I’m absolutely shattered today but I woke up at 4.30am and couldn’t get back to sleep and then I went to help grumpy but lovely Norma (she really does like a good moan but I do love her) with a singing course she is doing. I sat with a 92 year old ex fashion designer who still looks a cool dude and she gave me her glasses to try on (I said I never look cool in funky glasses).
I’m home for the night and that’s it. I need to rest. This last few weeks has been crazy, but I have some really good news. I didn’t expect this for a second but I just happened to be in the right place at the right time doing my singing thingy on the streets on Thursday outside W72nd Subway station
and a guy walked up to me and asked what I was doing, told me he was an agent called George Martynuk who had worked for Pavarotti’s agent and then for Jerry Hadley and Thomas Hampson, took my card and said he would get in touch. I said I’m singing for the ‘people’ and his words were (pardon my French here people) ‘Fuck the people. Sing in opera houses and make some money’. He told me he would email me and I said ‘I’ll be disappointed if you don’t’, praying for the rest of the afternoon he was going to get in touch. I remembered his first name so had looked him up and found him anyway so I knew I could have contacted him. I sent through my info and video and was upfront about what I am doing, the experience I have had (mostly chorus which usually with agents makes them run the other way because they want people who’ve been out there as soloists doing prestigious stuff for years). I’m tired of hiding stuff so I told him I’ve been doing mainly crossover stuff for people, but I love what I do, I want this badly and I will do whatever it takes to make it work (all down to my gut feeling telling me there’s more out there).
A day later I had a pianist and studio booked and he came along to hear me. I’d looked on his website and already decided I’ll tell him I only want to do crossover stuff then I might have a chance with him. He represents people singing at the Met and Bayreuth (these are top of the game places) and I thought I don’t stand a chance if I want to go down that route. It means I actually felt excited to sing for him. I can sell myself at what I am doing now and want to take it to the next level. So I rocked up, excited (nervous too, don’t get me wrong here people) and sang like a dream. I couldn’t have asked for more from myself in an audition because it’s shit and hard to do and things always go wrong, but I did it and we chatted for an hour afterwards. AN HOUR!!!!!! That doesn’t happen, AND I NOW HAVE A FRICKING AGENT!!!!!!!!! He said you’re like a ball of fire for singing (yep and tick) and you have talent and I like your singing (thanks so much George because I didn’t think I was this kind of level for you as his ideas weren’t for the crossover stuff) and he sent me an email saying ‘you sing with every fibre of your being and that is rare’. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have literally wanted this for years and wondered why it never happened to me, gave up with it, and doing my own ‘Opera for the People’ thing took over, and I knew I was on to something with that but I never stopped working hard on my singing. Most days practising, out singing, listening to singers, going to concerts and operas. I’ve done loads this week. I’ve seen two recitals (one at Carnegie Hall of an amazing clarinettist and one of a violinist who plays a lot for Andrew Lloyd Webber and I was at The Met Council posh dinner/fundraising event (I was given a free ticket), which was really nice and people were friendly, but I felt out of my depth (little old me singing on the streets with singers around me all being primed for The Met who gave a recital). There was an amazing view out of the window of the apartment (that was worth it in itself to be there) and I was stood there near the buffet and the guy in charge said ‘you go first on the buffet’. OK. I took a little of everything and sat down to then see people literally taking a few spoonfuls in all. I was the only one with a real plate of food. I just can’t do this whole being prim and correct so I felt a dick then too. I said to the opera singer opposite me ‘You don’t have very much’ and he said ‘you never know with these things so I had a hotdog before I came’. Ha ha. That’s the real stuff. It was a lovely night though and I’m really glad I went. Got to keep getting myself out there and I came away with two dress rehearsal tickets for The Met’s ‘La Boheme’ the following day which was lovely. Just beautiful. Most of the fourth act I sat with goosebumps coursing through my body, shed a few tears at the end and spent the next 30 minutes trying to get it together again.
I know I’m now going to step into new territory and I have to go full on into my savings to get things off the ground and pay people to help me in coachings and taking myself to the next level. George was honest. There are times it’s going to push me to the limits and I need to be strong as it’s a tough profession but if I don’t give it my all then what is the point? I’ll just go home to England and carry on where I left off and that’s not an alternative. I think the real work begins now so let’s see. There are no guarantees. I know people with agents who get nothing from them. That’s the business. No one knows who will push through and who won’t make it, but I have a shot at it and this time last week I had no idea how that was going to happen.
So it’s signing contracts, focussing on my show on October 27th at 3pm in The Triad Theater on W72nd St, going out singing (still got to keep getting myself out there) and balancing a few balls in the air for the next few weeks. New York certainly doesn’t let me sit back and rest. It’s full on, but I’m glad because this is what I want. This is what my gut has been screaming at me about for the last year and at least stuff DOES happen here. Imagine if I came and I got no opportunities and was just hanging around all the time. I’m proud I’ve had the guts to follow my heart and to keep going. Singing on the streets, not knowing where it would go next, stepping into the dark. My head gets so full at times with it all and it’s singing, singing, singing, singing and then some more that when I see my friends I’m like ‘tell me about you please just to give me some mental relief’. Me and Ellen met last night to go ‘YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ for the whole night, we drank bubbly, ate good food and I stood infront of Mickey Mouse singing The Little Mermaid.
I’ve no idea where it all goes from here but let’s do it!!!!!! Someone actually did enquire this week about me singing some Disney songs at a dinner for Disney itself in London so I might be singing Ariel’s song after all (we all secretly like that one). Whatever pleases the people. I’m scared about my future, I’m excited, I’m hoping I have it in me to up my game, and can do all I get advised to do and find a way to afford it all. It’s never easy is it? Tomorrow I’m back out singing for the homeless so it’s feet on the ground and all that (nothing has happened yet).
Here’s me practising for my show ( a part of my favourite poem set to music by Thomas Dunhill) so tell all your friends in NYC and come along. I need as much support as I can get and it’s going to be a good show. My website is www.iamnicolamills.com and my Facebook page is Nicola Mills Opera for the People.