Monday, December 13, 2010

YOU HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE...

Saturday was a stay at home project day, so Dave and I got brave and ambitious and went to town on our closets, and we did some pretty good damage. Sometimes you have to make a big mess before you can clean things up. We began de-junking and dragging every last piece of crap that was crammed into the dark corners of our closets and out into the open which would soon reveal a massive monster of a pile... oh no what have we done! Everything from an extensive collection of shopping bags, games, worn out towels, Happy Meal toys, and array of hair products from my "kitchen cosmo" days, broken electronics, craft supplies galore, crumpled stacks of papers with messy handwritten lyrics to songs I had written for High Hopes and Heartbreak stuffed into binders and other random objects that have little relevance to our lives.

Sitting in the middle of the hallway, it was hard to fathom that it all somehow seemed to fit into that small linen closet. Then came the excruciating part, which was to one by one, go through each and every last thing and decide it's fate. Some stuff would be headed to the trash, while others would find a new home, or take a trip to the Goodwill down the street... and then of course there are those things that you just can't part with, some for practical reasons, others for sentimental value. But the most obnoxious is those items that you don't really need, don't really want but you feel like it's just not right to get rid of. Now mind you we were trying our best to really get serious, to de-clutter and shake ourselves free from useless "stuff". This isn't an easy process, as a matter of fact I was mentally exhausted by it all...

Now I know it is just "stuff", but even "stuff" is tied to memories, some good, some not so good, some important. I suppose that is why we just stuff the "stuff" in the closet, where we don't have to look at it, where it is out of sight and out of mind, but somewhere way back on the back-burners of our minds we know it's there if we ever wanted to find it. The hard part is coming face to face with it, reliving it, remembering it... for a few minutes it kinda makes you feel like your heart has dropped into the pit of your stomach...a little sad, or nervous maybe... or maybe even happy and nostalgic. But then after you've had your moment you realize that you're okay, you're really okay! Whew! Hooray! What a relief. You realize where you've been, and you can't believe how far you've come. And when I say "you" I mostly mean "me", but I'd rather make it about you, cause I am slightly uncomfortable about making it about me. Anywho...

In that endless stack papers I found a page ripped out of Music Connection, it was my first Show Review of my second show ever... and unfortunately Mr. Bernard Baur found my performance to be not bueno... and I don't know if I can really blame him. I was twenty years old, I had short hair, no confidence and a load of emotional baggage that I'd decided to pack up and move out to Los Angeles on my own that summer to quietly go to Music school, to figure myself out, to grow up, to fill a void, to see if maybe I had even a glimmer of talent. Well, Music school led me to songwriting, which forced me to sit down in a tiny practice room and start plunking out the notes on the piano while singing simultaneously, words that were my own, I wrote my first song "Come to my Rescue", that song took me to the Attic Studio of a Producer that believed in me, where I started to record my songs, which then landed me on the stage of Molly Malones on Fairfax, I played my first two shows, with just a rhodes piano, the few original tunes I had in my pocket and a couple of legendary cover songs that I was brave (or foolish) enough to sing in the same company of my own. There was a small audience of the few friends I'd made at church and school. I'll never forget how I felt like a fish out of water up there, my throat was dry and my fingers couldn't remember which keys to play, I would stop in the middle of a song to try to remember what came next, those few empty seconds felt like hours, you could hear the crickets, I barely made it through to the end of the 30 minute set. When the show was over I was pretty certain that I never wanted to do that again. But, somehow I did. All of this in one short summer. I had left my boyfriend behind in Arizona, I told him I'd be back at the start of Fall, that was my plan, I never intended on staying, but one Friday after school I drove out to Marina Del Ray and stood on the beach and I knew I wasn't going home. He was surprised when he came out to California to visit me, he didn't even really know that I sang, I guess I didn't really know either, I still wasn't sure. I told him that I wasn't coming back to Arizona, he understood.

Months later, I married my boyfriend. It wasn't much longer after that the review of my second show at Molly Malones finally showed up in Music Connection. I remember reading it, I remember feeling embarrassed for myself, I remember wanting to quit, I remember believing every word he said, I remember trying to take it as constructive criticism, I remember disliking Bernard Baur for writing the review, I remember dwelling on the part that he said "Brooke's voice is decent and her piano playing skills are competent.... there is no heart", I remember remembering every reason I didn't believe in myself. It was hard to take, really hard. But then there was that littlest tiniest part at the end, the "nonetheless" part... the "there is a hint of promise... Brooke might become the artist she aspires to be" part. I could hardly see it at the moment, but it was there... at the end of my dark tunnel of insecurity, a pinhole of light.

After the pity party was over, and I'd gotten a good pep talk the sadness turned to stubborness, I wanted to show that mean Mr. Bernard Baur with the beard that I was indeed capable of becoming the artist I wanted to be, That I could play the piano and sing, that I had a heart. But as the years have gone by I realized I really just needed to show myself... and I've realized that I'm tougher on me Then Bernard ever was, It is a long road that I am still on. Since then I have stood on a stage in front of millions, to be judged by critic of all critics, it's still tough to take. My feelings still get hurt... BUT... but, at the end of the day regardless of what Bernard Baur, Simon Cowell or some random JoeShmo on the internet says, I have to find it within myself to know that I am Brooke White, I am an Artist, I make mistakes on the piano, my voice cracks, but I sing with all my guts and sometimes I like what I do and sometimes I don't... but there is one thing for certain, I'm gonna get back on the stage again... no matter what.

It's good to look back and remember that you have to start somewhere...

PS- I'm not angry at Bernard Baur anymore, and I mean that :)

11 comments:

  1. I love that he commented on you not putting your heart and emotion into your music becuase that is exactly what makes me such a huge fan of your music today. It shows how much you have truly grown as an artist and as a person and makes my love and respect for you even greater :)

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  2. i love your stories. that's the reason i listen to your music, because there's heart in it. perhaps, you're younger and you're new to it. and because you didn't know you could sing, so there's an exception. but as time passes by, you've grown and gained experiences, you know you can do it. well written. you definitely got my respect for you. i, somehow feel that i am inspired, too. thanks brooke. thanks a lot. and certainly do wish to listen to your new album as well too. :)

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  3. Great blog, Brooke! It makes me contemplate my own journey as a musician. I know what it's like to be up on a stage and suddenly forget a chord or a lyric. You've put into words what for me sometimes is hard to acertain. Sure, you wear your heart on your sleeve, but it only shows you're truly genuine, not only as a musician, but as a human being. That's what I love about you. You're honest and sincere and I hope you'll never change. And I'm sure you won't. You're as nice and as down-to-earth as they come.

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  4. Brooke, I truly enjoy reading your blogs and especially this one. You’re totally truthful and you put your heart in everything that you do. That is why I am such a fan of yours. You may have confidence problem at times (like all of us) but underneath the cover you are a tough chick. You are very talented and people that really love music know that.

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  5. People have weaknesses or things to improve, it is important to recognize them to grow. Brooke recognized her weakness, fought them and still fighting every day to achieve their dreams.

    Thank you Brooke for each song that has a part of your heart and all your desire to share with us.

    Hugs from Lima Peru

    PD: SORRY ABOUT MI ENGLISH

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  6. Brooke, you are a wonderful girl with a beautiful voice, one who always shows her heart when she sings. You have such pure, raw talent and you're an amazing artist. You've come such a long way from that show and I bet if good old Mr. Bernard Baur could see you now, he'd change his mind :)

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  7. You definitely have to always start somewhere. It's funny that he said you have no heart, and yet the reason I really attached myself to being your fan(as I'm sure many would say) is because of how much heart is put into your music and everything you sing. Maybe the reviewer was just really hard on you, or maybe you've really grown that much, but either way, as you say, "You Have to Start Somewhere."
    One of the reasons I love reading your blogs is because you tell true life stories. Since you're the toughest critic of yourself, and you're able to be happy and satisfied with what you do, then you'll definitely make other people happy too! Anyways, keep it up!

    P.S. I'm sure Mr. Bernard Baur would say just about the opposite now :)

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  8. I feel the same way about being a mom--I make lots of mistakes, and outsiders might judge the way I do things, but I'm always going to wake up the next day and keep trying. :)

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  9. You've also got to consider the source. Bernard Baur has never discovered an artist who went on to wider recognition and success. He's hardly a visionary.

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  10. Hi Brooke - It’s Bernard Baur … I’m sure you didn’t expect to hear from me, but I found your blog very interesting. Many artists are sensitive to “constructive” criticism, just as you were. They’ll focus on one aspect of a review rather than the overall message. You clearly explained why your performance may have come across the way it did. – waaay back then. I simply tried to encourage you to get in touch with the artist in you, to find yourself and project that into your music. Though (now I know) you were green at the time, it was obvious that you had potential. After reading your insights and watching you develop your craft, I would love to attend another show. But, no review this time – just a chat between an artist and a music fan.

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  11. Most excellent Bernard. Tough job being a critic. Even tougher to be critiqued. I remembered this as well. Not too far off from the truth. I knew it was in there, Just needed time and seasoning. Also prop's to Babbling Brookie to not get discouraged but to move and improve. I'm so glad she did. Out of the millions who try few succeed. The odds are against those who become run down and give up. Thanks for hanging in there.

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