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到索尼试唱·大日子 My Big Audition


Gretche Wilson  It was my ninth time appearing in front of a1)Nashville executive to sing a few songs and try to 2)snag a record deal. The first eight 3)tryouts had led to stone-cold rejections. I didn’t have the right look. My hair was dated. I wasn’t a beauty queen. I was a little too old, too heavy, too rock and roll. Too something.
  My songwriter friend Kenny Alphin thought a lot of deal-making executives were used to new talent they could dress and mold. Maybe they took one look at me and thought, “There’s no way I can control that woman.” On that 4)count, at least, they were right.
  This particular audition in 2003, when I was 30 years old, was in the office of the president of Sony Music Nashville, John Grady. The night before, when I learned the appointment was for 8 a.m., I went a little crazy. I called my manager, Dale Morris. “Dale,” I said, “eight in the morning is too early to sing. I can’t do it. I’m a club singer. I’ve been singing at night my whole life!” Dale said, “Well, get up at six.”
  I said, “What?”
  He said, “If you get up at six, eight will seem like ten. Then you can 5)sing your heart out.”
  That morning, waiting to sing three songs for a man behind a desk, without a microphone, lights or 6)amps, I was nervous. It’s very hard to stand there and let someone judge whether you’re worthy of a commercial career in 10 minutes. But in this business, it was something I had to do. And I knew one thing: They’d have to drag me out of there before I’d give up.
  I’ve always been a fighter. Most of the people I knew growing up in rural 7)Illinois struggled just like my family did. Outside of farming, there wasn’t much of a local economy. If you weren’t a pig farmer or corn farmer, you’d be down at a diner or 8)truck stop 9)flipping eggs, an auto mechanic working in a shop in your backyard or a bartender pouring drinks. The best you could hope for, if you wanted new horizons, was to 10)latch onto a skill or career that could take you out of there.
  That’s how I viewed my singing. My mom, Christine, says I started 11)carrying tunes when I was three. By the time I was four or five, Mom was setting up 12)impromptu concerts at 13)Kmart on Saturday afternoons. She’d find a 14)blue-light special, 15)plant me on a box and announce she had a treat in store. I’d 16)belt out a 17)Patsy Cline tune, and shoppers would 18)go nuts. Mom was proud of me. Soon I was competing in talent shows.
  Music was the one thing I could hold on to when things got crazy. Mom had me when she was just 16, and by the time I was two, she’d left my dad. Then she married my stepfather, a 19)scam artist who kept us moving from town to town and from one 20)trailer park to another. He was abusive toward my mother and made her life a living hell.
  When I was 15, I made money from singing. The venue was a bar in Collinsville, Illinois. My so-called singing act was to belt out country 21)standards to the 22)backup of music-only tapes on a portable recorder, a kind of do-it-yourself karaoke machine. I sat there wearing a blue evening gown with my hair all curled up and sang for the 23)happy-hour crowd. I was so scared beforehand that I got sick in the ladies’ room. But I did it anyway. I knew I could sing. I got paid for it too. That was a huge step for me.

  Many years after that, in John Grady’s office at 8 a.m., I also knew I could sing. But I felt a little better this time because I had my manager, Dale, with me. I also had Kenny and Mitchell playing backup. They were people I loved and trusted. Dale said my only job that morning was to sing like it was 11 p.m.
  I was in the middle of my second of three songs, a passionate 24)ballad, when I glanced up at John Grady, who was sitting behind his big desk. He didn’t appear interested at all. He was going through his desk, looking for something to write with, as if to 25)jot down a grocery list. It was awkward. I tried not to glare at him as if to say, “How inconsiderate.”
  About halfway through, I saw Mr. Grady write something down. From where I stood, I could clearly see him write the letter “n”, followed by the letter “o.” As in: No. That’s it, I thought. He’s26)passing on me.
  He folded the paper while I went on with my third and last song. I was sure the guy hated me and could not wait to get out of there.
  As we said good-bye, Grady said, “I want you to have this.” He gave me the paper. I didn’t understand. Though my hands were shaking, I found the courage to read the note. It didn’t say, “No.” It said, “Now.”
  My dream of becoming a professional musician was starting to come true. I still had to write, sing and record an album, of course. But I was 27)pumped. The next day, I started writing songs, and over the next three months, I wrote at least 100. Most of them are in a drawer somewhere. But the ones that 28)clicked ended up on my first record.
  我一直在奋斗。我认识的大部分在伊利诺斯州乡下地区成长的人都像我们家一样努力奋斗。当地的经济除了农业就没什么了。如果你不是养猪或种玉米的农民,你就只能在小餐馆或卡车加油站里煎鸡蛋,在自家后院的汽车修理间做汽车技工,或是做个酒保给人倒饮料。你最大的希 望——如果你想开拓自己的新视野——就是掌握一项技能,或者找到一个能把你带离那地方的工作。