No man is an island – John Donne
Well as it turns out, nor is any woman.
I’ve been feeling very reflective the past week or so about the career path I have trodden so far, about the people who have helped and been supportive along the way. There are so many instances of people being so kind, giving me a chance, or taking the time to give me some encouraging words. For some reason one episode has come back to me with amazing force, and with a more experienced head on my shoulders, I truly realise how awesome people can be.
I was about 16 years old, and had spent a couple of years heading out to drum shows. I would get chatting, or probably more accurately grilled drummers, asking for advice, stories and how to get more experience as a player. In this time I met drummer, Karl Brazil. He was very lovely and always showed an interest in what I was up to, who I was playing with, and generally giving me great advice.
One day, Karl called me about an audition for a new band that needed a drummer. At the time I though nothing of it. To me it was a completely legitimate audition for a band. I was 16 years old, looked all gangly and awkward, and had a big old mouth full of metal. Hindsight is a beautiful thing.
So on the day, I got to the audition and nervously sat in the waiting room. Karl appeared, being all enthusiastic as he always is, gave me a Discman (yes it was a few years back) with some headphones and a track to listen to and learn. He then left, and I probably spent the next 10-15 minutes learning the song until he re-appeared. Once he did, I was led into the rehearsal room with all the band sitting, waiting. They all seemed really nice, asked if I was ready, which I felt I was, and I played their song along to a backing track. They all applauded at the end, seemed very happy, and asked me some general questions about music, playing etc. I left with my head held high and feeling like the proudest, most confident and professional peacock in the roost knowing that I had done a good job!
I got a phonecall a couple of days later from Karl saying the band really loved me, but I was just a bit too young to be playing the venues they were. It was a shame, but I didn’t feel sad because my age wasn’t something I could help.
I should have said before, but around 2 months prior to this audition, I had been for another audition (also arranged by Karl) that I hadn’t got, and because of the circumstances, it really knocked my confidence, and had me doubting myself. Now, looking back, I realise, I was never going to get that audition at 16 with a mouth full of metal, and I wasn’t there for that reason. Karl bought me there to give me experience, and also confidence that I could do it. Not only that, he roped in the band he was working with to take the time to see me play. This is next level kindness to me, and I know this is not an isolated event. I am lucky to have had, and still have, people on the periphery just glancing over, checking I’m alright and giving a bit of encouragement and belief, when I haven’t had any in myself.
I try to now do this for other people, especially those coming up that seem as desperate as I was to pursue this thing called music as a career – I hope I manage to do as good a job as Karl did for me that day.