Hello Everyone. I hope you are all well and had a nice Christmas and New Year. I had a pretty full on December, going from place to place the whole month. It was good but I’m absolutely shattered now from a year of constantly being on the move. I lived in 38 different places, visited 3 continents and sang in 6 different countries. It’s been an amazing time but it’s now time to just have a little bit of a slower pace for the next few months, so I arrived in Hebden Bridge today to my home for the next few months going ‘woohoo, thank god for that, I might just break down and cry from the sheer relief of having a pitstop’.
I’m done in a bit and I have a cough too that’s put me out of action. The constant trying and putting myself out there gave me a lot but the theme for this year is ‘let it begin with me’. What do I want to make ME happy, and not looking to others or external things to give me that. It has to come from me and working out what I want on a daily basis. Live MY joy (Kyle Gray). I’m pretty good at pleasing others in order to gain some acknowledgement so I feel loved and appreciated and I’m kind of done with it and want some inner change.
So it’s time to beat to my own drum from now on. I spent Christmas with my family for a few days. Caught up with my nieces and nephews and spent time just chatting to my brother. I love those times but I’d already decided I wanted my ‘own’ Christmas too just doing what I wanted and not following someone else’s plan so I went down to London for a few days. I paid the agent in America a lot of money and I wanted to go there to sing to replenish my account a bit and just wander and do what I felt like.
It was heaving with tourists so I knew I could cash in a bit, walk around to my hearts content and please myself. I booked myself into a Gordon Ramsay restaurant for a date night with myself. I’m starting to do things for me instead of thinking at some point someone else will do it for me. Show the love direct and cut out the middle man. I’m also lucky enough to get singing slots through ‘Busk in London’ and they gave me a cracking slot in Hay’s Galleria near London Bridge. The guy before me was singing songs from musicals (the greatest showman and all that) so he had got a crowd and I was thinking ‘jeez, how do I follow that?’ It was a cracking session though.
Loads of people listening and stopping to listen and good vibes all round. I did my hour and my day was mine again, wandering the streets of London working out what to do next. I also met up with my very first singing teacher from when I was 15 who introduced me to opera. We’ve seen each other a few times and she’s the kind of person who is really encouraging and uplifting and I always come away feeling lighter and happier. I was tired when I saw her so a bit grumpy but I came away feeling really good. She’s been strong too her whole life so she gets it and this woman changed my life and was there for me when my home life was not really a happy place and gave me lessons for free and got me going in the right direction towards music college (eternally grateful).
I have to say, sooooooooo many people helped me last year. Showed me kindness and went out of their way to help me and I’m glad I was in a position to be vulnerable and in need of help to just experience what that’s like. I’ve been given a bed for the night, food, had so many laughs, drank champagne etc….., talked crap (or shot the shit as the Americans say), and just reconnected with a lot of people and deepened friendships with others. In that respect it’s been brilliant. I’m good at being there for me but not so good at taking help from others. I just tend to work it out on my own and not rely on people so it’s taught me a lot.
I did my singing on the streets from place to place wherever I went and did my gig in Hebden Bridge and saw my 81 year old singing teacher again. In New York it was awful to go through the stress of thinking nobody was really coming to my ‘A Soprano and a Suitcase’ show, but people turned up on the door. With this gig I thought ‘whatever, not stressing over this one’, and sure enough people came, I did my thing and had a right good drink of Prosecco afterwards.
I am living here for two months. I get to live alone for most of that time and I think I am going to love that. I loved living on my own the whole time I was in Belgium and to have that again for a short time feels like heaven. I have no idea what I will create here or who I will meet. I’ve already been given a bike by someone after asking on Facebook if anyone had one I could rent for a few months. I’m meeting a woman tomorrow about some singing things I can do for the community whilst I’m here and another guy has been in touch about working with some kids and parents in Todmorden, plus I’ll be doing a bit of teaching and getting myself out on the streets. The main aim is to get my arias ready for when I go back to America so I will balance time out for myself, working on those, making a life here and getting out singing for people to keep a roof over my head. That seems to always be the balls I am juggling in the air wherever I go. I was all peaceful and then I heard from the agent yesterday with a receipt for what I paid him which will expire in September of this year.
I was like ‘do I then have to pay you again?’ ‘Yes’ was his reply and I was like ‘errrrrr, immediately going into overdrive in my mind and being back in the stress of ‘how is this all going to work?’ Fear too. It hit me right in my stomach and I go into tough mode.
Like I’m going to pay more for something when I’m not sure it’s even working in the first place. I just really hope that something changes so it’s not a continual stress and I actually earn some money from it at some point and the risks I took pay off. You deal with agents and all the lingo and it just turns your stomach to hear the crap that comes out of people’s mouth. ‘I have faith in your talent’ etc……. I’m sure he does when I’ve paid him so much. Just words all the time. Gets dull after a while but I also know I have to trust and give it time.
I don’t even know if I want to go back and sing in opera houses anyway to be honest. Just let me keep building up my thing and that be the thing that works in the long run. I don’t want to follow someone else’s rules. It’s my way from now on. That’s another thing I’ve learnt. Why am I waiting for someone else to suddenly get things going for me? I’ll do it myself. I have the fricking power. No one has the power over me to make me feel like that, and then the other side of me is like ‘just trust Nick, it’s going to be fine (like let me just cry a bit too).
Anyway, to finish I have two stories to share. I did my gig in Hebden Bridge so went out singing the Sunday prior to it. When I just logged in to do my blog I got this message from someone which although sad was really lovely too:
“Hi. I just wanted to send you a quick message to say how moved I was by your beautiful singing in Hebden on Sunday afternoon. A short stroll with my children turned into the first genuine smile I’ve had in about two months, simply by standing and listening to a genre of music I never knew would impact me. Just over two months ago I was in a car accident which resulted in a fatality. I honestly haven’t felt genuine happiness since. Your singing made me smile, and I felt compelled to tell you this! Keep doing what you do. You’re absolutely amazing. X”
I also met a guy last year there who bought me a beautiful bunch of lilies. At my gig I didn’t wait backstage but went out to chat to people before I started and the guy who gave me the lilies had taken a night off from his job as a taxi driver,
driven all the way over from Lytham St. Anne’s to hear me sing and said he tells his customers about me. If I’d done the normal thing and waited backstage I would never have known that. I give people time and attention and show them I care and that’s what I do. I don’t care about the corporate side of things. Please universe let it go the way I want and let it work.
People say to me ‘why don’t you go on X Factor etc….. or why don’t you and go and work for Andre Rieu?’ I like what Andre Rieu does. It’s for the people and it’s just what I want, but it’s going to be my name people are coming to watch. That’s why I carry on for myself, believing that it is going somewhere and I will be seen and heard…..watch this space (when I’ve had a break of course and worked out what to do next, and trusted and prayed and hoped……you get it. What am I actually doing? Who knows? Maybe it’s a good idea to unpack my suitcase first……