About a month ago, I received a Facebook message from one of my fraternity brothers who lives in Louisiana. He informed me that a well-known, televised singing competition would be holding auditions in Philadelphia and suggested that I make a point of showing up. At first, I didn’t think it would be a good idea. I had pretty much made up my mind that I wanted to be an independent artist. That way, I would still be able to work in ministry and pursue my academic career without having the music industry attempting to dictate every aspect of my schedule. I know I sound like a bit of a control freak, but I’ve always known that I would probably lose my love for music if it ever became my livelihood. Nonetheless, I decided that this audition was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so I couldn’t miss it.
Even though I made up my mind that I would show up for the audition, I never quite lost my ambivalence. A few days before the audition, I remember having the following conversation with my mom:
“I’m not sure if I really want to go to this audition because I don’t think I want to win,” I said.
“What do you mean?” my mom asked.
“If I win, I won’t be able to finish my PhD right away,” I continued, “You know how long I’ve been working on this degree. Besides, winners of reality TV competitions do not always have successful music careers. I think I would want to have my academic career to fall back on.”
Then, I proceeded to go into a long analysis about how difficult it is to actually have a prolonged career in the music industry–especially for people like me whose music would likely have some Christian elements in it.
“Either way, I’m proud of you for even considering this audition,” my mom said, “I know I couldn’t do it.”
The night before the audition, I was texting with another one of my frat brothers who is one of my closest friends. He sees it as his duty to keep pushing me out of my comfort zone since I tend to be a bit of a wallflower by nature. Our conversation went something like this:
“I’m still going through with this audition, but lately I’ve been realizing how much I like my life as it is,” I texted. It was true. I started to realize just how much I appreciate my anonymity. Sure I blog about my life, but I still enjoy the fact that I am not a household name. I like the fact that I can go into a room without people noticing me (though they’ll probably notice my hair, my height, and my wardrobe choices). It occurred to me that this audition had the potential to take all that anonymity away.
“Sometimes, you have to be courageous enough to be something different,” he replied back. I expected as much. That’s how our friendship has always been. I appreciated the challenge and I figured that I had nothing to lose so I went through with it.
I can’t really go into details because of the contract we’re required to sign prior to the auditions, but I can say that I will not be on any televised singing competitions any time soon. A part of me was relieved because it meant that I could continue to cherish my anonymity for a bit longer and finish my PhD as scheduled. At the same time, I was also a bit annoyed. I waited in line in the cold for 2 hours before waiting inside the building for another 5 hours all for a 15 second audition. If I had brought my laptop with me, I would have been able to finish a lot of work while I was waiting. (Spoken like a true
The most awkward part of the experience was realizing that my supporters were actually devastated by the fact that I hadn’t been chosen.
“I’m shocked,” said the Louisiana frat brother in response to the news.
“I’m still proud of you anyway,” said my little brother in the ministry.
“I applaud you for even going through with it,” said my mother who later admitted that she couldn’t come with me to the audition because of her nerves.
“We’ll keep working on your mixtape,” said the supportive frat brother during a phone call that quickly shifted into a strategic planning session.
At that point, I understood why God allowed me to go through with this audition. I have a bad habit of acting like I’m fighting my way through the world on my own, but experiences like this remind me that my friends and family are there fighting right beside me. I am truly blessed to have such a strong support system. Someday, I hope to be able to let them all know that their constant support of me has not been in vain. I will make it somehow. One door may have closed, but there are plenty of others that I haven’t tried yet. Therefore, I’ll keep moving forward with the assurance that God has already created the right opportunities for me and that he will reveal them to me when the time is right. For now, I’ll just continue to enjoy my life as it is because I know it won’t be this way forever.