My Struggles with Popularity: Part 3…
I got Selected.
I qualified for the pre-event practice session with the music band and that was where all the fun began. There was this intense-looking man giving us a scale of tune as per our voice. I saw a couple of contestants climbing the podium and getting applauded for their voice quality. Expecting the same I start singing…
I don’t know what happened to him. He got up from where he was sitting and came towards me. For a moment I felt that he really liked my voice and before I could smile at him to accept his gracious compliments, he said “Dude your mike is off! I can’t hear you” WHAT! Yes, he said that! I felt embarrassed! 😀
Anyways apparently, later I came to know that the key musician had left for the day due to some family emergency and by so, this guy was just covering for him. He did not have much knowledge about slow singing as he belonged to a rock bank called “The Sting”. How lucky am I?!
They couldn’t fix up a scale for me that day and told me that they will fix up the scale for me the next day AKA the Event Day. Yup. That’s right. So basically, I was going to sing in front of the entire college on the very next day without having any practice with the band whatsoever.
I asked them as to what was I supposed to do. The same guy who complained of not being able to hear me came and said,
“Just get the song tomorrow morning bro, before the event on a Walkman and we will fix you up with a scale”.
Hmm… Imagine what I must be thinking when he said that.
Fixing my scale after listening to the song on a Walkman! How is that supposed to help me? But thinking that they are supposed “experts” in this field and it was my first time singing publicly I thought might as well trust them! What other option did I have?
Walking a thin line:
I remember practicing very late into the night that day. I could hardly catch on any sleep and practiced even more in the morning. My mom felt that I might have gone bonkers with what I was doing but they were excited too… In fact, they were also going to come to the college festival to see me perform. It was a big day for them as well as for me!
As planned I went to the college with my Walkman so that the band could hear my music. I was even more surprised to discover that they had not even heard about this song! Oh yes! My day was JUST starting to get better and better…. One of the guys started thumping his feet while hearing the song (I don’t know why was he doing that because the song is a very slow number) and then proudly announced,
“Dude your song is so simple, we can use the same tune that we have used for the song Lakdi ki Kaathi, Kaathi pe Ghoda! (Hindi song) …. Don’t worry just go up on the stage and we will rock it!”
hmmm… Well, that didn’t sound right to me but again as I said I was very young then. I thought they must have had something good in store for me.
Apparently, a huge crowd showed up! The ground was filled with my fellow students, their parents, my parents, and the entire support staff of the college. As it was the college festival, our principal had also called in some upcoming actor as the chief guest. The day was just getting bigger and better for me! I could feel chills running down my spine and shivers in my legs. My throat was unexpectedly getting parched in seconds as if I had walked through a desert.
The student who had selected my song originally – Tanha Dil sang it like a dream…. I could hear people applauding, whistling while he was singing the song. A couple of other folks sang RD Burman (famous Hindi singer) songs too, the music for which was naturally very high with loads of thumps and beats.
It just hit me then…. These guys had a practice with the band and were very comfortable singing with them. I realized that I didn’t do any of it. No practice with the band, no scaling of my voice, hell I had not even held the mike in my hand!!! Your voice sounds very different on the mike than it would normally sound without a mike. And before I could think any further, my name was announced!!!!
The moment of truth!
Stepping on the stage in my new shiny black shoes and a neatly tucked white shirt (I wanted to look like Shahrukh khan for that song). From the stage, I could see people talking amongst themselves, without paying any attention to the competition or the singers. They were more interested in eating samosa’s and chai which was being served around the hall (You can imagine to what extent I must be nervous by now).
I just wanted to get a hold of myself. I started scanning the hall to find some stability and suddenly I see my mom and dad smiling. I was a winner for them even before I started. Things just suddenly became crystal clear for me and I knew what I have to do. This moment was mine to accomplish. I was about to do something which I had never attempted before. I closed my eyes and started singing.
So, you see the song that I had chosen has this long note for half a minute which required me to hold my breath for a long time! I did it… The note sung by me sounded amazing and I was thrilled with myself.
All the chattering in the crowd turned into silence. I knew then that I have made my mark and struck a chord with the audience. But then suddenly my world came shattering down! I heard one of the musicians playing hard drums!! Whaaaat… Hard drums??
This was supposed to be a slow song with no drums in it… and then comes the tune from an electric guitar… It felt like a rock concert music. I don’t know what they were doing? I continued to sing my song as there was no turning back. The song sounded like a remix of the old song.
Later, I realized that these guys kept the basic tune of the song in the background but added a rock element to it…. Now I knew what that guy meant before the event when he said “He would rock the show”
Strangely after some time, I was feeling happy, excited and a huge pump of adrenaline rush. Did some headbanging with the lead guitarist too! The song sounded AMAZING!
I was ecstatic. I was doing this not for my friends, not for my family not even for my teachers then. For the first time, I was doing something that I had decided myself! I fail I succeed it was all on me.
I cared less about my song, as now I was just having a good time. People joined my singing by waving their hands and all. I was living my dream!
I finished my song with a BANG! The principal of the school stood up and started giving me a standing ovation… He clapped with so much of joy in his eyes…. It was not very late that the rest of the crowd followed…
I was so happy at that very moment! The actor who was a chief guest appreciated my song and the band for their efforts and mentioned that he had never heard such a unique blend of music and song before.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED! I did not plan this. No Practice. No Sessions but my song was a huge hit! Even though I did not win the competition but I certainly got a name for myself…. Rockstar Anna! Which was way better than winning an award! I remember my parents were so happy and proud when they were asked if I was their son! Hands down it was one the greatest moments of my life.
What did I learn from the experience?
No matter what you think of yourself, no matter where you are in your life and no matter how you look, you always have to do what you think is the best. Do not allow anyone to tell you that you cannot do something. In this experience, I refused to live a life of anonymity and dullness. I wanted to make a name for myself. Even though there were so many instances when I felt I was going to fail, things turned out way differently than what I had imagined.
I could succeed only because I dared to do it. Continued even when things were not working in my favor. Many of my friends discouraged me from doing this but I still continued. WHY? Because I believed in myself and did what I felt was right. These guys were with me when I succeeded.
Remember in the end, life will make everything okay for you. Make your life exciting, amazing. Let people remember you with what you have accomplished. People live, work, and die without having made a mark for themselves or creating a story for themselves.
You don’t have to be a sheep in the flock sheep, be a Lion of the jungle! Until next time….
Please let me know if you had similar experiences like this one by commenting below. Love you guys!