I have never been one to complain, but I’ve done some of the worst jobs imaginable. I was a garbage man for a while, spent some time working in retail, even tried to make it as a plumber, but I just could not find the strength to stick with any of them. I wanted to do something that I would look forward to every day. I wanted a job that would allow me to be creative. I wanted something that would make people say, “Wow, Kelly is so good at what she does, I couldn’t picture her doing anything else.” So I decided to do a little digging.
First, I thought maybe I could become some kind of author. The only problem is, I’m not great at stringing words together and making them sound pretty or interesting or suspenseful. So I scrapped that idea and decided to try my hand at dance. As it turns out, I’m not nearly graceful enough for that to have worked. I gave pottery a whirl, but that turned into a disaster. I began the trek back home dejectedly, and I was just about ready to give up when I saw an advertisement for the musical guest that would be at some club a few days later. Maybe I could make it as a DJ.
The first thing I did when I got home was to search the web to see exactly what steps I’d need to take to get my new career started. I was able to find all kinds of stories from people just like me who’d been complete beginners but really wanted to break into the music business, even though they couldn’t write songs to save their lives. Some of them had started by playing around with some sound editing software, and others had decided to make their own beats. YouTube was full of tutorials on what kinds of software would be best for the kinds of sound you’re looking to create and how to go about starting a new song or mash up. All the new information so entranced me I was learning that I couldn’t absorb it all fast enough.
I downloaded the software that seemed to be most highly recommended and started to play around with all its features and tools. Before long, I had created the first few seconds of a song that sounded pretty decent, if I do say so myself. I had used the beat from one of my favorite hip hop songs and slowly echoed some lyrics from a different song altogether into the beats from the first song as I sped them up and slowed them down, depending on which verse the speed fit better. When I had finished the whole arrangement, I played it all from start to finish to see if it was a total train wreck.
Surprisingly enough, it sounded to me like I’d actually managed to make a catchy song that didn’t sound too clunky or awkward but sounded more like something you’d hear in a club somewhere. Maybe not a high-end club, but everyone’s got to start somewhere.
After that, all I did was practice, practice, practice. I spent hours toying with certain speeds and pitches and rhythms, trying to get everything in every song to sound exactly the way I wanted it to. I’m sure my friends thought I had turned into a recluse or something like that, but it wasn’t like I had a job anymore, so I could devote all my time to perfect the skills I’d need for the job I wanted. And it wasn’t easy, all that practice. I can’t even begin to guess how many times I butchered a song or got so tangled up in the middle of a new one that I couldn’t even finish it. But eventually, I started to get the hang of it.
The beats started to make more sense in my head; the rhythms began to sound familiar, even when I put them in places they didn’t belong. Everything seemed to start clicking, and it showed in the music I was creating. I was churning out mash up after mash-up, remix after remix, and a few originals to top it all off. When I finally felt ready, I took my music to a friend of a friend who owned a little club in the city and asked her just to listen to what I had. She agreed and sat through three whole songs, her smile growing all the while, before telling me she had a spot open in two weeks’ time. I shook her hand firmly and told her I’d be there.
When the big night rolled around, I could hardly contain my excitement. Before it had sunk in at all, they were announcing my name over the speakers, and I was taking the stage. All the turntables were set up just how I wanted them, and my music was already keyed up on my laptop, so when the lights came up, the only thing left for me to do was press play. And the crowd loved it.
People were jumping up and down and singing along to the words and everyone I could see glowed the dark smile on their face. I could hardly hear anything over the thump of the base, but I could tell they were cheering for me. It was the best I’d ever felt at a job. When I caught sight of the club owner just off stage, she threw me a quick thumbs up and a wink, and I couldn’t help but laugh a little at this amazing situation I’d found myself in.
And that wasn’t the end of it. After that first job, there were already three more clubs waiting to book me, and I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I would take any chance I could get to go back up on that stage. I have never been one to complain, but I’ve done some of the worst jobs imaginable. Luckily enough, I’ve finally found one that makes me happy.