Today I started out with business to take care of. Since I'm still homeless qualified for section 8. Well at least I am eligible to apply for it. I got the tip from a lady in the shelter named Renee. We hung out most of the time together today. I got to see a part of the Bronx that I've never been to. Kingsbridge station is where we got off. The first thing I saw when I got off the train is this huge red building. I didn't pay too much attention to it. It wasn't until I got up the street and looked back and realized this was no ordinary building. Renee told me it was a fort and there were several forts around New York in different boroughs. I'm going to have to do some research. I love a bit of history. When we parted I headed to Battery Park In in search of a place to sing. Its gated off so much that I found nothing but I did get a chance to test out my new equipment. I was going to try the Staten Island ferry from there but I'm older acapella group already had that on lock down. My only choice then was to go to I thought that place which is 14th Street Station on the blue line. I made a huge mistake of not drinking water all day so I felt a little out of sorts. I sung on the Uptown platform by the a train. It was still early maybe around 2 p.m.
I must admit that I was a bit nervous. Well, maybe not nervous just concerned about the outcome of being alone. Before I finished the first verse of Celine Dion's "Because you loved me" I got my first tip. After that all I can do is sing and smile. I was doing it! I am asserting my own musical independence. A couple of guys even miss the train on purpose just to hear me sing. That felt good. I love to see the kids walk over to me with change in their hand looking all nervous and excited. I added the Disney song from frozen, let it go. Unfortunately I had to read it off of the karaoke screen on my phone because I wasn't sure of all the words. No one else seemed to notice or care I was reading because the tips start to come in even more so. I can't wait to do this again tomorrow. I stopped when I felt the strain on my voice. I was going to push it and go to Times Square but it was drizzling outside. This time I made it back in time to eat because yesterday I was denied a hot meal and was given a bag lunch for dinner. Even though I called in enough time for them to set a plate aside for me. I want to file a complaint but what's the point? I'll be leaving soon to rent a room and will no longer have to put up with this foolishness and the sad pathetic women. Good night world. I'm exhausted. early to bed for me. 8:51 pm.
Today was a 12 hour day on my feet. I hurt in too many places but I'm excited about my first check. I talked to Mr. Faison today and eventually I will officially audition. I'll be studying up on some of his shows. I almost was about to spend the entire day without food. I was fortunate enough to get a $10 donation from the housing coordinator. I got a sack lunch from the shelter which included a salami sandwich with no mayonnaise or mustard to put on it just a dry sandwich, a granola bar A plum. That became my breakfast. The $10 bought my lunch and snack for today which was my usual turkey sandwich a bag of chips until granola bars. I guess my colon will be well cleansed. Lol. I got off at 7 and hoped to make it back in time for dinner. Second helpings are served at 1030 and I made it here on time before. I got to the station close to the shelter at 7 20 p.m. I realized I would be late so I called and asked them to put a plate aside for me to eat. When I got here they gave me another bag lunch. Same s*** earlier. I'm hungry and I'm very pissed off. They claim they ran out of food somehow I doubt that. But on the bright side I got my mail. The amp and microphone came together and with batteries! I realize now that I'm missing the mp3 connecting wire. I guess I didn't think that through since that is essential for this to work. I'm going to ask Renee one of the ladies who came with me on my no music venture if I can borrow the $10 that the cord cost.
Renee just told me she thinks she has the cord already and I will be in business tomorrow. I will be singing in the subway. Renee just told me that they are passing out housing vouchers for everyone in the building tomorrow. It looks like I'm going to the Bronx VA so I can get my own apartment.
You would not believe how many times I tried to post and this phone or this app has deleted all my work. So here I go again and hope that my frustration does not went out and I delete this entire thing. As life would have it a lot of things I did not want to do I am now doing. I didn't want to drive my first job was valet Driver. I don't like the cold or being out in the elements yet my new job is a pedestrian safety officer ie crossing guard. Don't say never right? It's not a bad job. The people are nice. The tourists are funny. They think I'm a New Yorker. My southern charm has them fooled they have no idea. Lol I got rained on and I realize that I need to hurry and get all my cold weather gear as soon as possible. the clothing that is the issue is not enough to keep one dry or warm for as long as we have to stay outside. The good thing is we get a lot of breaks. I didn't want to become an ordinary person or risk stepping into an ordinary life but nothing happens overnight.
I haven't given up on music theatre but I had to change my current situation. I struck out on my own to sing in front of a crowd or try to draw a crowd without music. I ment at least 2 hours out there and didn't make me early as much money as I would him fully prepared. The area has a lot of potential because of the tourists. Hundreds of them a day! I've only seen dancers at the spot. This would be ideal for the spring and summer but it's so windy that may be too cold as a singer as the season rolls by. I started a donation site to raise money to buy equipment. I was pleased shocked and elated to see that one of the Morris Brown College alumni artists bought my equipment and it's now headed my way. Anya Dixon, you're my miracle!
I must admit that my lack of resources was a bit depressing and made me not want to share anything right now. I must finish what I had begun right? So I must keep this blog going in order for me to see my beginning when I reach my end which is success. Maybe a little beyond that who knows? Recently gone back to Sugar Bar. Alex was kind enough to check out the music I needed to be played so I can see what I'm used to. He worked on the Stephanie Mills song, "I feel good all over". The previous week I had planned to go but the counselor here forgot 2 give me a pass for the night. This week I stayed on her until I got it. So as I'm singing the song it goes well with the music. The guy on the keyboard blamed Alex's Music Chart for being wrong. He said he couldn't follow it. Alex just you and me that was not the case. It looks fine to me. But despite that I kept singing. The crowd went nuts! The standing ovation I got was crazy! Even Mrs Simpson was on her feet not to mention Freddie Jackson. Ok so, why was Mrs. Kathy, Mrs. Simpson and Freddie Jackson singing the background music for me? My mind was blown! And on top of that I was asked to sing another song! and of course I chose Patti LaBelle, "if only you knew. the place went nuts. My face got hot and I couldn't stop smiling. as I hugged people and made my way back upstairs to the bar where I Sat I was elated. When I reached when I reached the landing upstairs I got a lot of Cheers. I was waived to a table of 5. I was introduced to the George Faison! Who is known as the choreographer for The Wiz! He has a show "ain't misbehavin" that I might get a part in! I love this place. Life is full of surprises and I'm glad I'm getting nice ones this time. It's time for bed because tomorrow I work from 7 to 7.
I have been so busy and exhausted that I've missed updating for a week I think. I sung with Marcqiese outside at a spot by a fountain in Central Park. He had made a killing before I got there but it had started to sprinkle ND the crowds where thinning when I sang. After 3 more songs we left and hit up 14th Street Station. The spot was ruined by the police. Some guys jumped the turnstiles and got on the train but the police held up the train and got them off. We had to leave in case they wanted more arrests. We did a lot of walking around trying to find a spot. We ended up at Times Square at the spot he liked after trying several corners with no luck. When we got there a dance crew was already working it. I wanted to watch. He was getting annoyed (he was tired) but I asked him to wait and see if we can get it once they were done. Ha! They had taken a break and started back up, drawing a nice crowd but the police broke it up. We waited it out for them to clear out and set up shop. Our crowd wasn't as big but still effective. While I sang one lady dropped dollars in the bag like she was tipping a stripper! lol She made it rain! One guy came from across the street to tip, then came back again with a few more dollars. A really nice lady with an accent came up to tell me I made her cry. She was a tall blond chic, maybe around my age. I wasn't expecting that. I gave her a hug.
I was getting a lot of love. A pretty little girl stopped her mom and begged for money to give me. They stayed for two whole songs! Her mom gave her some change and she quick dropped it into the bag. It was too cute. I could tell her mom was watching for my reaction to the change she gave. It may have been 50¢ or less but I didn't care. All change spends. I thanked her like it was $100. My voice started to give out during a song so I knew I was done for the night. Marcqiese was having issues too since he had been at it all day.
It was nearing 10pm and we both had a long day behind us. We had a conversation about the money. $5 bill was no longer in the bag when I counted the money as he sat at watched me count it. Earlier when we left the park he deposited the money he made before I got there into the bank. I noticed when we started over that there was less money than we had when we left the park. I hadn't said anything but it pissed me off and I took a 5 dollar bill as a payment to myself. He knew I had the 5 dollar bill but he wanted to play the game of where did the $5 bill go and since more than one $5 bill was missing, I was more than happy to play the game with him because I had been silent about not getting my half of the change and missing money my first leg of our hustle. He said " I wouldn't steal from myself", and I replied, " I wouldn't steal from myself either. He says he will never let me count the money again. I said why not you are right there watching me counted the whole time so what are you trying to say? But he said he never had this problem before and I told him he's not used to people standing up for themselves against him. I brought up the fact that we had change. Without saying a word to me he kept it. He claimed that we discussed it before that it will go to the batteries for the equipment. I told him that he and I had had no such discussion. he then claimed that I heard him tell the last girl he worked with about the battery. I told him, whatever you discussed with her was apart of her deal and had nothing to do with us. Then he said I was bringing up old stuff that had nothing to do with the situation. Really? I was not about to argue with him all night. I told him that the equipment was his responsibility and expenses were his own to handle and had nothing to do with my cut.He then says that we will split the money 60/40 instead of in half like last time. After I got my cut I left. I wasn't mad, just tired.
I could have handled it better. I should have brought it up instead of taking the bill but I didn't feel like getting into it. Yet it had to happen. I had the money that I came for anyway. I have to pack to go back to Atlanta for wedding and a court date.
The next morning was Saturday October 11. I had a flight to catch and a college audition to perform before the flight. The audition was with AMD A. It's funny that I was not nervous but then got really nervous, I want to poop when it gets that bad. In my rush I forgot my sheet music for the audition. The guy that was accompanying me work it out ahead of time so I got to practice with him once before the audition started. I was asked to sing a long which I did not anticipate. I was so nervous but I couldn't think of a single song even though I knew plenty of them. Suddenly, Dreamgirls came to mind and I song part of I love you I do. I was still too nervous to think so I mixed up the words. I was asked after the audition why I want to come to the school. I couldn't tell exactly what the tone of his question. I couldn't tell if he felt like I didn't belong there or I was wasting his time. Also make me nervous. I was interviewed shortly after by another man who took my application. The walk in the rain back to the station was sobering. Had to call a friend to shed my worries. I was there long enough to pack a carry on bag and head to Atlanta.
I was picked up from the airport by my BFF Kelly and her husband Jeff. Kelly had been anxious and worried about me since I left. The next couple of days with her and the kids I missed. We laughed a lot, I ate too much. I got a ride from another friend to go to the wedding. I was honored to share a day so special with one of my old classmates and friends. for their first dance I sung "At Last" and for the last a song "because you loved me". There were a few more songs in between that but those were the most important to me and to them. It was a beautiful ceremony. Seeing two families join together with so much love brought tears to everyone's eyes.
On Oct 8 I got up early! I was super geeked to be in the audience of the Wendy Williams show! I got there at a good enough time. They let us in at 8pm. Judging from the conversation around me a lot of her audience are regulars. These feet aren't made for walking and standing too long in heels so I wore my beat up walking shoes until they had us in the ready room. Even by then my feet were not ready. (insert sarcasm).
The hype man was super sexy! His name was Marco. The DJ was so on point. I was dancing in me seat automatically! There was a dance off booty shake to get the crowd hype. I fell for the okie dok when they said the prize was money and a vacation. It was a CD instead. . Me and 4 other people got up there and danced though! Why they wanted booty shaking? I have none to shake so I shook my boobies! The Crowd went wild, screaming and jumping to their feet! I shook what my mama gave me. LOL By the time Wendy came out we were having fun and hyped up!
Wendy had Dr. Oz on the show talkinf about Ebola. "It's not airborne, it comes from touching an infected person and your face and mouth". Dr. Oz is really a handsome guy in person. Wendy is beautiful! Her waist is so small! When she came into the audience she was so welcoming. Not a diva at all. Who she is on camera is pretty accurate as far as I can tell. Even her staff is high energy. After the show was over I signed up for another one. Marco was outside taking pictures with everyone. He's fine but has never been a stripper. I asked. lol I had to know!
After I got to the shelter I got a call to come sing in the subway with Marcqiese!
We went from car to car singing clips is Frank Sinatra and Four Tops songs. It was an adjustment. I messed up and forgot lines! One time I even started off key because another train was running right beside us and I couldn't hear. Marcqiese was visibly annoyed and frustrated. He was a bit rude about it saying he could do this with children and come our better and I need more practice before I get into another car. I'm like, "dude you have to expect a margin of error, a learning curve. At least give me that much". He then decided we would change gears after I got off a train and he didn't. I could have sworn I saw him standing near the door. That's why I got off the car to prepare to move to the next one. As a lady spoke to me, getting my attention, the door closed and he was still on the train. I had to wait for him to come back to the station and while I waited I heard another performance on the end of the track.
An Asian guy with a piano and guitar was singing a Whitney Houston song. His accent was so cute! Marcqiese was beyond annoyed and annoying. He then decided we would play to my strength of singing and find and empty platform. We went to 59th Street and set up at the bottom of some stairs by the A train. I liked it. I killed it! I did till the police had me move and some performer from another end of the station said I was too loud and asked me to keep it down. I didn't even know he was there. We made a lot more money that way though. People kept coming to me saying how good I was. I got a lot of compliments on the train too. A few ladies were throwing him shade by coming to me, making strong eye contact saying "YOU, we're great". A few people even only wanted my contact information because he had flyers and I didn't. I know that didn't sit well with him but I had already addressed the possibility of that
happening when we ate. I honestly do not feel comfortable with using his flyers as a go between for people to contact me through him. Even though I promoted people picking up his flyer I also vocally supported my own page. I need to make flyers.
We left there and we went back to 14th Street Station where the Asian guy once was and set up shop. I got good crowds between trains passings. One lady came to me while Marcqiese sang his turn and told me that I brightened the mood of the entire platform. She said "see that man over there with the jacket on? He looked so mean and troubled when he came down the steps and when he heard you sing his entire body language changed. I saw his face change and a calm smile is on his face now. You did that." I was not expecting that. I was singing "Run to You" by Whitney Houston. Some people dropped money more than once in the bookbag we used to collect money. People were filming me and smiling a lot. It made me feel great. For some reason Marcqiese decided to move and change area's. We went to Times Square but got booted before I finished the first song. It was then time to call it a night. We split the money in half. It ended up being a good night.
On Monday was my meeting with the leader of Gospel Queen's Cliff Driver and their bass player Alex. Geeked wasn't the word. I met with Alex and he treated me to lunch. Never knew where his accent was from but I liked it. Serbian. Sexy. I'm glad he escorted me there because I would have been a bit nervous.
I wasn't sure what to expect to sing at the interview. It was a nice walk through a busy Brooklyn neighborhood. Thank goodness I only had to go to the second floor for the meeting. Stairs everywhere! He had a keyboard set up and ready. Being that I'm only vaguely familiar with his music he had to teach me a song. I am still having trouble hearing my note in a chord. He played and my left ear felt heavy.I hadn't drained my ears in days. Smh. He had to tap it out for me. (embarrassing). It took a minute but I got it. I learned the entire song and sung his remake of an old one. I think it went well. Alex later called and told me he asked what he thought about me. He got a good report. Another woman is also being interviewed. We shall see who wins the gig.
After we left we walked to Alex's place where we talked music and I sat with his roommate and friends and sang and played some candy game. Unfortunately they were all chain smokers. I stanl so bad when I left! I disgusted myself.I tried to catch every breeze I could to air out. Not to mention my throat started swelling. I dont do smokers well. While I was there I got a text to meet up with the guy to I met at the Apollo. Marcqiese does a lot of street performances and invited me to join his group. He wanted me to come and watch to see how it's done. I left around 8pm to check it out.
I met him and 2 other girls at Times Square station by the Track 1 Shuttle. Both girls were younger than me and pretty. The one he works with was Destiny and the other girls name escapes me. Turns out, Destiny is a recording artist already and has been working with him for extra money for a few months. He was looking spiffy in his jeans, white shirt, tie, grey jacket and dark grey derby. Destiny was wearing leggings, boots I think, a flannel shirt wrapped around her waist and a short shirt showing her belly above her naval. It was an interesting pairing. His songs were old school, Frank Sinatra mixed in with a few r&b songs. We ran a rout on the A train from 59th Columbus Circle to Chambers station. They would sing two short clips of songs between stops.When they finished singing they clapped which encouraged riders to clap and then did a quick speel stating they "take, credit cards, EBT, smiles, hugs and cash". They did a quick walk to collect on both sides of the cart by breaking up and then running to the he's next cart. It was exciting and fun.
After a few hours they called it a night and Marc bought me Chinese food and gave me bus fare. We made arrangements for me to come on my own with him to start working. I was so exhausted that all I could do was shower and pass out as soon as I got back to the shelter. I knew the next day would be jam packed!
The housings counselor wants to place program badly that he takes us to dives. I swear that last place is on a street known as "hoe stroll ". His biggest selling point was "it's one block from the train " I told him " you move here then! You really don't need to turn off the van cause none of us wanna see this shit ". There was three of us for the ride, viewing two places. I wasn't excited by either of them. At the last minute he gets a call to view a place under construction. It was a nice looking neighborhood. There were several bus lines within a decent walking distance. I told him I wouldn't mind seeing it after it was done. Im still waiting for my Ga background check to come in so I can start working at the World Trade Center.
I now have my tickets to go back to Ga to handle some business. I'm singing at an old friends wedding reception and then court on Tuesday. I'm so honored that she wanted me there to entertain for her life event. Seeinf her so happy makes me hopeful. I love weddings! I hate court though. It's some bull! A traffic accident that I technically wasn't in since I hit no one but now it's a criminal case? WTF! Its been two years of nothing and now I've been called in? I hate Ga. I swear. This has my stomach I knots. The police said he HAD to give me a ticket for following too close for being there. h/How does that make sense? Even the lady who's car was in front of me whom I didn't hit says she didn't understand it either. So, I fly this Saturday and I just don't feel right about it. The only good thing about today is the leader of the band Gospel Queens called me today and set a time tomorrow for us to meet. I hope they take me out of on the road with them soon. I need to get away for a while.
I don't know why they take so long to give results but yesterday I found out (three days later) that I have strep. I suspected as much but you know how doctors are, they never listen. So I got my meds today! I managed to smuggle in some food to my room and decided I would shut myself in for the weekend. That decision was shattered by a text and a phone call. I have a potential traveling gospel group to join. It's a group with older people and Alex, the waiter at Sugar Bar recommended me. I had no idea he was a bass player. I'm supposed to me the musical director of the group now at Fat Cat. He says I should see if I like the music. Now, the dude is 81 years old so I'm not banking on being where I am right now. This place is an underground pool hall and game room. A duo of bongo and some weird string instrument is playing Indian music and I'm waiting for this group to arrive. There is beer and empty glasses on tables and people all over the huge space just having a good time as jazz music is now over the speakers because the duo is now done.
The group I was waiting to hear is Gospel Queens. I knew the singers were older and from giving a quick listen to one of the songs Alex sent me I was in for a treat. This music took me back to some really good memories. No one does old school southern gospel anymore. Few would even know what it sounds like. My grandfather "Skeet" had a band like this for most of his life. I used to love it when my grandma would take us to some random place outside or to the park and there he would be, singing and playing guitar! Some mornings on weekends I would wake up to his albums being played. Grandma told me later in life about how she wrote a lot of songs for him that he often played. See and hearing this group made me smile with my heart. I gotta hug Alex for this. Even If I didn't join the group I got to touch a piece if home.
My contact in the group is Cliff Driver and he was on the organ. Can you say, Wailing?! He was wearing shades which struck me as odd because the place was so dark. I spoke to him before their set started and he told me to have a seat and let him know what I thought afterwards. He reached over his chest with his right to shake my hand then I sat down. Cliff is a big guy and moves well for a guy his age (81). I kept looking at him but trying not to stare because I didn't want to be rude. So I had to text Alex to confirm my suspicion that he was blind. It was true. I don't know why but it increased my respect for him.
The group was introduced as a jazz group and that struck me as odd. I guess this generation is so far removed from my grandparents that they don't know any better but the crowd loved it. There was lots of dancing and rocking going on. It made me laugh to think of my grandparents and what all the old churches would think about what was going on. There was beer drinking and groove dancing, folks cuddled up and listening. Had this been a black church back in the day the people would be praise dancing and shouting amen. LOL. This crowd was so diverse! The funny thing is, I was the only black person I saw in there besides the guy at the door until towards the end I see some younger chic walk by, totally not interested in the music. The experience was surreal to say the least. I told Cliff I was in! He says to call him Tuesday. I always liked Tuesdays.
Gospel Queens at Fat Cat: http://youtu.be/YyrDoQuDbrM
I regret nothing. Being on that stage set a fire in my soul! I get so much electric energy from a good crowd. How can anyone not love performing? Sure I got nervous but a good poop and I'm good to go. lol I was supposed to go to my first day of training today but it did not happen. Yesterday I got a call saying my background from Georgia hasn't come in and they will push my start day to next week. So I rested most of the day.
For the last month the climate on the side of the shelter where I sleep has been unbearably hot. I've filed grievances and sent emails to the department in charge of the building. Noone likes to sweat in their sleep. It was so hot in the female dorm that security left because she couldn't take it AND SHE WAS AFRICAN! LOL. During a resident meeting I eloquently brought it up to the staffs supervisor too. For the last two days we have had air conditioning! But, to be funny it's been frigied. Like my fingers almost had frostbite. As hot as their showers are we couldn't even get warm in shower. By the time the water reached the feet it was cool. Today technicians came into work on the unit. As I'm in my cubicle I get a knock on the door. Some short round guy asks me about the temperature last night. I tell him it was frigid and unbearable. After I said that he says "you must be Williams". I didn't like his tone. So of course I said "I sure am". I guess he though I would shrink back. Nah. He went on to tell me that "this is a warehouse and air can't be regulated to different temperatures to fit individuals comfort ". I was about to set him straight when he sensed it and decided to move on from my door and continue. They will learn, I will speak and will be heard. Fear is not in my catalog of emotions in this life.
I'm at my favorite Thursday spot, Sugar Bar, and Roberta Flack walks in as I'm singing "I believe in you and me". I almost forgot the song. I actually kinda did. Smh She said "sang baby" and I felt like a kid in church. lol like when you mess up and everybody keeps encouraging you. lol Freddie Jackson was sitting to my left. OMGS I feel faint. He kept calling put my name. When I got off the stage I walked away without my purse I was so shook. Folks had to turn me around to get it. lol I'm so struck.
I typed up a lot of stuff but I guess the site won't have it lol Its lightly raining outside and I'm nervous. This amount of nerves is unlike me. I guess it's because this is no regular stage. I'm sitting here at sound check awaiting my turn. I don't have a lot of competition as there are only four other adults. The kids section has all dancers! It's guys and a girl. This will be a good show tonight. Wish me success! Check out the link to see my rehearsal!
Burgandy 's Apollo Sound check: http://youtu.be/CkBuOh6Vods
I didn't win but I loved every minute of it. I made a few new contacts and I look forward to working with them in the future. I didn't get what I wanted out of the band. Maybe next time will be better.