Forty-Something Pop Princess – Just not done yet

“The problem you have, is that the radio station you are dealing with is sexist and ageist.” He continues, “You are this hip, intelligent, Indian woman, whose music is well crafted. You look and sound great…it would be a different story if you were 19.”

I’m on the phone to an agent, whom I’ve been chasing for months. I am not remotely shocked or horrified by what he says. I just smile wryly.

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In truth, the 19 year old me did not have the focus or tenacity to follow anything through. She flew by the seat of her pants, falling into a variety of situations and either getting the hell out and or trying to make them work.

The 30 year old me was starting to have a clue about life, and what she really wanted. But the proposition was not straightforward with an ambitious husband climbing the corporate ladder – hardly around, and a toddler under each arm.

“So this is what I think you should do,” he continues. I am happy to be having this conversation. This agent is talking a lot of sense. He tells me the music industry is hard (I know that), he tells me that time is not on my side (yep, I know that too) and that I probably should have started earlier (preaching to the converted, love) but then oddly, he tells me to see my pop project through.

My mind flits to the Adeles and Emelie Sandes of this world. I have to give these girls a huge amount of credit. In their 20s they are exactly where they want to be, doing what I want to be doing…how did they know how to get there?? I just didn’t have the road map or the luck…yet…

“Basically singing pop and pitching to National radio, you are up against Beyonce, “ he concludes. Oops I think, I’m f***ed.

I have been a professional singer for a long time now. Not wanting to sound all X factor, but I have always known I wanted to sing…maybe the Indian Madonna (!), or even high kicking my way into the West End or being in Fame (my generation’s Glee…in case you didn’t know).

I have always found my way to Jazz and blues, possibly aided by my first boyfriend – a blonde-haired, blue-eyed saxophonist. But I have always adored pop in any guise.

Hooked to radio and TV, religiously taping (yep, I’m that old) the top forty songs I loved, glued to the Tube and Top of the Pops and ridiculously excited by a new discovery in Our Price. Ah, how I miss the days before downloading…

So, about two years ago, I met my manager, as an opportunity presented itself and I embarked on writing and recording “grown up” pop. This was a huge change in direction for me.

I have a newfound respect for good pop. It is tight and exacting, there is no room for error (or as I like to call it – improvisation!). The writers and producers have fantastic ears and the process is as creative and intense as the other musical genres I have been immersed in – namely classical and jazz.

So, I have two singles we are working for radio play. I keep getting told the producers love the songs and that we are close to something happening. I am, in a lot of ways, living my dream. I do this because I am passionate and compulsive about my music. There is nothing I’d rather do.
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But there is a part of me that feels the need for recognition and validation – probably a self-esteem thing. To clarify, I don’t want to be in Heat magazine, just busy…really busy – creating and performing.

The biggest frustration of all is people “in the industry” tell me I’m really good. The whole package is great and very marketable. And yet, no one is willing to take a chance on me (did I just quote Abba??). Sometimes I wish someone would just say, “You can’t sing and look like a dog’s dinner, “ then I’d know.

Possibly, I am a fool. I am aware of this. But I am not ready to put my dream away, certainly not because I’m not the right age…or to put it another way – too old.

By a Forty-Something Pop Princess – Just not done yet! 🙂

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