I’m back in the UK now. I arrived on Friday morning and am just trying to adjust to being back. It’s a weird feeling. A part of me is glad to have a bit of a break from it all over there, but then a part of me knows my life IS over there and I don’t belong here anymore. I can be here and get on and do my thing, but I don’t see myself setting up here again. Not properly. I wish I did in some ways. I could just say ‘yep, I did New York, had a great time and now I’ll just get on and be here now’, but that’s not the right path. My path is taking me over to America so it’s a few months here again and then it all starts again over there. I feel like I’m a bit in ‘no man’s land’. I’m not moaning. It’s all fine. Just how it is right now. There are days where I feel like ‘what the hell is going to happen and how is this all going to work out?’ When will it end that I go from place to place? Like I said in my last blog post I have no answers right now. None. Just have to get up every day and do the day I am in and just let it all unfold and believe that it will all go as it should and I have nothing to worry about really. I’m on the road less travelled and am just doing it ‘my way’. A woman where I was singing a few weeks back gave me an envelope of these bits of paper that she had cut out for me whilst I was singing. I take one out every day and it does help actually. I’ve had ‘faith, trust, acceptance, love’ and a whole lot more.
What did I do in my last couple of weeks in New York? I had a few coachings with my pianist. Trying to get them in before I left. What I have to do now is get my arias together and really work on them so that I build up the stamina and muscle memory and technique aswell as the musical side of things, the language and the interpretation. This can take quite a few months to just keep working the music into my body so my work now is to be ready for when I return so I can really start getting myself out there for the opera and concert work and be taken seriously. I need to get to the point where I can sing these things standing on my head if I needed to. That’s my challenge. I have to have 5 arias of different styles, languages and composers ready. I’ve got some Mozart, Dvorak, Britten and Verdi to get ready. I won’t have much of a chance in December as I’m all over the place singing and travelling around but once next year begins and I have a place for a few months in Hebden Bridge (renting from a friend who is away for a couple of months) I can really do some good work on them. I’m not sure if I trust the agent yet or not. It’s very difficult to know if he’s going to be any help at all. A part of me can’t even imagine it not working with him but I have to also prepare myself that he may not be able to help me and I paid money for this. It’s not been easy the last few weeks dealing with that. Is it just someone else who talks the talk and doesn’t walk the walk? Will I actually get any opera work or is it game over? Am I good enough to get work at a higher level? I just don’t know. There are times I get really disheartened with this whole singing thing in general. You have a gift, you work and work at it and it’s just so difficult to actually do anything with it and make it all work.
Last weekend I took my old lady friend out for a little bit of a birthday lunch. The one who had marched with Martin Luther King. A lady named Anne. I knew she was going to be alone and I think someone should be made to feel special on their birthday. I really like birthdays. We sat chatting ( I love chatting to people listening to their stories from their lives). I asked her if she could give any advice to younger people about life what would she say to them? This is what she said:
‘Do what makes you happy’.
‘Be kind to your neighbour’.
‘Enjoy life to the fullest’.
‘You have to have a goal in life. You can’t just exist’.
I think me and Anne have a lot in common. Her list makes a lot of sense to me and a least I’m out there giving it my all. I definitely have a goal. My goal is to sing for ‘the people’. I’m doing my Disney gig this week in London and I’m actually really looking forward to it. I get to sing some cheesy stuff like ‘Part of your world’ and ‘When you wish upon a star’. I’m learning the words and the ‘Pinocchio’ one keeps sticking out to me, and helping me when I’m full of doubt:
Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and pulls you through. When you wish upon a star your dreams come true’.
I’m wishing and dreaming every day. I feel it so deeply that I will get the things I dream of from within, that if I didn’t have my gut instinct moving me on and constantly reassuring me I think I would be a basket case, but it keeps me strong and it keeps me grounded as I travel on this rocky, scary, but exciting road. I’m learning to let go, and trust that I don’t need to be working like a dog to get things to happen. Other factors and things come into play. I am constantly being helped by something greater than me. I strongly believe that. This is my mental work every day. Not to be sucked into fear, but to just know I will do everything I’m meant to do and not to panic. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for which brings me to ‘Thanksgiving’.
I had a great day. It was freezing. The first really bitterly cold day but I went to my friend Ellen’s for some girlie chat and to make some cheese and mustard scones as my contribution, and then we went to her friends place (also called Ellen).
I could not have asked for a nicer place to go to. I immediately felt so welcome and the food and decor were gorgeous. Really artistically done. There were cocktails, smoked turkey from Texas and creamed corn (never had either of those). I met people from Venezuela, Bermuda, Oklahoma and a lady who had climbed Kilimanjaro. Like I say I love chatting to people and hearing their stories so it suited me down to the ground. A brilliant day. Just good vibes all round.
I tried to pack as much in before I left. I saw my friends, drank, ate, went to the Met Opera with my friend Marc. He got us $20 standing tickets and said we’ll go and find a seat. Ohhhhhhh, I really don’t like that. I tried it one time at The Royal Opera House and nearly got thrown out, but it was easy at the Met. They have standing seats at the back of the stalls so we just stood there and then rocked up to two seats on the 6th row just before it started. We felt quite smug. Nothing like beating the system a bit and getting a bit of a freebie…..We saw Boito’s ‘Mefistofele’, based on Faust by Goethe. It was good. I enjoyed it but I do wish I could hear more singers singing from the heart. I just don’t see it so much these days. Sometimes I think it’s me being fussy but I just love to be moved by singers and it doesn’t happen so often. It was lovely but that’s the one thing I miss.
It’s back to being here now. Getting on with it. I’ve seen my sunsets at Brooklyn Heights, and I’ve seen the Christmas lights and markets in New York.
At least I had all those opportunities to sing for people and meet people too. I said a temporary goodbye to the people at my Homeless kitchen on Mondays. I ended up singing for them last week as the musician had cancelled so that was a nice way to say goodbye. I love to give and I love to help and I will miss this on Mondays. I’ve go to London tomorrow and then over to Belgium on Thursday for a few days and then I’ve got my concert in Hebden Bridge on December 19th in the Town Hall to promote. More stress of getting people in. I had enough of it in NY doing my show but this is all part of it. I never used to organise anything myself and would wait for others to give me work, but I’ve learnt to get stuck in myself and just do the things I love for people. You can reserve tickets through my website http://www.iamnicolamills.com and through this link:
or you can call me on 07838360195. I can assure you that I will do my best to make it an awesome night (got all kinds of Americanisms going on now). I’m going to miss my city of hustle and being called ‘honey’, but I’m already loving that everything is much cheaper here and it’s warmer. I sang in Altrincham today and they have a lovely posh market every Sunday. Loads of creativity and good food going on and I saw some posh onion bread for £2.20 and was like ‘is that all?’ IS THAT ALL? No more tips all the time and tax on top too. Bliss for a while. Like I say I’m neither here nor there and if someone can tell me what I’m actually doing then please do so……….one day it will all make sense!!!
Here’s a few of my pics
Bye for now……