Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Simply Lola: Becoming Popular
As an intern at Def Jam/Disturbing Da Peace I did many different gofer jobs. Like making lunch runs for the office, getting fries from Philly Connection for Ludacris, answering the phones and listen to every unsigned rapper in the world rap on the phone and ask me if their shit was hot, in my most sarcastic tone I would respond by saying, yeah sure your shit is hot , good luck and just hang up. I sometimes had to play security when unfamiliar groupies would lie and say Luda or a label executive was expecting their arrival. Frustrated with my crappie workload, I wore the many hats with one goal in mind and that was to become a signed artist on the popular label. I figure it couldn’t be that hard because Black Berry Malaises Boy (Bobby Valentino’s nick name at CAU) got a deal and he was the least popular of the girls on campus. Many at CAU however, loved me; I was involved in school activities and was always singing at an event on campus. So when there was a need for a female artist I was confident that I would be considered. I remember the day as if it were yesterday I walked in the small office building directly towards Chaka Zulu (Ludacris manager) office and knocked on the door. I was nervous but I knew this had to be my big break, a chance of a lifetime. His assistant told me to come in. I took a deep breath, and walked in the crowded office. On the couch was the big boss of Ebony Sun Management Jeff, an up and coming rapper named “titty boy” worse name ever, and some A&R guy. Still very nervous I stood at the door and in a shy voice said, I heard that label was looking for a female artist to sign and I would like to be considered. Not really moved by my presence or my words I walked over to Chaka stereo system and asked if I could play them what I had recorded. It was a senior in college and I had only recorded one song titled “Tonight”. The song played for about 30 seconds and I was asked to pause the song. Chaka said I had a nice voice, pleased by his response I smiled as a way of saying thank you. Jeff unmoved by my attempt and waved me off and said they’d get back to me. A few days went by and I asked Portia (an executive for the label) if there were any word on them signing a female singer. She said yeah, they just signed a girl by the name of Sherfa. I could feel my heart drop into my stomach and my tears making its way down my face. Portia close the door to her office gave me a hug and said (Lola, don’t cry you have a great voice, but its not what’s popular right know) she continued to say the music game is tough and you never know one day the music game just may change and my sound might have a voice .
The word that stuck with me from that day forth was “popular”. I figured in ordered for my dreams to come true I had to make my sound popular. Therefore, I spent many years trying to do just that. I stopped being passionate about music and singing and started to become obsessed with being a popular singer. I made every attempt to sound like Brandy, Beyonce, Monica, and who ever else was “popular” at the time. It became so much of an obsession that even in my dating life I would do my best to transform into what the “popular” woman looked like. I even cut my hair short so that I would resemble Halle Berry, I mean she was listed as the most beautiful woman in the world. I found myself doing whatever it took to look like and be like the “popular” single singer, so much as to become bulimic. It was not until a few weeks ago while recording a song I wrote that I realized my obsession with being “popular” was ruining my life.
I was listening to the final cut of what I recorded my vocal arranger Eric, said it sounded good but he needed me to be more expressive in my delivery. Unsure of what he meant I asked him to explain. He told me that he wanted to hear how I (Lola) feels about what I am singing about, and even went on to say since I wrote the song I should tell the story.
The next morning as I was washing my face, I thought about what Eric said to me. I looked in the mirror and realized I was exhausted with forcing myself to look and sing like the “popular people”. I opened my bathroom cabinet got out my diet pills and flushed them down the toilet. I got dressed and made the decision that I just wanted to be myself. I no longer had a burning desire to be “Popular”, but I developed that burning desire to just be the best Lola I can be.
The revelation for my life came to me overnight, but the change for my life will take its course one day at time. To my friend who is reading my words there is only one you, do not sell this world short.
Til Next Time