The morning after I sent out my last newsletter entitled
“Living the Dream” I received some incredible news!
Rewind 9 days prior when a friend of mine sent me word via Facebook about an open call audition for the opportunity to share the stage with Michael Franti and Spearhead. One of my absolute favorite bands. They were getting ready to embark on their West Coast tour and were inviting people to submit a video of themselves performing. As I read the message I immediately decided that I would do it. I made a mental commitment to myself, that before the day was over I would record a video of me singing, upload it to youtube and paste it on the bands FB timeline. No putting it off.
At 11:00pm that evening after spending the day chopping wood and doing outdoor chores, I took my guitar and iPhone out to our freezing cold yurt to do my filming. I recorded two takes of an original song called Vision, picked the best of the two and put it out into cyber world. I decided not to over analyze it and was able to let go and release it in that moment in spite of my unwashed hair, tired voice and dirty fingernails. The song felt good. That is what mattered to me most and that is what I hoped would come across in the video. And it felt really liberating to take that approach and not be so self critical. I said a little prayer and knew that whatever was to be would be.
Flash forward to Monday morning 11-10 when I received the incredible news that Michael and the band dug my style and that I was invited to perform with them the very next night in
Ashland Oregon 11-11!
Needless to say I was absolutely ecstatic, shocked and euphoric. What a huge honor and affirmation! I screamed the good news to my husband Sean and as he hugged me so tight and lovingly he said, “Good job Babe! When are we leaving?”
When our kids arrived home from school I greeted them with a funny grin and tried to hide my enthusiasm. They could sense something was up and gave me a puzzled look. I blurted out…”Do you guys want to go on a road trip?” Before they even had a chance to ask where, I shouted, “I was chosen to sing with Michael Franti in Ashland Oregon, they picked ME!” Their looks said it all! They hugged me and told me how proud they were of me. My heart seriously melted…
Sean and our three incredible teenagers have witnessed every single aspect throughout my musical journey. From the bedtime lullabies to the coffee houses, to the festivals and recording studios. They have seen the countless hours, the late nights, all of the ups and downs and everything in between. They have always given me so much unconditional love and support. My family was able to truly comprehend the magnitude of this opportunity. And for us to get to share in the joy of this accomplishment together was one of the biggest blessings of the whole experience.
We had an 8 hour journey ahead of us and caught a 7:00pm ferry boat off the island. We grabbed some Thai take out and made it to Eugene Oregon where we were welcomed in past midnight by some dear friends who had beds already made up for us. I barely slept at all that night. Way too much excitement, anticipation and emotions swirling around in my head. It felt like a wonderful continuous dream. Upon waking I said a prayer of deep gratitude and asked for guidance. I made a vow to myself to savor every juicy detail of this amazing experience.
After a lovely breakfast with our friends we continued on our way. I kept thinking to myself how quickly everything was happening. How one minute I’m buying motor oil for my car and the next minute I’m reading an email from Michael Franti’s manager congratulating me for being selected to come sing with him. Here I am on the road with my beautiful family and an invitation to share the stage with a musician that has inspired me for over 20 years! I am so blessed!
We finally arrived in Ashland and checked into a hotel that was within walking distance from the concert venue. The giddy feeling was starting to really kick in at this point..After some phone tag with the manager Hossein, we made arrangements for us all to meet the band for a walk through and soundcheck. He also made a point to tell me how much he enjoyed listening to my singing outgoing greeting on my voicemail which made me chuckle.
We were all starving and needing to eat before the evenings festivities began. Sean and the kids picked up some Indian food and the five of us huddled around the tiny coffee table in our hotel room and shared some sweet pre-show family time. To say that we were all super excited would be a bit of an understatement!
We arrived at sound check and were introduced to everyone on the team. Every single person we met was so welcoming, gracious and sincere. We hung out in the the green room for awhile chatting with people, taking pictures and soaking up the energy. We were impressed with the variety of beautiful healthy food that was spread all around the room. There was sushi, fresh juices, green smoothies, raw cookies and energy bars, kombucha, wine, and a colorful assortment of gourmet salads. It’s all about the fuel. Only the best would do!
Up to this point I still had no idea what I was going to be singing. I had my guitar out and was just sitting there warming up my voice when I encountered Brett, who is the bands photographer and videographer. While he listened to me play he had his camera right in my face which felt strange, but also exciting too. After he interviewed me I told him that I wasn’t use to having a camera in my face like that and he said that I’d better get used to it.
Sound check was well under way and I was finally called to the stage by Michael. I thought that I might feel nervous but he was super chill and down to earth. He asked me what song I wanted to sing with him and my answer was, “All of them” He smiled and laughed. We ran through a couple tunes and decided upon one called ‘Ganga Babe’ which was a song I knew very well and felt really comfortable with. At one point during the sound check they had to swap out some cords or something which took a few minutes and I was just standing up there on stage with the microphone in my hand. I allowed the magic of the moment to wash over me and was so overcome by gratitude that I began to sing a song accapela called ‘Great Spirit’. I didn’t really think about it and hardly even realized that I was doing it. The room went silent. The sound guy turned me up really loud and put some nice reverb on my vocals. When I finished singing everyone present was clapping. Michael turned to me and said “That was really beautiful, thank you.” I responded by explaining to him that I just felt so moved by the energy of the opportunity that I couldn’t help myself. I had to sing and share the joy I was feeling!
After we wrapped things up there I headed back to our hotel and took a bath, did some yoga and took my sweet time getting ready. To my surprise a handful of close friends showed up at the hotel to support me. We giggled and celebrated the moment.
I arrived back at the venue just as the band was taking the stage. There were 5 songs in line before I would be called up and I was so beside myself with excitement! I had visualized a moment like this happening for years and here I was waiting in the wings about to be invited to the stage by Michael Franti!!!
Deep breaths…focus…gratitude…I told myself, You are meant to be here! And I truly felt it!
Finally the moment arrived. Michael explained to the audience that they had been having a contest where people could send in Youtube videos and they would invite those who “stood out.” He introduced me while I untangled the microphone cord and my smile was just huge. I felt so at home up there. No nervousness at all, just pure ecstatic bliss!
Carl, the bass and flute player began improvising a beautiful flute melody as an introduction and he and I just had a musical conversation for 16 bars. The look on Michael’s face was one of joy and surprise as I spontaneously flowed with the flute. There was more love and power in those oohs and aahs than I have ever sung them before. From that moment on the song just took flight. We harmonized, we danced and it felt so natural and free. As we approached the ending of the song I was waiting for a cue for the outro, and instead of an ending, Michael had segued into an entirely new song that I didn’t know at all! I’ve been listening to his music all these years and I had never heard this song. So I rolled with it! I listened for the chorus and caught a harmony I could grab onto. The crowd was cheering me on the band was giving me so much good energy. We were just having fun sharing the moment.
I didn’t want to leave the stage…ever! Michael introduced me again as the audience applauded and then gave me a huge hug and told me that I sounded amazing! I floated off the stage and was nearly about to explode with tears of joy. When I was embraced by Sean and my friends I just let them pour out! My kids had to sit in the all ages section near the back so I immediately went to find them. They gave me the biggest smiles and hugs and told me how great I did. What a feeling!
The remainder of the night was filled with celebration. My heart was overflowing with gratitude and appreciation for every single person and experience that had brought me to this place. The energy and affirmations I received from the audience and everyone backstage was just so beautiful. I felt so aligned! I felt at home on so many levels.
We said our thank you’s and goodbyes and invited the band to come visit us on Vashon Island someday. And I made sure that everyone on the Spearhead team had a copy of my album.
This past week I have been shedding tears of joy at random. The more I reflect on this experience, the more it continues to unfold and amaze me. Our thoughts are truly powerful. Energy flows where attention goes!
Thank you for reading my story…
I am so honored to share this journey with you and sincerely thank you for the ongoing love and support. Keep following your heart and nurturing your dreams.
Peace & Blessings,