Honestly, I’m a bit shy about writing this post. I’ve debated about sharing it publicly because I am not looking for attention, but I can’t pass up this opportunity to share my proof that dreams really can come true with a lot of hard work and by never ever giving up.
This is my dream. The image below was scanned from a publication my sophomore class put together in 1988, predicting what we would be doing in the year 2008. Mine reads:
Ever since I posted that and made it public, I’ve had more than my fair share of naysayers. People who thought I was crazy or dreaming too big. I even had a few that told me girls don’t play drums or that music isn’t a real career. When I tell people my degree is in music business I get strange looks. I’ve pretty much seen and heard it all. But I never listened.
I have continued playing drums any place I could and kept up with music as much as possible. In 2005, I was talking to my best friend Kelli, who is an amazingly talented vocalist, about wanting to be in a band again. I had been playing regularly in church and occasionally for other groups, but I missed the camaraderie and the synthesis of a really tight, consistent group of musicians. We started thinking of other women we knew that had musical abilities, and before we knew it we added the fabulous vocal talents of Katrina and Leslie and the phenomenal keyboard skills of Lindsay.
I don’t think any of us had a clue what we were getting into…we just all had a passion for music and creating our own style. Our purpose was simply to share our music with others who appreciated it. Nothing fancy, no dreams of fame or fortune. Just music.
We spent most of 2006 just learning about each other, collaborating on musical licks, lyrics, harmonies and having a lot of fun in the process. We played a few gigs here and there and got some positive feedback. In 2007, we decided we needed to have some recordings of our original songs. By this time, we had also been given the opportunity to lead worship at our church. Through gigs and a few donations, we scraped together just enough money to pay for a four-song demo recorded by Kevin Turner at Marina Park Studios in Champaign, IL. (Kevin was amazing and we highly recommend him!) Kudos also go to band member Katrina for all of the artwork on the album, the logo and our web site.
Meanwhile, Kelli had discovered an opportunity called Band with a Mission, a national talent contest where bands gather to compete for a recording contract. We thought about this for a long time and decided 2007 was not our year. We also knew we still had a lot to learn.
In June of 2008, our demo was released. Blessed with wonderful compliments from people who bought the CD and enjoyed what they heard, we decided this was our year to showcase for Band with a Mission. We weren’t after a big recording contract or anything over the top – we just wanted some honest feedback on our music from industry professionals. For me personally, I wanted to know if my thoughts about our strengths and weaknesses were on target with their evaluation.
In July of 2008, we packed my van to the gills with our overnight bags and equipment and road-tripped to Nashville for our showcase (holy wow – was that not my prediction from the image above?). The night before we left, we had to make an unforeseen change in the song line-up. Since we weren’t out to win anything and just wanted some feedback on our music, we forged ahead with the trip, reworking the vocal harmonies in our Nashville hotel room just hours before the showcase. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but we managed.
Immediately after our showcase, we packed up and headed back to Illinois. We stopped at a wonderful mom-and-pop restaurant just outside of Nashville for some good old Southern-style cooking. We opened the evaluation and began reading the feedback. The comments were encouraging and very much in-line with where I thought we were as a band, which made me a happy camper.
So now what?
We did what any band would do after a stressful gig like that. We took a break! A long one. Eventually we regrouped in late 2008 and agreed to continue musically, play locally and do what we loved to do. No pressure.
Fast forward to May of this year. I had resigned myself to enjoying the opportunities of playing locally and having fun as I always do. Dreams of radio play to spread our music were put on hold. I figured we could keep working on building our music and look for other opportunities to get heard. Again, not for fame and fortune, but just to get our music to a wider audience. Wanting to scale back even further and keep things simple, I finalized our tax return and closed our bank account which barely had anything in it after our Tennessee excursion.
Exactly four days later I received an email from Band with a Mission. It read:
We were going through the Band With a Mission tapes for 2008 the other day and we came across your showcase. We would like to offer you a production deal with Indevo Records!!
Say what? Needless to say we are stunned! After several phone calls and emails to confirm the details, it is official. We are headed back to Nashville to record an album. Wow – that still hasn’t sunk in yet.
We could use a little help…
As a band we are incredibly excited to have this opportunity. However, it does not come without cost. Although the record company pays for some of the recording costs, we still have out of pocket expenses such as hotel and travel expenses and some of us will have to take time off from work to make the trip. We are planning some local performances to raise funds and help offset the costs. Our myspace and facebook pages will continue to be updated with our current activities.
I’m also shy about asking for donations, but if you’d like to support the hopes and dreams of my band and help us get our music on the airwaves,
Amplified (we have a new name: Four Wall Flight) can accept online donations through paypal. Your generosity is much appreciated.
My band is truly humbled by this opportunity and we really don’t feel deserving of it. Frankly, it’s scary. It’s unknown territory. But that’s exactly how dreams come to life. You take risks. You forge ahead. You face the unknown. One terrifying step after another.
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