09.05.2009 ... This is a date I shall hold dear to my heart for the rest of my life.

I have been in the music industry as a professional vocalist for the last 10 years.

I have been fortunate enough to get to perform with, and for, some of the country's top entertainers, and I am proud to say that in 2005, I came tied in 3rd place in the South African singing reality show, 'Idols'.

It was, however, on the 9th of May 2009, that I experienced something truly magical...

Let me first give you a brief history...

Although I perform regularly at corporate functions, since the release of my self-funded debut album, 'As I Am', in 2006, I have not performed as a solo artist as regularly as I would have liked. This is partly due to the fact that we (my father and I) could not continue to pay the band what we know they are worth, gig after gig.

A few months ago, we decided to take a leap of faith and ask the band if we could organise gigs and basically split whatever money we make at the door, equally amongst ourselves, which would mean that there were no guarantees of anyone neccessarily making ANY money at all. Everyone unanimously said that they'd be 100% okay with that.

Shortly after that, we were offered a theatre in Centurion that would be PERFECT for an unplugged gig! We checked everyone's availability and promptly decided that the 9th of May would be the day.

Prior to this gig, we'd always used back-tracks to supplement any elements of the tracks that could not be done live, to try and preserve the original sound of the album.

This time, we decided to do things a little differently.

With the freedom of doing everything live, we decided to add in some covers that we thought would be quite fun and different, whilst keeping instrumentation to a bare minimum. (Think: Nina Simone, Nat King Cole, Pink... mmm)

Vocals. Bass. Accoustic guitar. Keyboards. Percussion. That's it!

At this point, I think I need to draw attention to the fact that, on these intruments were, in my opinion, the best musicians in South Africa (I know, I know! I'm a little biased but I know a LOT of people that would agree with me :-)

Denny Lalouette; Mauritz Lotz; Jaconel Mouton; Vinnie Henrico ... need I say more!? :-)

And so, Phase 1 of the awesome gig was accomplished: Incredible musicians - check!

A few days before the gig, we went to look at the venue: The Infinity Theatre - owned by Werner Bassinger - one of the nicest people I've met!
There was great seating (only 92, including balcony seating, so it was perfectly intimate), an amazing sound sytem (a double HK rig), a perfect little stage ... but ... no sound engineer and no lighting ... Hmmm.

Phase 2: great venue - we were half way there!

To cut a long story short, we managed to get 2 very special people on board - 2 people who were instrumental in the evening's success!!!

Marius Marais (one of South Africa's top sound engineers) miraculously agreed to do our sound for us, based on the same financial arrangement we'd made with the band, and Paul Hughes (from AVL Productions) offered to do our lights (that turned out to be INSANE!) at a RIDICULOUSLY low price!! What these 2 offered, and what they delivered, were 2 completely different things! Such generosity and kindness is rare in this day and age and words are not enough to express the gratitude I feel for what they brought to the event!!!!!!

Now, after the rehearsals, I was excited about the gig, but also a little apprehensive as to how the material would be received, as I'd never done something like this before! Come showtime, all my worries seem to melt away as each note passed. The energy that I felt on that stage was indescribable!!! There was this amazing energy coming from the band AND there was this incredible vibe coming from the audience too! I couldn't stop smiling the whole night. In fact, I couldn't stop smiling the next day either! :-)

Absolutely everything was just perfect ... the sound, the lighting, the playing, the audience. All in all, it was a dream come true for me.

I know it may seem silly for me to be writing this long-winded note for such a small gig, but it really was special to me. I really just wanted to verbalise how grateful I am to each and every one of the people who were involved in making the evening the success it was. Without all of the elements I've mentioned above, the gig would have just NOT been the same, so again I have to stress how thankful I am to every single person that was there!

I sincerely hope to be able to do a lot more of these shows, and I hope to have the opportunity to share this experience with as many people as possible. After the gig, Jaconel told me that this was food for her soul and I couldn't agree more! Everone gave SO much of themselves and I can only hope that they got as much satisfaction out of it as I did.

So, there you go. That's my little break-down! In my invites, I promised everyone an awesome show and I think - no - I KNOW that's exactly what we delivered :-)

With the R5-a-plastic-cup-box-wine we sold, and the overflow of pretzels available, how could anyone NOT have a great time! Hee hee... :-)

Til the next time, I wish you all everything of the best life has to offer. See you on the next one!

VĂ©ronique

 

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