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  1. The Day My Motown Dream Came A Crashin' Down In FLAMES!

    Tonight, a friend was taking about American Idol and these shows where you see auditions and the person is so tone deaf, it's unbelievable. The question is always asked, "Can't they hear themselves?" or "Whe doesn't their family tell them they can't sing?" Well, it brought back a memory of the time I tried to "audition" for Motown...and got royally shot down in huge, bright, embarrassing flames.

    I was 13. I was well into my Motown fanaticism. I was going to be a singer and I was going to do it on Motown. One day after school (where I had been involved in some very extreme Motown star daydreaming) I went directly to my room and got out my portable cassette recorder (oh dear how nave I was!) and decided the best way to demonstrate what a great singer I was to Motown was to sing some of Motown's biggest 60's hits. So there I was, playing all these records and singing right into the cassette recorder- YES, I was singing right over the records. Today, kids are so much smarter and savvy about things like this; I don't think there is a kid alive today who would be as clueless about making a demo as I was back then.

    Well, I guess my brother could hear me singing my heart out in my room because he knocked on the door, walked in and looking at my setup, asked what on earth was I doing. When I told him I was making a demo tape to send to Motown, he just asked "WHAT?" I told him my plan to take Motown back to its 60's roots and he simply said, "You know you can't sing. Right?" I don't know if I was hurt or shocked or what but I really didn't believe what he had just told me. I just knew I had a voice that would sell records! I forget what I said to him, but whatever it was, he left shaking his head and I went right on singing.

    Later, my mom repeated the very same thing my brother had done some minutes earlier. She asked what I was doing and then told me, "Honey, you know you can't sing. Right?" Shouldn't it have dawned on me that maybe they were right? Of course not. I was a Motown star in the making and they just didn't appreciate the special qualities of my "unique" vocal style. I swear, that is exactly what I thought of my singing and I even said as much in the letter I wrote to Motown to go along with the tape I was sending.

    Right now, you're asking "well didn't you play the tape before you sent it?" Yes. I did. I still had my ears full of fantasy and so they only heard an exciting new star on the horizon. I'm shaking my head now at the memory. I bundled this great letter of introduction I wrote along with my demo tape and sent it to Motown, postmarked STARDOM!

    I waited. I waited. And I waited. Did Motown get it? Were they so bowled over by my faithfulness to it's 60's Motown Sound that they were just trying to figure out the best way to launch me? I think about a week passed by without hearing anything and it was the most excruciating week at school (if you don't count the week I had to keep dodging a bully's threats in junior high a couple years before.) My folks and brother would ask if I had heard anything from Motown but to their credit, they never said anything else about what they thought were my shortcomings as a singer.

    Well, the day finally arrived! I returned home from school and my mother told me I has something in the mail. I was flying high for all of 3 seconds until I saw it was the package I had sent to Motown. I didn't understand until my mother showed me what was stamped on it: "UNSOLICITED MATERIAL NOT ACCEPTED" She explained that probably meant Motown only accepted things through an agent or some other official means. Well, I was heartbroken. HEARTBROKEN. I put the package on my desk and wouldn't even go near it for about a week or two. Nobody said anything about it, just went about as if I hadn't even attempted to become the next Motown Star. Looking back, it was much better that way because...

    After maybe two weeks of moping, I opened the package and put the tape into my stereo system. I thought, might as well listen to what Motown missed out on and start making a Plan B to get this tape to them somehow. Um...what started coming out of the speakers wasn't what I had recorded. What IS this? That isn't my voice. This is Awful. This is Bad. This is Horrifying. This is...Me? I think I may have even prayed for the strength to not vomit. Now this was really confusing. My tape sounded so good when I was recording it. It sounded so good when I played it back. So who was this imposter on my cassette tape?

    Suddenly, one of the things my brother and mother both tried to tell me came flooding back: You are 13 and your voice is changing. Listening to the tape, it was staggeringly clear my voice was rough, cracking and croaking and changing all over the place. Sometimes I'd manage to somehow hit two conflicting notes at the same time on one word. Not only that, the idea that Motown would be able to clearly hear my voice singing over their records was right on the mark- you could hear every last horrifying note I sang on that darn tape! Perhaps a little more volume on those records playing in the background would have helped by drowning me out!

    Suddenly, I wasn't heartbroken or sad anymore. I wasn't even upset that my dreams had crashed down hard all over my head. I had escaped fatal embarrassment with Motown and possibly the entire recording industry! Imagine if Motown had made copies of this thing and used it for comedy relief at their conventions and meetings? I remember throwing the tape into the trash and going into the kitchen and asking what's for dinner? Crisis averted by homemade chocolate layer cake.

    So when people talk about those bad audition videos and wonder if those people have anyone trying to tell them the truth, I tell them my story. Sometimes your ears really can become tone deaf when you're dreaming just a bit too hard.
    Last edited by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance; 05-05-2019 at 10:25 PM.

  2. #2
    Good story! Well assume there was no hairbrush in your hand nor arms going up in the air and saying Stop.

  3. #3
    Wonderful story and great writing. You may not be a singer, but you are a great storyteller and wonderful writer. I especially liked the metaphor (?) "my ears were full of fantasy". I would love to use that in a political discussion.

    Thanks for sharing

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    Tonight, a friend was taking about American Idol and these shows where you see auditions and the person is so tone deaf, it's unbelievable. The question is always asked, "Can't they hear themselves?" or "Whe doesn't their family tell them they can't sing?" Well, it brought back a memory of the time I tried to "audition" for Motown...and got royally shot down in huge, bright, embarrassing flames.

    I was 13. I was well into my Motown fanaticism. I was going to be a singer and I was going to do it on Motown. One day after school (where I had been involved in some very extreme Motown star daydreaming) I went directly to my room and got out my portable cassette recorder (oh dear how nave I was!) and decided the best way to demonstrate what a great singer I was to Motown was to sing some of Motown's biggest 60's hits. So there I was, playing all these records and singing right into the cassette recorder- YES, I was singing right over the records. Today, kids are so much smarter and savvy about things like this; I don't think there is a kid alive today who would be as clueless about making a demo as I was back then.

    Well, I guess my brother could hear me singing my heart out in my room because he knocked on the door, walked in and looking at my setup, asked what on earth was I doing. When I told him I was making a demo tape to send to Motown, he just asked "WHAT?" I told him my plan to take Motown back to its 60's roots and he simply said, "You know you can't sing. Right?" I don't know if I was hurt or shocked or what but I really didn't believe what he had just told me. I just knew I had a voice that would sell records! I forget what I said to him, but whatever it was, he left shaking his head and I went right on singing.

    Later, my mom repeated the very same thing my brother had done some minutes earlier. She asked what I was doing and then told me, "Honey, you know you can't sing. Right?" Shouldn't it have dawned on me that maybe they were right? Of course not. I was a Motown star in the making and they just didn't appreciate the special qualities of my "unique" vocal style. I swear, that is exactly what I thought of my singing and I even said as much in the letter I wrote to Motown to go along with the tape I was sending.

    Right now, you're asking "well didn't you play the tape before you sent it?" Yes. I did. I still had my ears full of fantasy and so they only heard an exciting new star on the horizon. I'm shaking my head now at the memory. I bundled this great letter of introduction I wrote along with my demo tape and sent it to Motown, postmarked STARDOM!

    I waited. I waited. And I waited. Did Motown get it? Were they so bowled over by my faithfulness to it's 60's Motown Sound that they were just trying to figure out the best way to launch me? I think about a week passed by without hearing anything and it was the most excruciating week at school (if you don't count the week I had to keep dodging a bully's threats in junior high a couple years before.) My folks and brother would ask if I had heard anything from Motown but to their credit, they never said anything else about what they thought were my shortcomings as a singer.

    Well, the day finally arrived! I returned home from school and my mother told me I has something in the mail. I was flying high for all of 3 seconds until I saw it was the package I had sent to Motown. I didn't understand until my mother showed me what was stamped on it: "UNSOLICITED MATERIAL NOT ACCEPTED" She explained that probably meant Motown only accepted things through an agent or some other official means. Well, I was heartbroken. HEARTBROKEN. I put the package on my desk and wouldn't even go near it for about a week or two. Nobody said anything about it, just went about as if I hadn't even attempted to become the next Motown Star. Looking back, it was much better that way because...

    After maybe two weeks of moping, I opened the package and put the tape into my stereo system. I thought, might as well listen to what Motown missed out on and start making a Plan B to get this tape to them somehow. Um...what started coming out of the speakers wasn't what I had recorded. What IS this? That isn't my voice. This is Awful. This is Bad. This is Horrifying. This is...Me? I think I may have even prayed for the strength to not vomit. Now this was really confusing. My tape sounded so good when I was recording it. It sounded so good when I played it back. So who was this imposter on my cassette tape?

    Suddenly, one of the things my brother and mother both tried to tell me came flooding back: You are 13 and your voice is changing. Listening to the tape, it was staggeringly clear my voice was rough, cracking and croaking and changing all over the place. Sometimes I'd manage to somehow hit two conflicting notes at the same time on one word. Not only that, the idea that Motown would be able to clearly hear my voice singing over their records was right on the mark- you could hear every last horrifying note I sang on that darn tape! Perhaps a little more volume on those records playing in the background would have helped by drowning me out!

    Suddenly, I wasn't heartbroken or sad anymore. I wasn't even upset that my dreams had crashed down hard all over my head. I had escaped fatal embarrassment with Motown and possibly the entire recording industry! Imagine if Motown had made copies of this thing and used it for comedy relief at their conventions and meetings? I remember throwing the tape into the trash and going into the kitchen and asking what's for dinner? Crisis averted by homemade chocolate layer cake.

    So when people talk about those bad audition videos and wonder if those people have anyone trying to tell them the truth, I tell them my story. Sometimes your ears really can become tone deaf when you're dreaming just a bit too hard.
    Great story! Kept my attention beginning to end. You writing transferred me right into the situation.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    Tonight, a friend was taking about American Idol and these shows where you see auditions and the person is so tone deaf, it's unbelievable. The question is always asked, "Can't they hear themselves?" or "Whe doesn't their family tell them they can't sing?" Well, it brought back a memory of the time I tried to "audition" for Motown...and got royally shot down in huge, bright, embarrassing flames.

    I was 13. I was well into my Motown fanaticism. I was going to be a singer and I was going to do it on Motown. One day after school (where I had been involved in some very extreme Motown star daydreaming) I went directly to my room and got out my portable cassette recorder (oh dear how nave I was!) and decided the best way to demonstrate what a great singer I was to Motown was to sing some of Motown's biggest 60's hits. So there I was, playing all these records and singing right into the cassette recorder- YES, I was singing right over the records. Today, kids are so much smarter and savvy about things like this; I don't think there is a kid alive today who would be as clueless about making a demo as I was back then.

    Well, I guess my brother could hear me singing my heart out in my room because he knocked on the door, walked in and looking at my setup, asked what on earth was I doing. When I told him I was making a demo tape to send to Motown, he just asked "WHAT?" I told him my plan to take Motown back to its 60's roots and he simply said, "You know you can't sing. Right?" I don't know if I was hurt or shocked or what but I really didn't believe what he had just told me. I just knew I had a voice that would sell records! I forget what I said to him, but whatever it was, he left shaking his head and I went right on singing.

    Later, my mom repeated the very same thing my brother had done some minutes earlier. She asked what I was doing and then told me, "Honey, you know you can't sing. Right?" Shouldn't it have dawned on me that maybe they were right? Of course not. I was a Motown star in the making and they just didn't appreciate the special qualities of my "unique" vocal style. I swear, that is exactly what I thought of my singing and I even said as much in the letter I wrote to Motown to go along with the tape I was sending.

    Right now, you're asking "well didn't you play the tape before you sent it?" Yes. I did. I still had my ears full of fantasy and so they only heard an exciting new star on the horizon. I'm shaking my head now at the memory. I bundled this great letter of introduction I wrote along with my demo tape and sent it to Motown, postmarked STARDOM!

    I waited. I waited. And I waited. Did Motown get it? Were they so bowled over by my faithfulness to it's 60's Motown Sound that they were just trying to figure out the best way to launch me? I think about a week passed by without hearing anything and it was the most excruciating week at school (if you don't count the week I had to keep dodging a bully's threats in junior high a couple years before.) My folks and brother would ask if I had heard anything from Motown but to their credit, they never said anything else about what they thought were my shortcomings as a singer.

    Well, the day finally arrived! I returned home from school and my mother told me I has something in the mail. I was flying high for all of 3 seconds until I saw it was the package I had sent to Motown. I didn't understand until my mother showed me what was stamped on it: "UNSOLICITED MATERIAL NOT ACCEPTED" She explained that probably meant Motown only accepted things through an agent or some other official means. Well, I was heartbroken. HEARTBROKEN. I put the package on my desk and wouldn't even go near it for about a week or two. Nobody said anything about it, just went about as if I hadn't even attempted to become the next Motown Star. Looking back, it was much better that way because...

    After maybe two weeks of moping, I opened the package and put the tape into my stereo system. I thought, might as well listen to what Motown missed out on and start making a Plan B to get this tape to them somehow. Um...what started coming out of the speakers wasn't what I had recorded. What IS this? That isn't my voice. This is Awful. This is Bad. This is Horrifying. This is...Me? I think I may have even prayed for the strength to not vomit. Now this was really confusing. My tape sounded so good when I was recording it. It sounded so good when I played it back. So who was this imposter on my cassette tape?

    Suddenly, one of the things my brother and mother both tried to tell me came flooding back: You are 13 and your voice is changing. Listening to the tape, it was staggeringly clear my voice was rough, cracking and croaking and changing all over the place. Sometimes I'd manage to somehow hit two conflicting notes at the same time on one word. Not only that, the idea that Motown would be able to clearly hear my voice singing over their records was right on the mark- you could hear every last horrifying note I sang on that darn tape! Perhaps a little more volume on those records playing in the background would have helped by drowning me out!

    Suddenly, I wasn't heartbroken or sad anymore. I wasn't even upset that my dreams had crashed down hard all over my head. I had escaped fatal embarrassment with Motown and possibly the entire recording industry! Imagine if Motown had made copies of this thing and used it for comedy relief at their conventions and meetings? I remember throwing the tape into the trash and going into the kitchen and asking what's for dinner? Crisis averted by homemade chocolate layer cake.

    So when people talk about those bad audition videos and wonder if those people have anyone trying to tell them the truth, I tell them my story. Sometimes your ears really can become tone deaf when you're dreaming just a bit too hard.
    Great story! Kept my attention beginning to end. You writing transferred me right into the situation.

  6. #6
    Waitingwatchinglookingforachance...Excellent story and as others have stated, you really have some writing skills.
    I have done some at home recording of some of my friends who thought they were next vocal force to be reckoned with (although I knew better). Having them to listen to themselves over a pre-recorded instrumental track opened their eyes and ears to what they really sounded like. Of course the hard-headed ones (who I knew could not sing to start with) would blame it on my recording process. It can be deceiving when we sound so good in the shower, and when we sound so good singing along with the artist's voice.

    Another demonstration as to whether or not a 'singer' has a good ear for singing is to have them to sing over an instrumental track that has been recorded in a different key (pitched higher or lower). Those singers who don't have an ear for pitch will disregard the different key and attempt to sing the song in the original key of the original artist. Talk about being painful to listen to!!!!

  7. #7
    Cool story,at least you had the courage to send it off..good for you!

  8. #8
    Ha! Great story, WaitingWatching! I too went through a phase of thinking I could sing and wanting to be a singer. I, however, recorded just my vocals, without any background music, making it sound even worse!

  9. Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    Good story! We’ll assume there was no hairbrush in your hand nor arms going up in the air and saying Stop.
    Just got back into town, seeing your comment, ha ha! I am happy to report, I didn't have to resort to using a hairbrush to "get into the spirit" and never did my arms go up into the STOP! gesture!

  10. Quote Originally Posted by milven View Post
    Wonderful story and great writing. You may not be a singer, but you are a great storyteller and wonderful writer. I especially liked the metaphor (?) "my ears were full of fantasy". I would love to use that in a political discussion.

    Thanks for sharing
    Hi Milven! I'm really glad you enjoyed the reading that. I do enjoy writing as I had a great high school English teacher who gave me a love of language and writing. I actually still sing these days... but ONLY for fun. That whole mess actually taught me to stop singing along with the records and to focus on singing solo and working on getting the notes right.

    Please, feel very free to use that metaphor!

  11. Quote Originally Posted by detmotownguy View Post
    Great story! Kept my attention beginning to end. You writing transferred me right into the situation.
    Thanks so much, detmotownguy! I really do enjoy writing (which is why even my texts for something as simple as "let's meet for lunch" go on for several pages!) I think so many can relate to that thing of wanting to be one thing or another. When we're young, we don't know the rules and we're much more fearless than when we get older. I've gotten a kick out of tell my misadventure to my musician friends- it gives them all a VERY good laugh!

  12. Quote Originally Posted by jobucats View Post
    Waitingwatchinglookingforachance...Excellent story and as others have stated, you really have some writing skills.
    I have done some at home recording of some of my friends who thought they were next vocal force to be reckoned with (although I knew better). Having them to listen to themselves over a pre-recorded instrumental track opened their eyes and ears to what they really sounded like. Of course the hard-headed ones (who I knew could not sing to start with) would blame it on my recording process. It can be deceiving when we sound so good in the shower, and when we sound so good singing along with the artist's voice.

    Another demonstration as to whether or not a 'singer' has a good ear for singing is to have them to sing over an instrumental track that has been recorded in a different key (pitched higher or lower). Those singers who don't have an ear for pitch will disregard the different key and attempt to sing the song in the original key of the original artist. Talk about being painful to listen to!!!!

    Hi jobucats! Oh, I would love to have a conversation with you on this subject. Yes! I learned that there is a world of difference between singing along with the singer on a recording and singing with no one playing behind you. Even a song you think you know backwards and forwards can be deceiving when you get just the backing track with no vocals. You suddenly find that you miss notes or sing entirely wrong notes, not quite getting the melody line right. You start out on key, then the music takes a turn and you're quickly singing flat or sharp. It always surprises me that even if you think you're being careful to listen to yourself objectively, if you sing along with a record, your ears are really hearing the other singers covering your bad notes.

    Years ago,
    when karaoke started catching on, there was a tv show that revealed the tricks used to make people sound better than they were and one of the things they mentioned was use of reverb. The host told the audience to try this: sing in the shower, then sing in you car without the radio playing behind you. You would find the accoustics of the shower could deceive you into thinking you really had a great voice. That always stayed with me. I also like that demonstration you wrote about as far as singing a song that has been done in a different key. THAT really shows whether or not you have an ear for music and I've heard exactly the thing you're talking about!
    Last edited by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance; 05-11-2019 at 11:29 PM.

  13. Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    Cool story,at least you had the courage to send it off..good for you!
    Hi arr&bee! That is one thing I am glad for. That I did at least try it. One thing I can say, my life has NOT been boring. I've tried a lot of crazy things, lol. Sure, not many of them turned out, but in a way, it has made things very interesting in my life. (And those crazy stories honestly are the things that have helped me break the ice at parties and gatherings over the years!)

  14. Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Ha! Great story, WaitingWatching! I too went through a phase of thinking I could sing and wanting to be a singer. I, however, recorded just my vocals, without any background music, making it sound even worse!
    Hey Tom, have you heard of a band called The Shaggs? I can't even begin to describe their sound- you'd have to hear them to believe it. After your initial shock at hearing them, if you read their story, you actually begin to have a lot of respect for them. To put it mildly, they weren't the best singers or musicians at all but their father got an entire album recorded on them and now they are like this cult favorite precisely because of their bad, but very sincere singing and playing.

    All of that is to say, there is hope for both of us yet, my friend!!!!! I see in our future a duet album along the lines of Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson, one of the flattest, most tuneless voices ever (just joking. I love the guy!)

  15. #15
    Good story Waiting!

    Dick Clark once had a song writing competition where you mailed in your cassette to be judged (for a fee??) . I had that one song I'd created in my head and thought here's my chance!
    I went out to the nearby college at night to record my song acapella in the handball courts (good reverb I thought) . Security pulled up and decided I was just a harmless nut with a tape recorder.
    Mailed it off but never did hear back from Dick Clark!! I grimace to think what I must have sent him. lol!
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 05-13-2019 at 03:34 PM.

  16. Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Good story Waiting!

    Dick Clark once had a song writing competition where you mailed in your cassette to be judged (for a fee??) . I had that one song I'd created in my head and thought here's my chance!
    I went out to the nearby college at night to record my song acapella in the handball courts (good reverb I thought) . Security pulled up and decided I was just a harmless nut with a tape recorder.
    Mailed it off but never did hear back from Dick Clark!! I grimace to think what I must have sent him. lol!
    I love that! So, I guess a lot of us have been there before. I like that you went to the handball courts- nothing wrong with enhancing the performance! I hadn't heard of that competition before. Do you still enjoy singing and songwriting?

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    I love that! So, I guess a lot of us have been there before. I like that you went to the handball courts- nothing wrong with enhancing the performance! I hadn't heard of that competition before. Do you still enjoy singing and songwriting?
    well any trick couldn't hurt. There's a good reason my entry went nowhere. As I recall, the contest was international, and there was an album and TV special around it in which the winnings songs were sung by known performers, BUT none of those "great' songs came anywhere near being a hit.

    No follow-ups, but yes I still enjoy singing , and by request - only to myself ,when by myself. -----You??

    ___________

    hey Waiting, I found it at discogs!; 1974:

    https://www.discogs.com/Various-Winn...elease/5719353
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 05-17-2019 at 04:21 PM.

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