I was standing in a corner, chewing my nails as I watched people’s reactions to the finished product. My first album, All Of Me. The cover was simply my face. While I had a buzz single out, and it’d received SO many positive reviews, no one had ever seen more than my face. No videos, no live performances yet. It’s been almost a year and I haven’t even made my official daytime or late night debut, and everyone you could imagine was asking to be the first. I was a nervous wreck. No one knew I was even in the building. And that was just how Shayne wanted it.
For some reason he believed if people loved my sound first, my physical appearance wouldn’t matter. I wish I could believe him.
I did take the initiative to begin working out though. Not to lose weight for the industry, but to be healthy for myself. If I was going to do this, I wanted it to last a long time.
“Excuse me, can I have your attention please.” I inched from the wall and took a seat at the only empty table.
“First I want to thank you all for taking the time out of your busy schedules to come here tonight and listen to the debut album of the First Lady of our subsidiary label, Golden Lee. Please join me in giving a warm and well deserving round of applause to Melody Lee.”
The applause was thunderous and I literally fought back every tear that tried to make its way out. It was overwhelming, especially when they’d never seen me.
“Now, before I bring our First Lady on stage… I’m going to introduce you to another one of our artists. Gia DeMarco. Her debut album will be out exactly one week before Melody’s, and we’d love for you all to get a little taste of that as well. Gia, come on out here.”
The audience applauded and she sashayed her way to the stage, giving smiles here and there. “These girls nowadays leave so little to the imagination. It’s a no wonder they stay as popular as they do.”
“I know exactly what you mean Jean. I just hope she can actually sing. From the sounds of this Melody Lee, she’s got a real tough act to follow.”
“Right. I do hope she’s a decent young woman though, with morals. That is so needed today, Emma.”
I smiled listening to the older women’s conversation. I just hoped their thoughts stayed positive once I did make it to the stage.
Gia’s performance garnered little of the attention she’d hope for. Her biggest cheers and praise came from a group of girls who’d gotten to come along with their parents. Their parents had looks of total disgust on their face. I didn’t mean to laugh, but it was funny.
Shayne made his way back to the stage, visibly nervous after Gia’s first public display. “Okay… that Gia DeMarco. And now we’re gonna give you all exactly what you came for. Please allow me to be the first, as it is a great pleasure, to introduce you to the very beautiful and talented Melody Lee.”
They all began to applaud again and I took a deep breath before standing up. I kept opening and closing my hands as I got closer and closer to the stage, counting silently. Walking up the few steps, I took notice of the looks on everyone’s faces. I was wearing a floor-length, black maxi dress that fit me perfectly without any of my rolls bulging over, and a cute little jacket to cover my arms. My gold heels clicked as I finally walked closer to my brother. He had his arms extended and once I found myself in his embrace, I felt a hell of a lot better.
Another round of applause followed and I gave small weak smiles. Unsure of how they all felt about me, about all of me. “Didn’t I tell you, beautiful! It is my honor to introduce you all to Melody Lee. How are you feeling Mel?”
The audience laughed and I took a deep breath. “Before she gives you a live taste of what else is to come, we’ll let you all ask questions.” Shayne handed me the mic and stepped back as the questions came rolling in, left and right.
“How old are you Melody?”
“So young. What did you do before you began singing?”
“I’ve always sang, no one ever knew though. I stayed behind the scenes and wrote songs for other artists.”
“Lots. I can thank the teenagers of the world for that.”
The parents of that group of girls chuckled.
“Have you written all of the songs on your album?”
“All except for one, a cover that I’ve always wanted to do.”
“How did you come up with the title for your album?”
“Um… really simple. I wanted to give this my all. Singing was never something I planned on taking seriously, but if I’m gonna do it, I’m giving my all. I’m also a very self conscious person, so my appearance has a lot to do with it as well. The cover is only my face, but you’re getting a whole lot more.” I motioned up and down my body.
I smiled instantly, thanking the man that’d shouted it out.
“One last question guys.”
I looked back at Shayne and smiled.
“Can we hear the voice that we heard on the album now?”
Shayne nodded and motioned for the band to come on stage. Guys we’d both gone to school with who’d all had gigs that paid way more. They all wanted to be here tonight, just for me.
After a few minutes of setting up, I took a seat on the stool they’d brought on stage for me, lowering the mic stand to my height.
“I’m going to sing Writing On The Wall for you all, the song that I covered. This will probably be the last single I release.”
I nodded to Percy and he nodded to Richie, who started playing. It’s now or never.
“Some say that I should have known. Some say, Girlfriend he didn’t caaa-aaare. Guess I should have seen the warning signs. Instead I put my heart on the liiii-iiiine. Nooo, I cannot deny, been warned a thousand times. Should have known your kind. How could I be so blind?! Beware of a broken heart, Baby. I guess I should have read the writing on the wall. It saiiid, Girlfriiiiend, he’ll tear your heart apart. I guess I should have read… the writing on the wall.”
I heard claps here in there… I let it encourage me as I calmed my nerves completely and sang from my heart. I closed my eyes every time I went for a high note, careful not to overdo it or strain myself.
“Oh, I should have played it cool, played it by the rules. You played me for a fooo-ooool. How could you be so cruuuuel?!”
“Girl you better sing!!” I had to keep myself from laughing over the words I sang.
“Why’d you go and treat me this waaaay?! Bewaaaare, of a broken heart.”
From the corner of my eye I could see Shayne smiling hard as hell, excited about the reactions. He’d proven me wrong.