My first open mic experience!

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On Friday evening, I went to the Haven café in Cork to be a part of their weekly open mic night.

I remember when I woke up that morning, I was so excited and I just couldn’t wait for it! But waiting was all I would get to do on this fateful day. I mean, it was on at 8, so basically, ten hours after my breakfast, but there was more to it than I had bargained for. Once more, my patience & resolution were put to the test.

So, at around 7PM, this bright, hopeful cookie was at the door, with my host mom’s acoustic guitar (right-handed 😥 !), heading to the bus stop. I got there and was fifteen minutes early for my bus, so feeling pretty confident about making it on time (my intention to get there at least fifteen minutes early so I could cool down from the walking). That was all until I got caught up in a crowd of teenagers. I swear there were at least 40 of them. There were too many for me to be comfortable. And I was convinced there would be no room for me in the bus. Also, they were rude & pretty stupid. They were making fun of me, little did they know that I speak French and can sometimes understand some Spanish. *frowny face*

This eventually lead me to give up on my bus and walk down to Douglas to catch another bus. The buses down there get to the city much faster anyways, so I figured I’d be fine even though it was already quarter to by the time I got down there.

I had some time before the bus so I went to the bathroom. I was already so sweaty and tired. And I’m not gonna lie, this had already killed my spirit a little bit, but I had to keep going! So I got on the bus, and there, lovely surprise, the card machine was broken, therefore I didn’t have to pay for the bus! I sat down, quite satisfied of this small victory, and tried my best to breathe, calm down. In five minutes I would be in the city now. Except, no..

The bus had to make a little detour to the bus house thingy where all the buses go to sleep after their shift. What for? Well, to get a new card machine… That took us at least three minutes and I swear at this point, I was losing it. And when we eventually left, we had to stop again as the bus was making this high-pitched noise. Two more minutes. I was dying. Then, finally, we made it to the city.

Once again, I was walking so fast as if my life depended on it. I was three to four minutes away from the café, which was all the way to the other side of the quay. Now, you have to remember that there was no rush, had decided that there should be one. You know how it is once I set my mind on an idea… I really wanted to be there early, and since I wasn’t, my brain was on the “I’m late” mode. It was 8:03… Drama queen, I know!

Anyways, so I got there, really glad to see my friend Kart again! And Pete, a fellow singer-songwriter. (He is really good at playing the guitar, and plays the harmonica at the same time!) So, at last, amongst familiar faces, I could sit and enjoy the rest of the host’s performance. Kart then introduced me to everyone and then the magical night could begin…

The venue was a very cosy one. The stage was literally the back of the room, which made you level with everyone, which I guess contributed to the whole atmosphere. Everyone was friendly and supportive! It was definitely one of the best choices for a first time!!

I was third to perform! Which could I’ve freaked me out, but it didn’t! I remember that morning I kept having flashbacks to my theater performances from high school and university. I’ve actually always been quite fine with talking publicly and usually, being on a stage enhances my abilities! I remember when we used to rehearse our scenes in the classroom, I was “okay”, but every end of the year, when we would perform them on the stag, I would magically blow everyone away. But, guess I was a bit rusty…. It’s been more than three years since I’ve hit the stage after all…

Talking was fine. Although I did say “Hi!” AND “Hello!”. Like, what? These were exactly the two words I had forbidden myself to say as I was rehearsing that morning because I can never say them properly. I know it sounds stupid, but I can’t ever say a simple hi or hello, it always has to be weird. But it was okay nonetheless. I introduced myself and the song, and after that, I’m not sure what happened.

My voice was a little shaky but I tried as well as I could to keep it somewhat on track. Thing is, I was exhausted from all the running I did before, and my throat was as well, as I pushed a little too much during rehearsal that morning. So, I wasn’t breathing, projecting or even putting any emotion in it. It’s almost as if I wasn’t there. I was doing it, barely trying. I definitely did not give it all I had.

There was barely any energy. Breathing almost non existent. Therefore my vocals weren’t on point. Yet, somehow, it wasn’t so bad. And you know what? I picked two songs I know really well, which I would therefore not mess up too much, if at all, right? And, I forgot some of the lyrics in the Brandi song?? And then almost messed up a word in my own song???!!

What I am proud of though is that I kept going after the mess ups! Which is exactly what you should do, right?! Don’t let them know, show must go on! So, I guess that even though my vocals weren’t exactly my best and didn’t display a nice percentage of my abilities, I still handled the situation okayly. Considering the nerves and exhaustion!

But that it just my side of the story!

Everyone else actually enjoyed it. Which, I guess is what should matter in this situation! I mean, the point of a performance is to share, right? So, as much as you should enjoy it; what truly matters is if the audience enjoys it!

I got some nice clapping, which was quite confusing because I did not consider myself that good. So I figured they were just being polite.. But then, at the end of the night, when we were all packing to go home, I had many of the musicians come to me and tell me they really enjoyed my original song. And I was really surprised! Sadly, I was definitely getting sleepy by then and wasn’t exactly the most social being, all I could say was “thanks, thanks, haha, sure, yeah”.

I also had a little chat with the sound guy(??i think??), he was telling me how it was a nice song, and how it’s great to be able to tell a story. AND, he told me about a recording session thingy that they do in the café every Thursday evenings and that I should definitely drop by one time, to maybe record one of my songs. So, I’ll probably check it out this week and you will definitely hear about it if I do(which I will)!

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The Haven Café, Friday 13th, July 2018

So, that was it for my first ever musical performance, guys! It wasn’t as magical as I had imagined, it was in fact, pretty normal. But I enjoyed every bit of it!

I loved the supportive atmosphere and the diversity of the performances! Watching others play was both, entertaining, and educating. There is loads to learn from just watching people with more experience! Which reminds me of this quote from Frank Iero: “The best way to become a better player is to play with someone better than you“.

Everyone was so talented! And watching them share their personal songs like this was just, wow! And I remember the last one especially, he blew me away with his guitar skills. My eyes were struggling to keep open, but I swear I didn’t dream it! I don’t really remember people’s name, but I will learn them eventually! I’m definitely going back next Friday anyway, so I’ll probably see all of them again!

The venue was really nice and definitely the best for a first time! I’m so glad that Kart recommended it to me! She is such a good person! So nice to me and always introducing me to everyone and taking pictures! Bless her soul!!

Sadly, we didn’t get any videos of the night. Which at first I thought was a bummer, but then, on the bus back home, I realized it wasn’t so much of a bad thing not to have a physical trace of this first time. It wasn’t so bad, but I’d rather not have physical proof of it, you know what I mean? I’ll always have a nice memory of it and that is more than enough!! He he

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So, what I gathered from this first performance is that I need to work thrice as hard and twice as fast! I was definitely not satisfied with my performance so you can be sure that this hardworking cookie is going to get even more serious about things from now on!

Next time, I will actually give it my best and maybe get a video! 😉 And, I will get better, and better, and better, and better, and better, and better!

Here’s to more performances!!

I will be going to a different open mic on Monday night! And then once again to that one on Friday! Then the same one next Monday. And then probably going to fancy Gallagher’s on the Wednesday after that! And hopefully, that will keep going for the rest of the summer holidays?

We’ll see how it goes, and of course, I will keep updates on my journey as regular as they come on my precious, precious little blog!

 

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Two long months!

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8AM vs. 8PM

Went a little crazy with the makeup today but the kids loved it! First day back into our routine was a little hard. Especially since it’s so hot and it’s a full day together, with them being off school for the summer.

But we survived. I got a door in my face; hurt my front teeth and upper lip. Adam got hit in the head with a football twice, but at least it was one on each cheek; no jealous!

We were pretty bored and also lacking energy but we survived! Tomorrow we’ll get it right! I’ll get us a list of activities ready so we don’t get lost and sit in the grass staring at the clouds for an hour again!

I very much dislike summer. It is beautiful. But overall it’s just gross. Rips me of my energy and sanity.

It drives me mad sometimes but I still enjoy it, to some extent. And as much as I have very little free time for these two months, I don’t care. Sure, I’d love to still be able to work my ass off. But I have fun with the kids and I love them so much.

So, tomorrow, I’ll wake up, bright and early, have my breakfast and coffee while reading an awesome book! Then I’ll wait patiently for them to wake and then we’ll have the best eight to ten hours together. And then, when the evening comes, I will be exhausted but will still try my best to work on a little something. And then after a nice night of rest, we’ll go through it all once again.

And that is probably the way my summer is going to unroll, for the big lines at least. And it won’t be boring but full of surprises and good times. And, I will hopefully, fill in between the lines with some even crunchier details!

I know it’s going to be hard for me to really be any amount of productive, but I’m still going to try as much as I can. The heat and the full days aren’t gonna be easy, but I know that I will make it through, and if I’m lucky, with a10% of work done!

I’m full of hope & sweat for this summer! ❤

Untitled acrylic painting on cardboard, 06.20.18

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Have been encouraging my mom for so long to go back to creating and today, after one year of me having given her some art supplies, she made something!

When I arrived last Saturday, she was really excited when I gave her a brand new canvas and was already dreaming of what she could paint on it. And, last night, I showed her a Bob Ross video and she was both, blown away & inspired! So, this morning, after neverending chores, she painted something.

It was her first time ever truly painting (something other than the house’s walls and tables haha) with acrylics. She did it on a 180gsm piece of blue paper which could have not ended well, since she was using a little too much water. But, she nailed it!

She was really proud of the results and had loads of fun. Now, she keeps talking about practicing until she gets the hang of it so she can paint on the canvas. I mean, look at her!

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Lots of love for my mom! ❤

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Somewhere there’s a place where I find who I’m gonna be
A somewhere that’s just waiting to be found

Someone In the Crowd, from La La Land

Stressed out fire that can’t focus on sh*t

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There’s a fire in my bones, fire in my heart that guides me through the dark.

With one of the kids being off school earlier than usual today, my morning free time was halved. It wasn’t a surprise or anything, in fact, I was already prepared mentally for the struggle of it all. However, I feel like I didn’t make the most out of it… And, although I did do the work I had planned, I was left rather disappointed and frustrated by the end of it.

The truth is that, with the kids’ holidays last week, I hadn’t sung/played the guitar for more than nine days, and it left me rusty. And it’s always a hard pill to swallow when I come back from such a long break to find my voice all flat and powerless. I tried to power through it this morning, though. But I was so out of shape and the energy wasn’t there so it all came out wrong. And even though I did work, I felt like I hadn’t.

I can’t hide that it bothers me oh so very much not to be able to work quite as hard as I’d like lately, especially after this long break where it feels like it’s necessary to grind even harder! But I’m still trying to find comfort in the actions and reassure myself that, although I’m not doing as much as I’d like, I’m still doing something and that’s good. Even just a little bit everyday makes a huge difference in the end!

I’m flying for my official holidays this Friday and I’ve just been really focused on the idea of practicing as much as I can before I leave. I know I will still be able to work on my voice once I’m there, but it won’t be the same, as I won’t have all the theory books and my guitar and all my stuff…

But it’s just been so hard for me these past few weeks to get anything done at all! I blame it on the sun and the heat, which, even in very low doses, can render me pretty much useless. I don’t think it’s just that. There’s probably a lot of stress hiding in the shades also. About traveling a long way on my own, Esther leaving, all that’s to come after, etc.

And, I think that’s gotta be the main thing really that might make my body and mind so restless that they can’t focus on those things they enjoy so much! It’s all that I know will be coming after the holidays, when I come back and start setting the first stones to build this empire of mine. I am scared. I am excited. And I certainly am worried in ways I don’t think I’ve ever been before.

I’ve been trying to get down a rough esquisse of a plan to reassure myself, but so far, it’s proven harder than I thought it would. Because, as much as I’m all about “Fuck plans!”, I know that having kind of the big lines of the start of this big thing written down before my eyes would help me cope better with the idea of dreams becoming reality! And I think I’ll only be able to do that once I am back home, as the distance will give me a better view of the bigger picture!

And anyways, you know me, I’ll keep trying through the frustration and despondency. Even if that means I have to fail everyday. Because there’s nothing else I’d rather do and there’s nothing else worth getting tired & bruised over. I only have three days left, and I will try to fit as much theory and practice as I can into what’s left of free time until then. Tomorrow is theory day so we’ll see how that goes for me!!

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Even if that means I have to fail everyday, I’ll keep trying.

I hope that these three days get to be filled with as much vocal practice and theory (and Italian) as my dream-filled mind can allow in this very blurry moment of my life!

And same for you, reader! I hope that the rest of your week is filled with whatever it is you need/wish it to be. And I wish you to feel very content with the way it went as you take off your shoes on Friday night, ready to enjoy the weekend. I hope you shine really bright and that your days are sprinkled with many lovely little details to make you feel complete. ❤

Looking back & forward

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May has finally come to an end, and it’s with a heart even more filled with hope that I step onto this brand new month!

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I have been struggling a lot these past few weeks with frustration and disappointment. I want so much and I have been beating myself up over not doing enough.

Now is the perfect occasion to take a few steps back and look at the bigger picture: acknowledge my progress, celebrate my achievements and admit that I have indeed been working hard, but also, remember where all of that is going to lead me, remember why it is all worth it.

This year had a pretty wonky start to say the least. Some months were harder than others both work-wise and storm-wise. But going through them never felt impossible! And, although it wasn’t an easily breezily swim, I made it through and am back on track now.

I took my glasses off and have successfully turned things around! Or maybe, to put it more accurately, I have turned myself around and regained a better perspective.

Life is still a rollercoaster, but I’m enjoying the ride and I even have fun during the big drops now. One of my personal goals for this month was to “feel good through the clouds” and”be nice to myself”, and I think I managed pretty well!

As per usual, E was a very intense light shining on me throughout the month, the perfect highlight to my every weekends. She has also been a very good reminder of simpler things and of the beauty of friendship. I thank the Universe so much for the gift that she is to me and to the world.

I’ve honestly been blessed with many many good times with Esther, which are bittersweetly soon to come to an end; for the moment, at least.

I’ve been making her loads of presents in hopes that my love travels across the ocean with her and never fades. I will miss hanging out with her and all our crazy weekends. But, just like her, I have yet to start facing those feelings. Only two more weeks now…

May prove to be such a rollercoaster ride, both mentally and physically!!!!! I’ve been working out much better this month. In fact, this month has proven to be the most “in control” one! Not in the way that you’d think though. And, once again, my trackers serve as reminders that I have tried, I have worked and I have lived.

When I say “in control”, I mean control of myself, not of life. Of course, that can’t be achieved! Ha ha!

I have been more in touch with my body and emotions and have learned to let go of the pressure and release my own grip around my neck to sometimes prioritize relaxing over grinding till death does me. (what) I’ve been rather easy-going to say the least! Slowly adopting a healthier “fuck it” way of life. I’ve been able to stop when it was necessary and to reward myself even on things that didn’t seem worth a treat.

I’ve just been nicer to myself over all, and it shows! I’m feeling good and confident. I know things will fall into place eventually. And I take care of myself as I am certainly the only one that can be me and be really good at that. I am the only friend that I cannot afford to lose. I need me to be me. You know what I mean? Ha ha.

The Universe needs me.

The artistic side of my life has been doing very great also!!

I was talking with Esther tonight on my way home and we were both pretty amazed when we realized that I have painted SIX paintings this month! Which is a lot. And actually, that was only these past two weeks!!

And this is something that makes me really happy, because I always find it hard to fit painting into my schedule. I don’t always have time or energy for it at night and my mornings are reserved for music! So, I kind of feel like I’ve made up for all those weeks gone without painting now! He he

In two months now, I have written six songs and shared them online. And I have to hang on to this number because it is something, and it is a lot indeed!

See, the thing is that I have a list with all my ideas on and there’s 19 on it, if not more, and seeing so few boxes ticked, it bothers me. And, so I think that one reason for why I have been feeling down is because I’ve been focusing more on what I haven’t done rather than all that’s been accomplished!

I’ve had my guitar for over nine months now. And in that short span of time, I’ve made loads of progress. I’ve regained all the skills I had lost and gained some more. Everything has gotten better. And my vocals, in spite of being a complete rollercoaster, have improved loads also!

I have, indeed, been through waves of regression & progression. Sometimes would spend too long without practicing and would lose all my vocal strength and then proceeded to gain them back the days after. All of which adds on to the frustration and overall makes it hard to feel like I am moving forward.

BUT over those months, I have improved LOADS. And, I have finally been able to write songs again which has been both liberating and a trap!

I was so happy when it first started happening: ideas pouring out of me again. But soon enough, it proved to be a harder task than it looked. I had some lucky moments where songs flew right out of me, but now, I’m hitting a rough patch.

Having probably been relying on those lucky-flow type of songs, I have lost my ways and therefore, everything has become a frustrating waiting on the bench. Once again. But I am not letting this happen! I might finally have learned how to learn from my mistakes; or, am learning, at least..

I have located the issue and so, I am ready to work on it! I realize that I have forgotten how and so, I must relearn the songwriting ways. I can’t just expect things to fall out every time I sit down and pick up my guitar. I’m not that lucky! Sometimes, you have to push them out! Let it happen, or make it happen. Either way, we’re moving forward.

Anyways. Point is that I have been working hard, even though I had some laziness relapse and some tough mental challenges or mishaps! And I do have six original songs. Which is pretty darn cool!

And so, as I sit down and write this, I try to picture myself in the upcoming months and years, making my way through life…

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What I have gathered from all that I’ve been through so far is that there’s nothing that I can’t do. And there’s nothing that can stop me!

I’ve been down and down way low! And I always got back up, on my own each time. I have proven to be my best ally in this life, which is just how it should be, right? I always got my back. And I am learning to be an even better friend. Because so far, I’ve been meeting one too many people that got my undying love and selfless care and trashed it. And, not to sound too pompous, but I think that I am more deserving of that crazy love than they are. And so, I’m giving more to myself. Which doesn’t mean I’m giving less to everybody else (just ask E and you’ll see hehe)!

I’ve got all that I need to be everything that I need to be and build my little empire.

I have started from very low. I regret not having clips of my singing from fifteen years ago, just so we could do an actual comparison of it. All I have is vague memories. But I still have clips from two, three and even probably five or so years ago, if my brother hasn’t deleted it… Point is that I have made loads of progress over the years and a very satisfying condensed amount of progress in the past two years!

I am now capable of hitting notes that I once thought impossible. Nothing impressive. But coming from where I came, it still is a huge step forward. And as I keep going and building up skills, I realize that this is nothing compared to all the unlocked potential in me.

I know I can do so much! And I know that I will!! Nothing is impossible and this is real. I will get there eventually. Also, as much as things take time, sometimes they happen faster than they feel, if that makes any sense.

I am moving forward and I keep unlocking doors. And it feels crazy because I realize that I have come such a long way, and that I can do so much more. And I get horribly excited when I think of all I will achieve because I CAN DO ANYTHING! As long as I believe and as long as I don’t let go, this is happening.

And as I’ve been saying for these past few days, I can feel all of it happening. I hear it in the birds’ singing. I see it in the sky. And I feel it under my skin.

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In two weeks from now, I will be flying home for ten days during which I will probably gradually be filled with a mix of excitement, hopefulness, happiness, fear and determination.

I have yet to form a concrete plan regarding what will happen of me after I’m back to the land of green. But, what I can tell you is: “YES”. Basically.

I am going to get out there and make it happen! I will be attending open mics or go busking or anything at all, really. But I will finally step into this reality that is calling out my name.

No more excuses now. I have original songs. Still practicing some covers. I have just enough to start putting myself out there and jump into that layer of the universe that fits me perfectly.

I am slowly starting to put things together in my head and get a somewhat plan. I think that during my stay in Reunion, it will take shape and as I come back to beautiful Ireland, I will be ready to jump off the cliff and build my wings on the way down. 😉

To be continued…