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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How Did That Happen? Chapter 3

“Yeah, how are you doing, by the way?”

“I’m good. T.O.M. came by for a visit.”

“Tom? Who is…oh, I got it. Wait, why you telling me? I’m all the way over here.”

“Just incase I happen to flip out for no apparent reason, you know?”

“Yep. My sister would always warn me up front whenever Tom came around. That always let me known that I had to be careful of what I said and do.”

After I talked with her, I tried to go back to sleep, but then I got a text message saying that I was invited to a dinner party and I had 15 minutes to get ready. Welcome to the high life Brian, I thought to myself. I went to the refrigerator and grabbed an energy drink. I then hopped in the shower, grabbed my best suit, and made sure m hair looked decent enough. Being from the south, I had the mentality that as long as my hair looked decent enough, I was ok.

I got picked up by the person who was throwing the party, who happened to be one of the judges of the competition. We pulled up to his house. I saw the producer that got me the job along with other people working on the show. I never was to type to go party or anything like that so this was a new thing for me. I got my plate of hors-d’oeuvres and stood along to the side to myself. As I was eating, I looked around at people laughing and smiling. I took a sip of my water and noticed that Kevin, the producer that hired me, was motioning for me to come to him.
I walked over to where he was and he introduced me to a couple of people that were there. Most of the people were agents, music and movie producers, movie directors, etc. Then I met Lisa Anderson. She was an up and coming artist that was expected to go huge. When she walked over and introduced herself, I was getting another helping of food.

“Mr. Howard is it?”

“Yes ma’am,” I said turning around.

“I hear you’re the vocal trainer on the show.”

“Yes ma’am I am.”

“Well, I’m Lisa, Lisa Anderson. It’s nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too,” I said extending my hand. “You’re the new artist everybody’s talking about, right?”

“Yeah, that’s me. How you liking LA? It’s different from South Carolina, huh?”

“Definitely, but I’m slowly getting used to how things go here.”

“Great. Well I’m going to go mingle with more people, be free to call me sometime. Here’s my card,” She said handing me her card.

I took the card and nodded my head. The rest of the night went pretty smooth. Some of the people were stuck up. They had the fakest laughs I’ve ever heard in my life. The kind of laughs you see on TV shows when the characters try to act rich. That made me laugh a little for real, and when the stuck up people looked at me, I stopped and acted like I was mingling. I got a ride home from Kevin.

I only got about 4 hours of sleep before I had to get up to get ready for the studio again. That day began with listening to the playback sessions I did with the contestants the day before. Then the contestants came in and were told that they had to sing a song as a group to open up the first show, and I was the director. I have background in directing. I was the main director of my church’s choir before I got this job. So, I split the contestants into three different sections: tenor, alto, and soprano.

I’ve never dealt with such hard headed people in my life. I’d teach the parts, and then the “know-it-alls” did their own thing and messed up the whole sound causing the day to drag on and on. Some people kept complaining and complaining, while others were trying to one up one another. It got to the point where I almost lost it. I opened my mouth to rant on all of them, but Cindy beat me to it.

“Everybody shut up! We should be lucky we got this far. I worked hard to get here, and I’m not going to let any of you ruin this experience. It’s 9:00 at night, so I don’t care if you guys hate each other, but let’s at least work together to get this done so we can go home and get some sleep.”

“Yeah!” I said pointing at them, acting like I was going to say that in the first place.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

How Did This Happen? Chapter 2

I drove home to get myself ready to go to Los Angeles. Everybody was excited for me. I was on every local news station in the city doing interviews. Almost everyday I was at another party or a cook out. It was like I had to visit almost every single family member before I left. Found out that that I had more “friends” than I thought. Here I thought I barely had any…funny how people want to be your friend through the good times and not through the bad. Through all that craziness I found time to call Heather just to check up on her. Talking to her was like bringing me back to reality. I had people asking me for money and I hadn’t even left yet. I had other people asking for my autograph, and I haven’t even trained one contestant yet. Yet, when I talked to Heather, I remembered I was still a regular dude trying to get by.

The time came where I had to go. I had my parents take me to the airport. I’ve never been on an airplane, yet ride on first class, so I was completely nervous. I figured I’d buy some new clothes and stuff with my first pay check so I only brought a couple of weeks worth of clothes, with a couple of my best suits, and some other stuff that was in compliance with what I could and could not bring on the plane. I slept the whole time so I can’t really explain what the plane ride was like. I remember we made a couple of stops before we actually got to Los Angles though.

I got off the plane and met the producer at the baggage claim. After we gathered my bags we went out to the limo waiting outside. We made our way to the rented pent house that I was going to stay at during the competition. The first month was already paid so I could have enough time to save up from the pay checks to pay for the rest of the competition. I got out the limo and walked into the building. Then went up to the penthouse as soon as the door opened, my jaw dropped.

This place was bigger than 3 times my room back in South Carolina. It already had furniture and a TV in it just waiting to be used. I had to slap myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I got my camera out and took a picture so it would last longer. The producer told me that I had the rest of the day to just enjoy my place, and that the next day he’ll take me to the studio where I was going to be. I called my parents to tell them I made it safely. After that I called Heather and she was happy I made it. She then asked me something that really caught me off guard. Good thing I was sitting down during the conversation.

“Brian, can I ask you a question honestly? If you don’t want to answer it because it’s too personal, I understand.”

“No, Heather, go ahead. Ask me anything.”

“Well I was reading in the Bible where it says, ‘whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart,’ and um, I was just wondering…”

“Yeah. Can’t really get mad, I said ask anything right? It’s like this Heather, I’ve always thought you were an angel, and I’m going to admit, that I had an issue with sex without physically having it if you know what I mean. But I’ve since repented and moved on, but when I look at you now I see the beauty within and out. For that I apologize for my thoughts.”

There was a silence then Heather came back on the phone.

“I forgive you, Brian. Thank you for being honest.”

“Don’t mention it. Just be ready when I find some break time and I come to visit.”

“I will. Well I got to get back to baby-sitting. Love you.”

“Love you, too.”

The first thought that came to my mind was if this girl is not the one, then she better be an imaginary friend or something because I didn’t want my business out in the street.

The next day I woke up the sound of my cell phone ringing. It was the producer making sure I was up and getting ready for the day ahead. After I took a shower and got dressed, I went to the lobby and waited. As I was getting my mp3 player out, I found a picture of my parents and dog, Ginger. I remembered how sad Ginger looked after I left the house. My mom’s going to be staying up by herself now with nobody to talk to besides the dog because Dad goes to bed early every night. If anything made me feel bad for leaving home, that’s it.

The producer came by in his hummer and then we headed down to the studio. What my job was going to be, at least for the first couple of days, to listen to the songs they were going to perform and try to help with the mistakes I catch up on. The first contestant, Stephen, came in looking cocky and really felt like he had that competition locked. I saw right through it. As he sang the song, he did so many runs, I barely understood the lyrics.

“Whoa! Hold it,” I said interrupting him as he continued to go and go. “Look, Steve...”

“Stephen.”

“Stephen, I’m glad you know how to run. Heck I wish I could run myself, but the judges need to understand what you’re singing. All that running makes it hard to understand what you’re saying if you saying anything at all. Know what I’m saying?”

“My chorus teacher told me that all the time, but I never listen because well, I know I can sing. And I don’t need no bootleg teacher, or no second-rate average Joe from the streets to tell me how to do what I do. Peace I’m out of here.”

I knew right there and then that I was going to have a long day. Later on I met the eighth contestant, Cindy. She was a very sweet girl. She seemed to have a good head on her shoulders. When she started singing, it sounded so smooth and jazzy. I really didn’t have to say anything to her, other than the fact that she needs to open her mouth more when she sings so it doesn’t come out sounding like a mumble.

The rest of the day had its up and downs. I had to deal with a lot of attitude, and on the other side, I had dealt with some really nice people. It was enough to drive a person to suicide. During my lunch break, Mom called me and said that the Student Loans people are looking for their money, over 5000 dollars. I had to call them myself and told them that I needed a few more weeks. I told them what was going on, and even though I was way overdue with payments, they let me have just enough time to get my pay-checks so I can pay them off. I couldn’t wait to get that burden off my back.

So after my day was over, I met with the judges and producers. I gave them my take on the singers and their ability. I caught a taxi back to the penthouse and my face hit the sofa. I got a good minute and a half worth of sleeping, then I got a call from Heather.

“Hey Brian, how’d your first day go?”

“I am wore the heck out, baby. I’m willing to bet that most of these contestants are on some type of drugs, and whatever that drug may be, I don’t want any part of it.”

“I understand,” Heather said laughing a little.