Competitions and My Last Minute Band
I have been in countless competitions, like a bunch. Big ones, small ones, great ones and terrible ones. Honestly, I have always disliked them very much, but they are really good for you to help you grow as a musician. The pressure, the intensity, the talent, the comparisons, the exposure, and sometimes the prizes. When you are trying to get better at stage presence or just working on your nerves it is so good for you to place your self in that position where you better not let nervousness take control or you will lose. Also you better find whatever extra talent and personality you have and leave it on the stage or again you will lose. Its very motivating. Its like the fast track to growing and learning. When you win its a confidence builder. When you lose you always learn areas where you can improve and do things differently to get better.
For me as a person who is fiercely competitive - like ridiculously competitive. I race myself to beat my own time doing stupid stuff, I race my GPS, I find some way to make everything a competition. It's a character issue, I'm working on it! Doing little contests were fine and my competitive nature was under control knowing these people had been doing it way longer than me and I was ok to not win everything all the time. But when I started to really be doing very well in all that I entered and would get soooo close only to get 2nd place just about every single time. I started getting really frustrated. I NEVER mind losing to someone clearly better than me, I'm really not a sore loser. There will ALWAYS be people better I am TOTALLY ok with that- thats what keeps us all growing. But when you KNOW you had it. When you just know this was it and the audience and the other competitors afterwards would say man you got robbed, I just knew it was you, you absolutely should've got first. Sometimes even the judges would say, you were better but they brought more people with them so they had more crowd vote or more people to cheer louder for them that's the only reason we couldn't pick you etc. etc. etc. It soon became clear this had nothing to do with me or my talent or my effort this had everything to do with "Life Lessons Straight From God!' Clearly I needed to deal with my competitive nature and the amount of pressure I put on myself and whether or not I was the winner or loser. Clearly God was dealing with me in a very, very obvious way. Once I figured that out it was a whole lot easier to recognize what I really needed to work on and that had nothing to do with what song I sang!!
Eventually because of kids and life and being in and out of music stuff I really didn't do anymore at all. Then over this past year playing solo at many places I wasn't really interested in doing any contests.....until several friends told me about this Pepsi Southern Original Contest for the Gulf Coast Jam. I had to send in a couple of original songs. That was it. I saw the prize was to open for Lynard Skynard and Eric Church and I was like "ummm yes please!!" So I emailed them my songs Guns and Glitter and Faster. I never thought anymore about it.
Then I get an email a few weeks later that I had been selected to be in the top 24 going to the semi-finals .....in one week!!! Yayayay!! Oh wait... I had to have a band, drums, bass, and guitar was the minimum ... I know lots of awesome musicians, but I had ONE week to find some people willing to learn my songs decently close to the recordings, drive to Dothan, AL super duper late and rock it out on stage, with only one night to practice. That was the other kink, the week of the contest I was scheduled to play Tues, Wed, and Thurs nights at different places, then the contest on Friday, That like never happens. I have my 3 kids so I try not to keep my schedule too full. I usually only play a few times a month.
So this was all between like the Thursday and Friday night. I get to messaging and talking to a few different musicians. Things were looking ok, like I could pull it together. Well by the time Monday came along all I had confirmed was a bass player whom I had never met. We got coffee and he said so what happens if we can't find a drummer and a guitar player?! - at that moment I was still hopeful. I'm like surely we will be able to. I was determined to make it happen!
By 3:00ish we still didn't have a band. I was really starting to give up and thinking I was going to have to cancel. I prayed one last time if it was His will then send me just the right people, if not I would take that as I didn't need to do it. I was talking to my non musical friend who said let me ask my friend if he knows anyone....
Within an hour I get a call from a heavy metal drummer named Jack. He said "Yeah I'd love to do it, never really played country music, but I'm sure we can." He also said "I have a killer guitar player, who is also a heavy metal guy, just no bass player." That was a perfect match because all I had was a bass player!! I said today was our only day we could really practice...worked fine for them! Within a few hours we were working on the songs they literally just heard for the first time. They were awesome.
We didn't have time to go over a third "just in case they ask for it song.' So we decided on Mama's Broken Heart. They would learn it through the week and we would "wing it." Scary I know but we pulled it off.
Friday came. We talked through the songs in the back room. Played our set and hoped for the best. The songs weren't perfect, but they were rockin and it was like a 4 day musical miracle! I could not have been happier, win or lose. Which was great progress for me because I was totally fine with whatever the outcome was.........
The next week they announced the finalists and they said my name!! Sooooo excited!!!
This time we have had a month to prepare which has been much, much better. They are amazing musicians and really nice guys and I couldn't have pulled it off without their mad skills!
Finals are September 1, 2016 at Ms. Newby's in Panama City Beach, Florida. The other competitors are AWESOME and while 1st place would be fabulous truly making it this far under these circumstances was super fun and a great ride. The final outcome is just a bonus ..... see how much progress I have made in my competitive nature?!