August 24, 2012
I have the authority to make like my Creator, to make something beautiful out of nothing. There are people who can see masterpieces on blank canvases, who can hear symphonies ringing in their ears. Do I have the audacity to be an Artist?
Wow. What a day. Honestly. Today was apparently “Encourage Ashley Day” in the universe. Despite the fact that I didn’t follow directions on that theater assignment that I had to go to the library to print this morning (forgot to double space), we had a really great class. As seen on the previous page [in italics above], we started off talking about art and what it is essentially- its different mediums, its power, its fleeting nature. It was an incredible discussion full of participation, and it was nine in the morning. Crazy.
Then we started presenting our personal narratives, and being first on every role sheet, I was naturally up first. I read “The Pink Rose” in front of a group of complete strangers, which was a vulnerable experience. I didn’t look up once, but from the vibe in the room, I knew that I had their attention. When I finished, there was heavy applause, and almost every person turned to their neighbor. I knew I had just revealed myself as “that” girl who goes first and sets the bar too high (It’s only been like 3 days- c’mon, Ash.)
When I sat down, my neighbor asked me what I was majoring in. “Music business,” I said.
She made a face, “You should be a writer.”
I left that class feeling really good about myself, bought myself a muffin, went to the Panhellenic recruitment meeting, and decided (finally) to rush. When I got back to the dorm room, I pulled out my laptop to write while I ate lunch.
I wrote until 1 PM, which is when my Survey of Music Business class starts. When my professor walked in, he asked the question, “Ok so who here wants to be an artist?” I casually raised my hand, thinking everybody was raising theirs, too. He pointed at me and said, “I saw your hand. Come on down here.”
Uh oh. It took all of one second for my body temperature to increase and to break out in a sweat. I sat at the front of the classroom, and we role-played what it would take for me to become a big star. My only regret is that I didn’t have my notebook to take notes.
First, I was interviewed so that they could get to know me as an artist better. When asked about my musicianship, I told them I was a singer. When asked my genre, I told them I did country and folksy stuff pretty well, but I loved musical theater. My professor asked me to sing, and all a flutter, I asked for requests.
Somebody yelled, “Freebird!” and everybody laughed.
Then some boy (God bless him) said, “Do Les Mis.” I was Fantine in Les Mis once upon a time. I composed myself and jumped into “I Dreamed a Dream.”
I sang a few lines before my professor stopped me, gave me a fist pump, and said, “Clearly you’ve got talent.” I would have been ecstatically happy for that moment to end there, but it got better. I was further interviewed about odd things such as my favorite color (I don’t have one), dream car (I love my car- blue Hyundai Santa Fe named Genevieve), favorite food (hamburgers), world issue that I would want to fix (diabetes). While everybody else scribbled notes, my professor circled around me, saying, “The artist is the starting point because she has to know who she is and what she stands for so that she can build her image. The next thing she needs is a great song,” he said and pulled a guy down who wants to be a songwriter. Person by person, he represented every step of the industry by having all of these people stand around me. It was great fun, and it was a perfect way to learn and remember how it all worked.
When we finally got to sit down, my professor looked at me one more time and said, “You’re talented, attractive, and smart, and I think your infusion of musical theater into your music is really unique. You’re eclectic, and I think people would really like that. It’s hard to sing that song cold.”
All I could do was mouth a measly, “Thank you.”
I want to remember this day. I’m so blessed to be here, and honestly, I really needed this kick in the butt to get me motivated to continue the things I’m good at. I guess it wasn’t really a kick, it was more like a hug. I work better with affirmation anyway.