Saturday, March 19, 2011
Conquering Magic City
On Tuesday Atlanta’s popular radio station V103 hosted a private listening party for Chris Brown new album (FAME) at 595 North. Unsure if I was going to be able to attend, I called my friend Jai in hopes of her being able to get me an extra wristband of the party. Sure enough Jai got me in the place to be. When I first arrived it hit me, Chris Brown(better known as Brezzy) has definitely gone BLOND. Its one thing to hear about his hair change but it’s another thing to actually see his new blond look up close and personal. I quickly got over the new Blond Chris Brown and noticed other famous faces at the party, like Polow tha Don, Akon, and Ludicris just to name a few. Chris Brezzy performed a few of his new hits and showed much appreciation to his fans for their support. The album sounds pretty good. Most of the songs are centered round the title (FAME), so it’s like the great, the good, and the ugly (there’s not much bad really when you’re rick…lol).
My friend Jai is a well respected radio producer in Atlanta, so she knows everybody. She was kind enough to introduce me to V103 radio personality Greg Street. It was so cool to meet him finally since I grew up listening to him in Dallas on 100.3 jams (old school… it’s 6 o’clock it’s time for Greg Street to Rock (lol). Jai told me that he host Industry Night at Magic City and encouraged me to go on Wednesday. I thought to myself, isn’t that a strip club? She told me a lot of local producers and various A&R reps go, in hopes of discovering hot new talent. All I could think about was, IT’S A STRIP CLUB!?!?!. She insisted I go because most of the talent that attends the event was rappers and hardly ever do singers come out. Later that night, I thought about it while getting ready for bed and realize that Magic City couldn”t be too bad. It’s the strip club of all strip clubs. It’s the strip club that put Atlanta on the map. In fact it is so popular that its mentioned in more rap songs than drug dealers pushing weight…well maybe not that many times , but it’s up there(lol). Plus the strip club is where Young Jezzy got his big push (that may not be the best analogy, but whatever works (lol). The decision had been made I was going to Magic City.
When I arrived to Magic City the next night I was greeted by Big Buff, the security guard (his name says it all). Dressed in all black, he padded me down, checked my ID, made small talk and introduced me to the intimating lady behind the front door booth as Lola, the singer. I notice a sign that read $15 for entry. I asked if that was the charge for Industry Night, she responded “it’s the charge for every night” (lol). As intimidating as the lady was, she cut me a deal. She said, “if you sing tonight I wont charge you”. I took the deal (what the hell did I do that for. I came to network, not sing!, I didn’t even have a instrumental track with me). Panicking, not sure how I was going to pull this off, I started to think about my options. I remembered I had my demo I recorded in college in the car. I l listen to it from time to time as a form of encouragement, and motivation. I went to my car, got the CD and handed it to the DJ. Relieved that I had come up with a plan I sat down and took a deep breath and then I realized I had another problem. I am about to sing at Magic City (I mean really who sings in a strip club). I know “they say” be prepared to sing at any given time but I am pretty sure they weren’t talking about Magic City. I had given up alcohol for lent, so a much needed drink was completely out of the question. I found a seat directly in front of the exit, wanting to just run out the place all together, I stayed put waiting for Jai to show up. While waiting for Jai, a guy asked if he could buy me a dance, I politely declined his offer,queity singing I need you now by "Smokie Norful" . When she arrived she could tell I was so nervous and was about pass out. I told her I hadn’t really interacted with anyone because I committed to singing after some new rap group. Jai was excited and proud (I was noxious). Jai could see my lack of confidence and reminded me of the time in college that she came to hear me sing at a club outside of Auburn Alabama. The town was so small that the name of the night club was called “The Club”. She said to me now if you can sing at a place where outside plumbing is a way of life then this strip club should be cake walk. I laughed and felt relieved by her words of encouragement and I relaxed, just a little.
I watched the featured rap group perform on stage and saw that the dancers were dancing during his show. I figured it was part of the rap group’s act and thought nothing of it. The DJ called my name next (it’s show time, I thought). The DJ instructed me to stand at the end of the stage because they were having mic problems. When I got on stage I notice that the dancers were still on stage. I kindly leaned over and asked Big Buff if the dancers would be dancing while I sang. He nodded with a smile, yes (OMG, Houston we have a problem). For all who have never been to Magic City, the stage is shape like an over sized capital letter “I or H depending on how you look at it. The dancers (naked) danced right in the center of this over sized I/H, and I was standing on the edge of the stage closest to the bar, and DJ booth. As I stood at the edge of the stage (and did NOT move the whole time) closed my eyes, and clinched the microphone like it was a Baptist Christians bible. The track started and I begin to sing. I sang the first song I had ever written and recorded titled “Tonight”. As I started to sing, I started to relax enough to open my eyes. I noticed people stopping to listen. I saw the bar tender stop serving drinks, then the few dancers on the floor stopped dancing. The cook leaned out the kitchen window, the front entry door swung open and the intimidating lady watched with amazement. Jai knew the words to the song, so she was in the corner just singing away like a proud momma (lol). But the craziest part was when this man out of nowhere just threw a fist full of money on stage (he made it rain, too funny for words). I finished the song and felt relieved and very proud I conquered something that seemed like the impossible. Some of the dancers asked for a copy of my song , while the local producers asked for my information. I felt like the main attraction for a few minutes, until Jai and I left. The DJ told me he fucks with my music; yes those were his exact words. The whole night was unbelievible.
As I got ready for bed that night, I was very please and impressed with my accomplishment. It wasn’t the fact that I had sang at a strip club, it was the fact that as a professional singer I survived the most unpredictable circumstances. It helps to have a friend that there for support as well. Thanks Jai.
Life can put you in the craziest situations, if you survive them, you’ll become more confident in yourself than you ever were. To my friend that is in an awkward situation, do what you have to do to survive and in the end you’ll laugh about how it wasn’t so bad.
Til Next Time