I’m just sat in my sublet in Bushwick, Brooklyn listening to an 80’s playlist on Spotify as I write. Whitney Houston and all that. I’ve been here for just over two weeks and I really like living here. The area is cool and down to earth, with a good community vibe and I have nice housemates and a nice rooftop. Woohoo!!!! That is definitely a good extra little thing to have. It’s nothing fancy. Just a rooftop with some graffiti on it, but it’s a rooftop all the same.
My friend Marc came over last weekend to have food and we sat on the rooftop listening to music in the rain looking out to the Empire State building all lit up in the distance. I love classical music so was showing him some of my favourite pieces and he was introducing me to hip hop. Hip Hop!!!!! Never really listened to it before but I liked it and ended up after some prosecco dancing on a rooftop to hip hop. You’ve got to try everything once. I loved it!!!! All this street talk (bitches this and mother f that). I was laughing my head off.
I have to say without wanting to sound all smug, but I really am having a great time over here. Yeah, I have my shaky moments of a bit of loneliness and a bit of what the hell am I actually doing? This is nuts etc……but I think anybody would in my situation. I cannot get enough of this place though. I really honestly love being here. I love the vibe, the people, the craziness, the way of life, the positive mentality of people. I’m not knowing whether to use an American word or whether to stick with English. You go through it in your head (shall I say the trash can or the litter bin, toilet or bathroom, hanging out or meeting up, cab or taxi, awesome or brilliant…..ha ha, decisions, decisions.
So I’ve just come back from Atlanta where I was visiting my friend Andrea. She sat infront of me last year in the spiritualist church in Notting Hill and I was singing hymns in her earhole. We got chatting after, and I showed her round London a bit the day after and the rest is history. She’s been to see me in New York when I’ve been over the last few times so it was my turn to fly to her. She took me to ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ for a few days to see her daughter in her college productions (when I saw the ‘welcome to sweet home alabama’ sign I was like ‘yeah, cool!!!’).
We bought green tomatoes for ‘fried green tomatoes’ at the side of the road with big juicy watermelon and fresh corn and went back to her place just outside Atlanta for a few days of chilling, hanging out (told you I was getting all American), chatting, eating and sitting on her decking looking out at the forest that is her garden. Just really good to have a few days off from thinking about singing. I need that sometimes or else it’s just continual singing, singing, singing in my head, and what do I do next? I saw birds in her garden, a doe came along for some food, a chipmunk. There were vultures overhead, hawks, fireflies lighting up their bums in the dark, and then last night we were looking at the stars and a shooting star ended the evening. Pretty brilliant few days. She took me to see her favourite tree near the lake (I love a good tree)
and we both bid each other farewell today wishing it could have lasted longer. I feel lucky that I’m getting to do so much whilst I’m here. Got to just enjoy it all whilst I can.
I do this blog every two weeks and I think what will I write and then I look back at my photos and think ‘jeez, I did that and that and that’. A lot flippin’ goes on. I sang at a Senior Center on the Upper West Side (Old folks home to us Brits) and my friend Norma came to watch. She’s one of the ladies who is helping me out here (taken me under her wing) so I was bit anxious to have her there incase she didn’t like what I did for people (she’d not really seen me perform properly and I wanted to impress her), but she liked it and we are in regular contact. She’s a pretty cool lady, full of character and New York honesty. If I listened to her I would just go home tomorrow because she reminds me every time I speak to her of every negative thing about what I am doing, but I see she cares and I really appreciate her help because she really wants to help me. I sang for the homeless too last week. There’s a lady called Margo
who has also taken me under her wing. I sang for 400 people, just chatting, going to their tables, doing my thing, spreading my love of singing and it was such a rewarding night. Smiles on faces, happy punters, happy volunteers. I got so many lovely comments and Margo was waiting for me at the end with chocolates, flowers and dinner she’d put aside for me to take home (made me laugh that she’d done that). This woman knows what I like!!!!!!! I’ll be going next week to serve the dinner to the people.
This is what I got sent by the organiser:
I’ve been doing my Central Park thingy
and had a meeting with a guy called Bernie Furshpan (love the flippin name in itself) last week who wants me to sing in his theatre (got a try out first on Sunday) and then the possibility of doing my own show there (the one I did in Belgium a few years ago) later in the year to get some exposure. He really liked my story and what I’m doing and my courage in following my gut. We chatted about that for an hour and then he said come and sing at the theatre and let’s interview you too for the audience, so I’ll go and sing ‘I could have danced all night’ and do some Julie Andrews for the Americans. It’s pretty current here right now so it’s good to sing what people really know. There’s always something keeping me dangling here with the next thing. It just unfolds when I put myself out there and I haven’t missed home at all (sorry England). I just feel this ‘knowing’ inside that I’m doing the right thing being here and that it will all work out. It’s like no matter what anyone says my intuition and inner knowing is so strong that I stay in this place of feeling positive about it all even when I just have no idea how I will make it all work.
It’s a busy week coming up. Lots of singing in different places (libraries, theatres, parties and senior centers) so I’m keeping my head down and making sure I’m on top for it all. After all it’s what this trip is all about. Friends are coming (me and Ellen and some of her buddies)
(New York Philharmonic Orchestra in Central Park last week) and I’m enjoying building up relationships with people. I know some good places to go out and eat now but can also happily entertain myself ‘people watching’ in the parks and having little conversations as my day goes on (and sitting on rooftops). The sun really shines here which is another thing to be happy for. I thought my white British skin would never get any colour but this year I’m actually getting to spend some real time in it. I’m like ‘get me out in that sun’ as much as I possibly can. I truly feel lucky to be experiencing this. No matter what happens at the end of it all, I will honestly look back on this time and say in true American style that it’s ‘awesome!!!!!’, and it’s awesome some more and then it’s awesome again. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I’m actually here living in New York. I’m not going to think about flying home in just over 4 weeks (oh god!!!!) but that in 10 weeks from now I’ll be back again for the next part of the adventure. Thanks for following what I do and following my story. Here’s a little snippet of me singing earlier this week that someone recorded for me and for all other news follow my Facebook page, Instagram and check out my website at www.iamnicolamills.com