In November of 2011 Keely and I were pretty much the most excited we have ever been (except for perhaps two other times – once in NYC and once in Ann Arbor, Michigan—but those are stories for another day).
A group of our favourite performers were touring, and by some miracle, they chose to make London, Ontario one of their stops. (Okay, fine. Yes, it was Team Starkid, but this post is not about them).
Their opening act was a friend of theirs named Charlene Kaye and the extent of our knowledge of her was that she sang a duet with Darren Criss and it was on YouTube. She didn’t have a record deal and we didn’t know her other songs, but we were still both looking forward to hearing what she could do.
Since it was only their second stop on the tour, we got the treat of watching Charlene react—for what certainly seemed like the very first time—to hundreds of people singing her song back to her. I can’t even begin to describe what witnessing that meant to me…so I can’t even imagine what the moment must have felt like to her.
This was someone who had clearly spent years working towards what she loved to do and who’s accomplishments thus far had been earned through her own drive, determination and talent, and certainly not because of the hospitable nature of her field of choice. And I was lucky enough to witness, right before my eyes, the moment she realized it was worth it.
She fumbled the next few chords on her guitar and apologized to us with absolute awe in her voice…but she didn’t sound sorry. In fact, she sounded like she would much rather stand on that stage and listen to us sing for a little bit longer.
It was my favourite moment of the entire night.
I will forever think of Charlene Kaye, that night and the song Dress and Tie when I dream of that moment for me. That was the night I saw, first hand, that the things that I wish for are possible.
You read articles, watch interviews and hear stories of great people accomplishing great things, but you are distanced from these moments by the impersonal barrier of screen, page or grapevine. In fact, despite trying to be positive, at times simply hearing of these moments doesn’t serve to encourage or inspire, it only feels like there’s another obstacle in the way…but seeing it was like air to my oxygen deprived idealistic nature.
Sure, Charlene didn’t jump from that night into super-stardom the next morning, but I have read in many articles since then that this tour helped her know for sure that being a performer is what she wanted to do. I can’t help but wonder—after reading that—whether I was lucky enough to witness the exact moment she cemented her future.
If you have a minute, you should check out Charlene’s albums. Keely and I are huge fans! My favourite songs are Hummingbird Heart and Woman Up.
Hope you all are having a lovely, inspiration-filled week!
PS. I found a video from that exact night (my own was ruined by my unfortunate singing voice coming from behind the camera), so you can see her amazing reaction for yourselves! I have also attached the music video (cheesy and wonderful), because I feel like her astonishment in the tour version overshadows the song a bit. Enjoy!