Tuesday 17 March 2015

Wow you wrote a song aged 19....bully for you!

Now, you may not know this about me, I am an avid Radio 2 listener. It all started with Ken Bruce's PopMaster (10.30am weekdays) and the rest is history. I listen in the car, in bed, in the kitchen, in the bath. Whenever, wherever as Shakira would say. So, it will come as no surprise to learn that I was listening to Sir Terry Wogan (is he a Sir now? If not, he should be) on Sunday morning. He had two guests that piqued my interest. Ella Henderson, she of X Factor fame/controversy (she went out far too early - although it probably worked in her favour that she got off that bandwagon sooner rather than later) and Lucy Kay, "opera" singer from Britain's Got Talent. A post regarding Lucy Kay will follow. It needs more research!

Ella Henderson is 19 years old and appears to be sorted. She knows what she wants to do with her voice, with her song writing and, apart from not listening to and answering the questions she is actually asked, she is intelligent and thoughtful about what she says. Or so I thought until she mentioned how she can't believe what she has accomplished at the age of 19. Now, this, in many ways, is a totally valid statement. What she has had the opportunity to do at the age of 19 is incredible. However, I am a little fed up with children, because that is really what she is, using their age to big themselves up. I don't care how old you are if you write a song I want to listen to. Your age has nothing to do with it and you are, quite frankly, belittling your achievements by saying "aren't I amazing, and I'm only 19" (she didn't actually say that sentence but the implication was there). There was a video doing the rounds recently of a 3 year old playing the drums with an orchestra. Now he was amazing! What he did instinctively was unbelievable for a three year old but writing a few songs that people like is great but I don't give a shit that you are "only" 19.

We will all, hopefully, have a Eureka moment at some point in our life, that moment where the stars align and everything falls into place, but is it any less valid if we don't have it until we are 90? I don't think so. We all develop at different rates. Life is not a race and this is what we should be teaching our children. I feel like we are saying if they are not famous before they reach 20 they are failures. I am so fed up of this celebrity culture, particularly celebrity youth culture, and yet I am still drawn to things like X-Factor and The Voice even though I end up shouting at the television. You do not need fame to be happy though I understand the need to get up and show the world what you can do, I do it myself on an almost daily basis. I do think if you want to have a go, have a go. Go on The Voice, go on Britain's Got Talent and give it your best shot then, depending on the outcome, get on with your life.

I am the queen of reinvention. I started out wanting to be a rock singer at school, then I wanted to be in musical theatre, then I trained to be an opera singer, then I went back to musical theatre now I am trying my hand at being a cabaret singer, although I teach to pay the bills right now, so I am one of those people who have yet to find their "purpose". Who knows if I will ever realise what that purpose is.

Life never, or rarely, turns out the way you imagine it will. That, some would say, is the beauty of it, but that does not mean that we should berate ourselves if we have not achieved our goals early on. I always thought I was the hare in the famous fable but the older I get I realise I am the tortoise. I imagine I will get there (wherever there is) one day but until I get there I intend to enjoy the journey and take a few detours along the way. In the meantime can we just appreciate the fact that I am still here and relatively sane aged 40 and 3/4s. To me, that is achievement!

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