’ve been witnessing a lot of relationships around me.. good and bad… and it only makes me feel….

Happy.

I know some people who are in love. They’re so happy, but it’s not that sickening and annoying happy where you want to punch them in the face so they’d stop talking about how “so and so does this” and “so and so does that”, etc. They’re the kind of happy where they just.. smile.. and they’re content and peaceful and hopeful. That’s love, I think.

I know some people who wish they were in love. These people who have so much love in their hearts and long to give it to someone so deeply that they forget that they can give it to just about anyone, including themselves, and (above all) Jesus, and though they might not get someone to cuddle with at the end of the night–they can still be happy.

I know some people who think they’re in love. But are they?  I can’t really say for sure because I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, but you know… sometimes people just get together because they think they’re supposed to.  Sometimes people settle for relationships that may not be ideal for them just because they want a relationship so bad.

This is all pretty elementary stuff. Everyone knows it. Everyone says it to themselves no matter which pair of pants they’re wearing.  Everyone says they’d rather be alone than in a loveless relationship.  Everyone says they have standards. Then what?

I don’t like saying that I’m single “by choice”. But I don’t like to make it sound like I’m not okay with being single, either. It took me a long time, a few years, to understand that I’m actually pretty happy on my own. Sometimes I worry that I’m so happy on my own that I will stop looking for someone else, but I know that’s not true because I’m still very much attracted to certain types of guys (usually those guys are no good for me, hence–single) and I still very much so want to get married again. About two years ago I would say that I’ve “given up” on dating or I’m “not looking” whereas now I just feel like.. I’m actively waiting. I’m not sure if that sounds better or worse, but here’s what it is:  I know the right guy will come along so I don’t have to look for him, I don’t have to “wait” for him, or search the internet or go guy hunting at bars, even though that stuff can be fun at times.  I’m waiting for the right guy, but in the meantime I’m living my life and I’m doing what makes me happy.

What I’m trying to get at, in all my rambling, is that love doesn’t force you to change who you are. Love doesn’t test your resolves, doesn’t make you feel like you’re not good enough.  You should never have to prove yourself to the person you “love”. They should never make you feel like you’re a burden, or that you’re insignificant, unintelligent, or that their needs are more important than your own.

I think sometimes we get so caught up in trying to prove ourselves to someone that we lose sight of the fact that that person doesn’t even make us happy to begin with.  Abusive relationships are like that, but even if a relationship isn’t abusive it doesn’t mean that it’s good.

I loved my ex-husband as much as I could have, but I didn’t understand what love was supposed to be like. Neither did he and that’s why it didn’t work out. I sacrificed who I was to make him happy and I resented him for it.  He pretended to be someone he was not and buried his problems under piles of distractions until he eventually cracked.  It’s just better if you know who you are and live your life to the fullest, then you’ll find a match who compliments your life. Someone who you can grow with. Not someone who is constantly pulling you away from yourself.

Most of my friends don’t understand what it’s supposed to be like either, unless they’ve found it.  I’m lucky to have friends who have found it. It makes me happy to see them happy and it gives me encouragement.

True love is out there and it’s everything you ever hoped it could be. Healthy relationships exist and you don’t have to sacrifice who you are in order to have them.

This is true:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

I could reverse it like this:

Love won’t rush you. Love won’t make you feel bad about yourself. Love doesn’t get jealous when you have success in your career or personal relationships with friends and family. Love doesn’t show you off to their friends or make you feel like they own you or that they’re better than you. Love doesn’t only love you when they need something from you. Love does things for you and doesn’t expect anything in return. Love doesn’t keep track of how many times you upset them or make you feel bad for things you did in the past that you may or may not have any control over, even after you’ve apologized profusely. Love doesn’t feel good and secure because you’ve failed and you need them. Love will always wants what’s best for you, will always be there for you when you need them most, and will always be the last one standing beside you.

Love never fails.

Don’t settle for anything less.

Hometown Heroes – Homey Awards!

Hey everyone!
I’ve been nominated for a Homey Award!

If you’d like to help me out, please send your vote to homey@wstw.com and say you’re voting for Evangelina’s song “Green Eyes” for Song of the Year!

You could also throw in your vote for me for female solo artist of the year if you’d like.. ;)

Thanks for all your support! Here’s the info for the contest..

 

http://www.facebook.com/notes/hometown-heroes-wstw/voting-now-open-for-the-homey-awards/487474634627810

 

First round voting is now open for the 7th Annual Homey Awards to celebrate achievements in local music in 2012.  To pick the nominees in the major categories, I need your help – you, the local music fans in the Delaware Valley.

 

The list of eligible songs, albums & EPs is below.

Please e-mail me at Homey@wstw.com with your picks in any/all of the major categories:

 

    * Album of the year

    * EP of the year

    * Song of the year

    * Band

    * Male solo artist

    * Female solo artist

    * New artist

    * Lead singer

    * Producer

    * Guitarist

    * Bass player

    * Drummer

    * Keyboardist

    * Live act

    * Rock song

    * R&B/hip hop song

    * Alternative song

    * Folk/Americana artist

    * Best collaboration

    * Music video

    * Best music venue

    * Best concert/event of the year

 

You can vote for up to five nominees in any/all categories (of course you don’t have to vote for the categories you’re not familiar with). Also, feel free to suggest other categories, because every year has its unique accomplishments.

 

After the top nominees are decided in each category, the final votes will go to the Homey Voting Panel, which is comprised of past Homey Award winners, members of the media and others within the local music scene.

 

Note: “Artist of the Year” will be decided by the Homey Panel, with that decision being based on a particular band/artist’s overall achievements and contributions to the local music community in 2012.

 

E-mail your nominations to homey@wstw.com by Saturday 2/2/13. One entry per person, please.

And make sure to specify the category or categories for which you’re voting for a particular artist, song, album, etc.

 

The final nominees will be announced on Hometown Heroes on Sunday, February 3, 2013.

The winners will be announced on the Homey awards show on Sunday, February 17, 2013