She was in a city she had never been in before. But Claudia didn’t mind at all. She couldn’t pay attention to anything else. Her turn on stage was scheduled in about two hours and she was very nervous. In the car, she looked at her hands frequently and sang her song in her head, repeating it over and over, in order to prevent any accident to happen. Her hands were already a little bit sweaty and she knew her makeup had to be retouched once they got to the arena, which would be in just some minutes.
Her agent looked at her and told her she didn’t have any reason to be nervous. The contest she was in was crowded with first timers and Claudia was all but that. She had been singing since she was a little girl and hadn’t stop for a moment. Her first public appearance at a singer had been in a local state fair, back when she was only five years old. Even then, people fell in love with her voice and the magnificent range she had. Many people thought her voiced was tricked or something.
But that wasn’t the case. That little detail made her instantly well known among the people of her town as well as some others in the vicinity. That was the beginning of her singing career and year and years of investment in a voice that was very particular but incredible subtle too. People just loved it and she made the effort, every single time, to make the best out of every single concert she had. But, somehow, this contest seemed to really make her nervous, beyond anything she had felt before.
The day she entered the contest, she didn’t really feel she was going to get the spot. After all, many other young singers wanted to be there. The trials for the event were very harsh and it was the first time Claudia was authentically scared for her voice, the reason being she was using it almost everything, without any rest whatsoever. Thankfully, she was able to sing the day she was chosen to be in the contest. The very next day, she decided not to talk for a while in order to preserve her voice.
The car finally arrived to the arena, entering an underground parking lot and stopping just in front a big door and a woman holding a notebook. She was the one verifying everything was all right. She checked their papers and then told them where to go next: the assigned changing room where Claudia would have the chance to dress up for her performance. She had brought a very nice dress that her mother and father had bought for her just after they received the news of their daughter participating in the festival. The dress was just perfect and so were her parents.
She thought of them as she put on the dress, which was blue with many sparkles all around. The outfit came with a pair of earrings and a necklace, both made of silver. They had once being the property of her grandmother, another woman in her family that had been known for her amazing voice but did not have the chance to sing professionally. Partly because she decided to have a family before a career, but also because she had to suffer a lot and singing was not a priority.
Claudia, on the other hand, realized she had never really suffered anything. The irony was in that her song was about exactly that. So she felt a little bit like a hypocrite. So bad she felt, that she decided to try and change the song chosen to be performed in the contest. But it was impossible to change her entry at that late point in the process. She had to sing what she had decided to sing in the beginning, no matter if she liked it or not. She had to look inside herself a connection to the song.
Many people think that’s bullshit. They think that an artist can just speak about whatever subject they want and there won’t be any trouble and all. But that’s not true. If you don’t feel the subject that you’re going to be handling, there’s a big chance you won’t be able to deliver. An artist is supposed to shake you to the core, by making you realize things about yourself that you didn’t even know about. No matter what art for it is, people expect to be moved in one or the other.
That was the problem that Claudia had with the song and she had to really learn the lyrics and understand the meaning in order to find her unique connection to the song. It took her several weeks to connect to it but she finally made it. The improvement of her performance was notable. Before, it just seemed she was a very good singer, doing a nice job with a random song. But after properly exploring it, her voice and the lyrics appeared to turn in the whirlwind of emotions, pure heart.
That’s why she always cried after each performance of the song. She did it all the rehearsals and she did it the night she was chosen to be in the contest. And she will probably do it there again because that was the connection that she had created to her song. She thought about all of this looking at the mirror, once she was fully dressed for her presentation. The first performer of the night was already singing and now she had to go and stand in line for her turn to come. It was nerve-cracking and every other singer there looked worried, none of them tried to hide it.
Thankfully, she was in the middle of a thirty people group. So she didn’t have to wait a long time to sing but she wasn’t thrown into the stage too fast either. She just sang the song inside her head over and over and tried not to look at the other competitors. Claudia also tried to tune out the voice of the person singing at the moment, which was very difficult because only a thick curtain separated the singers on the line from the one performing on stage. It was a rush of energy.
Finally, her turn came. She walked slowly towards the microphone, that way prevent herself to trip or step on her dress or something. She controlled her breathing and closed her eyes the moment she arrived on the spot she had to be in. She had to wait for her music to begin and that seemed to take years. Of course, they were only a few seconds but it seemed forever then. She even had time to think about her parents, the only people she really cared about in the whole world.
The music began and her voice began flowing out of her body, filling every single part of the enormous stage and beyond. People looked at her ecstatic but she didn’t looked at the audience. She was singing to herself and to her parents, looking up, to a point far away into the bright lights that bathed her with a bluish light. Her arms moved, her legs were in tension and her chest was doing a lot of the work. But everything went perfect, even better than expect. When she finished, she cried once again.
The cheers and screams and expressions of joy from the audience were just overwhelming. Everyone seemed to love her song, her voice and her performance. She had really managed to make the song her own and now, even if she wasn’t able to win the contest, it didn’t matter. She had proven to herself what she was capable of and that was something she had not expected to learn there. She had just come to sing and she pulled away from the stage having changed as a person and a singer.