Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Vocal Disaster - My Unfortunate Audition for "The Wiz"

         I believe that every person in this world has some sort of gift. Some of us are blessed with the extraordinary ability to take care of others. Some are bestowed with the talent of writing offensive blogs. Others are amazing at performing sexual favors. Regardless of what your talent is, we all have something to offer to the universe. In my case, singing is NOT one of my gifts. Although, I was enrolled in choir at a young age. But as one of my friend's said "When you're little, you always have a cute voice". Even so, I'm pretty sure I was only accepted into choir at the age of 6 so that Terry Fox Elementary would reach their racial quota in the talent department. I, much like many of the people whom audition for American Idol, was completely oblivious to the fact that my singing was worse than Mariah Carey's acting. However, as I got older I realized that the laughter and crying that were provoked by my singing endeavours were not of the good variety. Later, in my teens I just stopped trying to sing completely upon realizing that there clearly was no hope for me.

       There has been a theme lately of things in my past that have creeped up on me later in life and biting me in the asscheeks. Singing has been no exception. I recently was coerced into auditioning for The Wiz. The details of my being manipulated into this evil shenanigan is of little importance. Please keep in mind that this audition would consist of singing ONLY! Upon discovering this, I immediately felt my pancreas drop into my under-carriage. I couldn't believe that I was being forced to go through with such a tremendously painful experience. My only question was "Who is going to suffer more from my hideous vocal arrangement? Me? My peers? The directors? Or Jesus?" This question remains unanswered. My only decision at that point was to figure out what song I was going to torture the panel with. My choice went through several incarnations. With the help of YouTube I was able to move quickly through my choices to ultimately end up picking the perfect deadly weapon.

        I realized early on that there truly was no song that I was good at singing. Not one. When you're as bad as I am, there's really nothing that can salvage it. Imagine adding a pinch of salt to your oatmeal in the morning when all of a sudden the cap falls off and the entire 500 grams worth of salt is dumped into the pot quickly blending into the dish. There's clearly no point in saving it. Just dump it out! Unfortunately, this option was not available to me. However, I also realized that although there was no hope in me sounding even half decent, it would be a good idea to pick the worst song in the history of music; something that no one in their right mind would choose. I felt that the contrast between  my hideous singing and my even more hideous song choice would at least be an incredibly entertaining combination for anyone in earshot. This is why the first song I looked up was "Shake Ya Ass" by Mystikal. Don't think I was going to rap? That would be too atrocious for words. My sense of humor isn't THAT good. I figured I would sing the four lines sung by N.E.R.D. It goes a little something like this:

                       "Attention all y'all playaz and pimps, right now is the place to be!
                        I thought I told y'all niggaz before, y'all niggaz can't fuck with me!
                        Now this ain't for no small booties, no circus that won't pass.
                        But if you got the biggest one, then imma come shake ya ass!"

        You have to understand that anyone who knows me would never expect me to even speak much less sing such abhorred lyrics. For me, I just felt like the words were just so absolutely horrible that it could only provoke laughter given the fact it was just so incredibly inappropriate. Especially when auditioning for an exclusively Black musical! However, after some thought, I realized that I would probably get fired from my regular job considering they're the one's who put me up for this.

        So I was back to square one. The only logical step to make from "Shake Ya Ass" was of course Barbara Streisand's "Papa Can You Hear Me?". One of the biggest assets to this song is the fact that the words are easy to remember. I'm not sure what it is about singing live but it feels like the moment you step up to the microphone, your brain completely turns off not being able to remember a thing, even if you've been singing that song since you were 12. Look at Christina Aguilera! It made for a pretty amazing YouTube video. All I need is that video on repeat and a bottle of Grey Goose and I'll be in for the entire night! So, I played "Papa Can You Hear Me?" over and over again listening to Barbara's voice trying to match it. Also, what I liked about the song is that it gave ample opportunity for dramatic pauses and whispering. I figured I would begin with a whisper "....paaapaaaa..........." and then after an indeterminable amount of time after the laughter died down, I would dramatically switch to a level 10 volume with "CAN YOU HEAAAAAAAAAAAAR ME?!!!!!!!!!!!" at which point I would take my headscarf off. It was perfect. The only problem was, I couldn't figure out a logical point in the song in which to end. It's a little on the long side and I didn't want to torture people for several minutes nor did I want to end at an awkward moment. I went back and forth about what to do and finally decided to move on to another song.

          In deep thought, I kept going through the rolodex of famous singers with staple songs that would immediately provoke laughter. After several minutes (which in my world is like an ETERNITY) I made a discovery! I didn't need to sing something famous. I could sing a parody! Like an inside joke. I could just sing something that I loved, something that I knew, something I thought was incredibly funny! Even if the panel wasn't familiar with it, I could introduce them to a new realm of comedy. And this little gem that I am referring to is a little lady named Jenifer Lewis. This woman is perhaps one of the funniest people to ever grace a television or movie screen. She's been in Tyler Perry movies and other "Black" films but she has also starred in her own movie about the life of a fictitious singer making a comeback, Jackie Washington! In the movie "Jackie's Back", Jenifer sings a wonderfully selfish song called "Look at Me!". In 90 seconds she sings about the greatest love of her life, which is of course HERSELF! Oh it was perfect! I had it all planned. I would go into the audition with a mirror hidden in my pocket. And just after I introduced myself I would pull the mirror out and sing the entire song to MYSELF! How perfect! So I showed up to the audition with all of my other co-workers who had also been trapped into the evil of public humiliation. I was fully prepared to showcase my talentless singing but what I was not prepared for is that both my boss and my boss's boss would be there watching! Thank God I didn't pick Mystikal! We were introduced to the Director and Musical Director of The Wiz. They instructed us to stand up, introduce ourselves, and sing a short song. Applebum went first, who by the way, can ACTUALLY sing. She stood up and started belting out "It's not unusual to be loved by anyone....". I was a little baffled (speaking of unusual). I thought to myself, "Who sings Tom Jones for an audition for the The Wiz?" I thought MY song choice was odd. But nonetheless, she sounded amazing and that's all that mattered. And of course who had to follow up that performance was yours truly. This was going to be unfortunate. I stood up, took a deep breath, grabbed a hold of my mirror hidden in my pants, and began. Here's the rundown of the lyrics:

                             They say to love somebody else, you have to learn to love yourself!
                             And so I proudly show this face, like it's an Oscar on the shelf!
                             To hell with all forced modesty, if it's perfection you must see!
                              Look at me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                              I only say it 'cause it's you that I adore.
                              My love for you has only made me love me more!!!
                              Humility.....a fantasy!
                              Look at me......
                  Look at me.....
             Look at   
                       YEAH YEAH YEAH..........

            I saw fear in the eyes of the panelists. They appeared to have been attacked by a wolverine. As I gazed over to my right, my two bosses were crying HARD! One of them actually had to leave the room, I believe her mascara was running. I turned around to my peers and fellow co-workers. Some of them remained in their chairs laughing, others were unable to maintain their composure and were shaking their way onto the floor in hysterics. I, at that point couldn't stop laughing realizing that I had made a complete fool of myself which of course was the original intention.

        The audition continued with quite an ecclectic song selection. My jaw almost dropped when it came to reality that the only song that been picked by two people was indeed Tom Jones! Evangeline performed two selections, "This Little Light of Mine" at a volume that only kanines can hear. Then she graced us with a little known gem entitled "Dear Diary" by vocal thespian Britney Spears in which she spent the duration of the audition writing into a book. It should be known that Evangeline sang the ENTIRE 3 minutes of the song. I was shaking violently by the end to the point that my boss instructed me, and others, to remain quiet during Evangeline's audition. Shoniqua also decided to sing an Opus. She began with "Oh Happy Day" which was by the far the Blackest selection of the bunch made by the only White girl in the company. She also hit a note that I believe only the cast of "Homeward Bound" could hear. Next, she sang "Poor Unfortunate Souls" from the Little Mermaid in which she directed most of the lyrics strangely toward our boss. Lastly, she sang "Suavemente" by Puerto-Rican sensation Elvis Crespo. Shoniqua, by far, had the most schizophrenic performance of them all. It was highly enjoyable! It was like an Andy Warhol painting; you didn't know where one thing began and one ended, yet you just can't stop staring it! The Mexican sang "Habby Birthday" en Espanol of course! I was glad to see that she wanted to represent the Mexican people, most of which live in her house (I'll get to her in a later blog). After everyone had finished we stood up and learned a song together, "Everybody Rejoice!". Surprisingly enough, we're actually not completely tragic together. For some reason the ridiculousness, creativity, and volume issues we had during our audition somehow compliments eachother as an ensemble. Ultimately, no matter our level talent, we will ALL be performing in The Wiz so we have to get it together somehow. I'll keep you posted.

           One would think that it requires much talent to make someone cry. But what I realized from this experience is that a complete lack of talent can do the exact same thing! I brought tears to so many faces all on the account of me being completely hideous vocally. The fact that I embraced my monstrosity of a voice and milked it for all of its misfortune is what ultimately sealed the deal. It's like Spice World or Cruel Intentions II; sometimes , it's so bad that it's good. And in my case, it's real bad! So if any of you make it out to Dallas to see me in this summer's production of The Wiz you are about to witness something VERY special. Unfortunately, you probably won't be able to be delighted by my atrocious voice. I have a feeling that if the director has any sense, they might just forget to turn my microphone on.....every night.......

No comments:

Post a Comment