March 2016: Can you hear me?

March 21, 2016: SPRING TIME! I've been sitting back healing, taking it easy, being careful. With my singing voice still on the mend, I've had to cancel my April shows as well. Although I miss performing, with all the good stuff happening, I'm thinking I should be sick more often. Even though I am not as active on stage, I've been quite busy writing and seeing the return on my efforts!

Remember my trip to Memphis earlier this year? The agreements that were made? Well, just a few days ago I was singing along to a tune on a Top 40 radio station. Then it hit me as I checked out the other Top 40 stations. This is a new song and I was singing were my own lyrics! Its that moment when you realize that you've been hearing your lyrics on a song you worked on that is sung by a pop artist and is on heavy rotation on Top 40 radio stations! So it's official, I am a writer! A Lyricist, a songwriter. I wonder when the other songs will come out...

Then I get a request to write a play! An actual commission to write a play. I have to admit, it took me off guard but I'm going to do it. Stay tuned! As if my mind isn't busy enough, every week I've been publishing tidbits about experiences in my once-upon-a-time corporate life on LinkedIn. I've received a request to write a book! I am flattered but this one will wait. Writing is really taking me to places I've never thought I could go and I am enjoying the ride.

I haven't quite updated the show calendar but gigs are lining up for May and beyond. I'll be going to do the Etta James Tribute but this time at Violet's Venue in Barrie, Ontario.

But the exciting news I have for you today is that I will be launching a new video! Along with that, there is a contest with it but you'll have to sign up on my FB Artist Page to get the details.

Spring renewal. It's nice to see that the seeds I've planted are sprouting, blooming and flourishing. It's my reward for keeping a steady focus. Yep, I am grateful.

March 15, 2016: The healing process is coming along well. I actually spent an afternoon in a cafe chatting with a friend. It felt so good to be out of the house and see something else. My speaking voice is back, but I still have some work to do about my singing voice.  The time off has given me the opportunity to re-align my projects.  I've been writing quite a bit and enjoying it. Virtual visits are most appreciated; texts, FB chats, emails - they all help pass the days.  As well, I've been memorizing lines for a play that I've been cast in by Brave New Productions, "Sylvia" by AR Gurning. I am playing the role of "Kate"! On another note, that something I told you about last week? Remember? Well, the excitement is building up!  I have a new video coming out and there's is definitely something for you in it. You'll have to join my FB artist page, Carolyn Fe, Actress/Singer/Lyricist and stay tuned for the details!

March 8, 2016: And so it goes. Good news and bad news. Bad news first, April shows have also been cancelled. This is not easy for me to do as you all know, I love performing. But when life deals the deck, there isn't much we can do. So with that, I have no choice but to sit back, rest and write. Let me tell you, I've been writing up a storm. I cannot type fast enough, and that is a good thing. It gets pretty lonely being cooped up inside, but friends have been coming out doing virtual visits. I've been chatting and emailing. It certainly breaks the monotony. Thank goodness for real friends. As well, a couple of radio shows CHMR's Blind Lemon Blues (Nfld) and Cousin Hoagy's Show (Philippines) had and will be doing a tribute in my honor. Other shows have also reached out wanting to do an interview but I cannot speak for a long time. My vocal chords get tired quickly. So they're considering an online chat session where they will read what I type. Thank goodness I type really fast (135 wpm). It certainly feels good to be thought of when one is not present on stage. It confirms that people have been listening, and I am so grateful. I will continue to keep in touch via Facebook, LinkedIn and here in my blog.  I do have a surprise coming up for you so stay tuned...it's a gift.

March 1, 2016:  I've been very sick with acute bronchitis bordering on pneumonia. It’s been a rough 2 months. There were moments when I thought I was healed and then I get knocked down. I had to submit to my good doctor’s “suggestion”. It’s quite impressive that, my doctor’s voice range is normally Alto but quickly rises to Soprano when she’s providing me with “suggestions”. She has excellent vocal control and knows the threshold so that my ears don’t ring.

I’ve acquiesced to her suggestion and have cancelled my shows for the month of March.

I have been on bed rest for the past two weeks. It sucks the big pomelo. I hate backing out of commitments even though logically I know I wouldn’t be able to perform in the manner I am used to giving, and I’d have to postpone other commitments behind the scenes. Commitments like pushing forward with the next album, meetings with some industry folks and the list goes on.

As my niece used to say (at age 6), it’s flusterating!

Despite my current health challenges, I am experiencing a wave. A good wave, and I am trying to ride it as best as I can. The scoop?  The trip to Memphis was great!  I went in time for the IBC but also for some business. It was an eye opener.  Walking down Beale Street, I realised how far my reach was. Here’s what I mean:

-       Hearing my music played on the Main Street trolley’s sound system!
-       Being stopped by complete strangers, who are not online connections, but folks who bought the CDs and really appreciate the work.
-       Some have seen me perform and have pointed out where they saw me: Youtube, Montreal shows, Toronto shows, Maritime shows, and even on TV and Films!
-       One of them who happened to be in Montreal even described my stage persona and when I re-introduced myself was quite thrilled to have me sitting right beside him with no make-up, no glitz 'n sass – just jeans, t-shirt and sneakers with my Shirley Temple talking about all kinds of stuff.
-       Folks calling out my name as I walk around enjoying the sites.

Highlights of the trip were quite bountiful and too many to mention.  As I update my blog, I will certainly add more. But here are the first and most prominent:

-       I got carded! Twice! 54, soon to be 55! Oh yeah!
-       Agreements with some connections made it so that writing collaborations are now well underway. Yep, I write lyrics for people in the music industry! It’s a job that I thought was beyond my reach! I love it! Doesn’t stop me from moving forward on my album, au contraire, it’s inspiring me. It’s a job that I never thought I could have. WOW!
-       The discovery of Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons. We saw them at the quarter finals and knew right away there was something special about them. Needless to say, they won in their category. If I had the energy to produce again, they would be on top of my list.

It soothes my soul to know that all the work I’ve done has actually reached people beyond the small pond that is Quebec. I’ve stuck to my guns about creating and pushing the limits of the Blues, my blues. I love writing, I love creating. I salute the Classics but new material is where my heart's home is. Then there's the business side that takes its toll. I’ve been doing it on my own and it does get very heavy and tiring. I’ve reached out to agents/managers but aside from one very special agent and friend, Barry (RIP), who really understood what I have to offer, the others seem to not get it even though they are good folks with big hearts and the desire to make it work. I am still hoping that there is an agent or manager out there who can see the offering for what it is and know the value of it. It would certainly lighten the load. There were lots of times when I wanted to give up until a well respected US Blues radio host said that if I gave up, he’d come right up ‘north’ and make sure I come back.

Memphis confirmed to me, first-hand, that people appreciate my work. I met with and found affinity with like-minded artists who truly love and appreciate the classics of the blues, but push forward. We agree that there aren’t many of us out there who push the envelope.  We have become friends.  I have connected with industry folks and got the thumbs up. On the way back home from Memphis all the way to landing in Montreal, I’ve received winks of recognition, greetings and quick chats from strangers. It’s been a validating experience. It’s worth more than any award or nomination because this is the audience and they are listening, beyond borders.

This is as much as I can update for now. Please come back for a visit. I have more stories to share with you. When I have spurts of energy, I will update my blog. Y’all come back now, y’a hear?