Good Morning America!
Well, that happened. I was getting into the car on Monday afternoon with my awesome intern Raylene behind the wheel when my homie Zach, the managerial wunder-force behind Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, asked me if I was ready for a bomb. It was only after I had plopped down in the shotgun seat and positioned my dead hand to grip my knee that he added, “It’s a good bomb.”
The bomb was that the guys had decided to perform “White Walls”, the song I’m featured on, on Good Morning F*cking America (or GMFA, as Raylene and I would affectionately refer to it for the remainder of the car ride) on that Friday. And they wanted me to come along.
When I get awesome, heart-stopping news, I’ve found my defense mechanism is to quickly construct a wall of “to-dos” – the dozens of tasks ahead of me between Point Now and Point AAAA!!! In this case, the task list was formidable: I had worked hard to set up a concert and meetings for my band, The Flavr Blue, in my hometown of San Francisco that Thursday. And after poking around on KAYAK, Zach and I quickly determined that rocking with Flavr Blue at 10:30pm in SF on Thursday, and being present for a 5:30am call time in NYC on Friday, was a physical impossibility.
Flooded with to-dos, sitting in rush hour traffic, Raylene gently reminded me that some things – like GMFA – are worth moving things around to get to. And so with a deeply supportive cast of bandmates, homies and my BF Jeff (who deftly designed this badass website) we made it work. We moved the show back a day, reconfigured travel, and in what seemed like three blinks, I was aboard a flight to NYC with the sunny face of my guy Wanz seated across the aisle.
My friend Chris Kissel snapped this from the crowd. I’m the one in the white dress.
GMFA was to be my first nationally televised performance, and that made me a little kooky. I am grateful that live performance is a second nature to me; with the energy of an audience, I am at ease. But TV? Studio audience? Live stream of the nuances of my voice? What if I’m flat? What if my face looks ku-razay in HD? I was relived and further stoked to know we’d be rocking Central Park’s SummerStage – a HUGE honor, and a crowd! I knew I could do crowds, focusing on the faces of those who streamed into the park pre-dawn to see us perform instead of the internalized micromanagement for a TV appearance. All I had to do was keep my limp hand solidly on my hip, not totter in my heels, and do what I know I can. And so I did! With the moral support of my winglady Janae Jones and the energy of all the talent that makes up M&RL’s live experience, I really did have an amazing time. I gussied it up and gilded myself, I guzzled lukewarm water and weak coffee, and sang on network TV. Whooaahhh.
Me backstage with the amazing Mackelorettes, the bombest dancers of all time. Photo by my girl Janae Jones.
Then, two hours after I stepped offstage, I was chillin’ at JFK waiting to board my flight to SFO. So I write you now on that flight, so very stoked to rock with my guys for a crowd of my hometown homies and my whole family.
This is an exemplary day for me but this is an everyday thing for the M&RL team, who never fail to impress me by how present they are. Rockstar schedules, rockstar looks, rockstar stages, with all the same graciousness and consideration of their fans and their opportunities as ever. After their three-song segment stopped filming, M&RL performed two more songs to give the audience a show. The GM(F)A staff couldn’t stop remarking on how awesome it was to have genuine performers on the SummerStage.
I truly never thought I’d be privy to the opportunities I’ve had on this journey with my mega-talented and dedicated friends, and never thought I’d be a degree separated from for-real one of the most popular new artists in the world. But, I do know on a baseline level how many years, sleepless nights, plane flights, missed parties, shitty venues, open browser tabs, infinite e-mails, and at the very least 10,000 hours it’s taken Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and their team to achieve what appears so polished and effortless. Success means sacrifice and a shit ton of work, and may I never forget that as I strive to hustle harder and be better every day as an independent artist.