Airport. A light snowfall (to some would more likely called “drizzle”) is flowing towards the tarmac.
I’m restless. Can’t really focus, so a book is out of the question
My mind wanders, it fumbles, it’s reaching and coming up with different threads
I hear a child speaking in Hungarian, and the strangest part of it all is that I’m on my way to Budapest. To Hungary, for a real live gig.
It has the feeling of an afterthought.
In normal circumstances - as in when I’m not about to be on Live Romanian Television - I would have felt jittery and nervous about this. Now it has a soothing normality about it. Budapest is familiar. Singing in a fancy bar is familiar. I’ve done this before, many times.
When I get really nervous, when I'm on that brink of anxiety or excitement, I feel nauseous.
Part of me would like to trade places with someone else - I suddenly yearn for when I can stay in my pyjamas watching TV all day.
In normal circumstances I would be excitedly nervous about this gig. Now it’s comforting. Because when I think about this weekend it’s a stirring of fear, elation, nausea and joy.
I’m calling this Part One because it’s the first I’m publishing.
But honestly, we’ve come to 3 or 4 in real life: all the paperwork is filed, the music is in place, the outfit planned out and packed. Basically, the only thing left is practice. And breathe.
Very early yesterday, about the time the cows get up and dawn hasn’t even begun to think about rising (why would she, it’s January in Sweden. Too cold) I headed towards the SR Malmö headquarters/radio station (SR stands for Sweden’s Radio). To be interviewed about going to the semi-finals.
The night before I was pondering what they might ask.
I came to a thought, to a realisation if you will. The real Part One to this.
2013 I jumped briskly on a plane to Budapest, to study Hungarian for 6 months. I credit that experience to taking me to Romania. Finding the courage to head into something unknown, leading to a job as a tour guide, leading to Romania, leading to love and leading me to TVR and Eurovision Romania.
But I'd say the pivotal moment in my life as a singer, was that the second - and I mean second - I dropped the waiting for someone else to approve of me.
The moment I no longer waited for “someone” to give me a recording contract, to give me a producer, to give me a songwriter partner, to give me a part in a musical, to give me a job.
No longer waiting for someone “better than me” to tell me that I am good enough.
Instead, I asked myself “if I were, in my own mind, a “REAL” singer - what would my life look like? What would I do? What would I create?”
And I started from there:
I came clean about what I desired (hrm Eurovision) which got me my songwriting partner.
I found producers in Serbia. Because I actively searched for them.
I found a talented videographer in Budapest. Because I actively came looking.
I found a creative visual artist in the Czech Republic. Because I asked for him.
I invested in myself. I PAID for help and for talent.
I contacted places I wanted to perform at and got myself gigs. Where I got paid.
I decided to trust that things would always work out.
So I said yes to gigs even before I knew who I’d play with.
I took initiative on projects before I knew how I’d pay for them.
And it always worked out. As it does.
On Sunday, I’m in the first semi-final of Eurovision Romania 2018, in the city of Focsani, with the song “A Love Worth Falling For”
I am not only the artist. I am producer, composer, lyricist, stylist, project manager and roadie. There’s no management, no consulting firm, no label, no one else calling the shots - I am running my own business.
And within this business, granted there’s a team - beyond my songwriting partners I’ve also had someone help me with the styling, with the background vocals, with press contacts and some of the practical aspects.
Yet, it all comes back to me.
I'ts both a blessing and a curse. There have been days when I’ve been so tired I’ve been close to tears and hid under a very big blanket.
And there's days I'm soaring.
More often than not it’s a joy to bring this together.
And even more - I’m actually really proud.
I have moments of doubt - what if I'm not good enough, what if I'm too non-Romanian, what if they don't like me, what if people at home judge me if I don't get further (strangely Fear Of Falling Of The Stage has not come to play. Yet) etc.
But all of that crap is ego and fear - and pretty idiotic.
So, I’m proud of myself. For being brave. For going for it. For allowing it to happen. For bringing the right people together. For taking not only one, but several leaps.
Two years ago I had no idea I’d be in this moment.
So as the sun suddenly beats down, like silver, on the tarmac outside - I feel pretty good.
And ready for more.