(aka The Way to a Woman’s Heart)
Now, why are you writing a love letter for Marlene, you might ask? Who is this Marlene, you might ponder? Why is she so deserving of her own personal sonnet, you might query? You rarely use real names, Vic, and you rarely make things blatantly obvious. So what is up?
The answer is this. I am writing a blog for Marlene because Marlene likes my singing.
You’re writing an entire blog for some broad just because she likes your singing?
Yes. Yes I am.
You see, I have enjoyed a vast and colourful career history, from musical theatre to road-bands, to office work to radio. The problem is the radio career is the one that stuck. The one that has been sticking for over 30 years. But I have not only made a career ON radio, sharing my dulcet tones and the smoothest grooves (or country croons). I have made a career out of supporting Canadian artists. I have made it my mission to freely, joyfully and without payola extol the talents of singers and songwriters alike. Guitar players, producers, horny guys (and gals) and piano fortes have all been heaped with praise. Showered with publicity. Glorified to the unwitting masses and even invited to my home to perform where THEY make all the money and I clean up all the mess.
I have done this out of love. Out of love for music and out of what I feel is a sacred duty in fellowship to support my fellow artists.
And therein lies the rub.
Because I have been a “radio chick” for so long, many of my fellow artists forget that I am also a … fellow artist. They forget to extol my talents. They forget to support my recording projects. They forget to invite me up to sing. Indeed, at one auspicious occasion, when I was tagged to host (not perform at) a gala, the two powerhouse female performers who were on the bill both asked, “Why are you not singing tonight, Vickie?”
The answer? I had not been asked. I had only been asked to host. The organizers had two female powerhouse performers. They didn’t need me (except to host).
Now, please don’t go thinking I’m throwing myself a personal pity party here. I learned long ago to find my self-esteem in my own soul. I no longer seek nor do I need affirmation from anyone. About anything.
And that is exactly why I am writing this love letter to Marlene. Marlene is a relatively new friend but one who has surged quite rapidly to the upper echelons of my friendship totem pole. For many reasons (geography, her open heart and mind, her positive disposition, her zest for life and love and her desire to expand her horizons) but the one that really tickles my fancy the most is this:
She likes my singing. She honestly likes my singing. She likes to hear my voice produce musical tones. She has not stuffed me into some “DJ” category or “host” category or “former singer” category or even “writer” because she has never known me in any of those roles. Marlene takes me as I come and she really, truly, honestly enjoys hearing me warble live and listening to my recordings.
As a matter of fact, this past Christmas when I took it upon my self to send her a new Christmas song every day for a month, she ultimately responded, “These are all nice, Vickie, and I appreciate you sending them but I’m just going to go listen to your Christmas album now because it is my favourite.”
She did not say this to be sweet or to butter me up or to return some imagined favour. She said it because she meant it.
And that is why Marlene gets a love letter.
I believe that no matter how we navigate this life, through career changes and relationship upheavals and various triumphs and disappointments, we ultimately define ourselves. And we hope that the madding crowd will accept that definition and celebrate it with us. As I mentioned, I’ve done (and been) many things. Perhaps even now I consider myself more of a writer than a singer. But singing … singing is in my soul. Singing was in my mouth before I could even speak. My mother heard me hum “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” in perfect pitch long before I spoke a word.
I would never purport to be a “great” vocalist. I am a chanteuse. A conveyer of musical emotions. A deliverer of truth via lyrics and melody. A sharer of human frailty and fear and hope and longing. And Marlene gets that. She gets me … the singer.
So thank you, my friend. This is my most heartfelt and gratitude-filled love letter to you. I haven’t written a song in years but who knows? Maybe the next one will be yours.
Oh. And before I forget …