I feel it's time to re-visit a period of my life that was not only very recent, but life-changing. It was a three year whirlwind experience that came about after I sent one email to a woman named Fiona Joy.
I was sitting on my bed, (my office), with my computer one day in early 2011. I was listening to an on-line radio show by Lisa Aston of House Concerts Australia, and when I heard the beautiful piano music of Fiona Joy, I thought to myself, I wonder if she'd like to tour with me? I'd been wanting to put together an Australian tour playing theatres, performing arts centres and jazz clubs, but it all seemed very daunting until I thought about teaming up with another artist.
With nothing to lose I shot Fiona an email (she wasn't hard to find) and she immediately wrote back with a big fat YES! Goodness. I wasn't quite expecting that. So.... ummmmm, what now? I quickly put my thinking cap on and came back to her with a few of my personal tour requirements which were 1) venues must be gorgeous 2) venues must have a grand piano and 3) we must play solo. That was it. Fiona was agreeable, (though a little unsure about the 'playing solo' bit since she had mostly only played with a full ensemble at that point), but after a not so gentle pep talk from me (a newly reformed soloist - see my 'Love Affair With NYC' blog), she CAVED, and promised to NEVER question my guru-esque wisdom EVER again! And with that we were bonded.
Before we knew it, we were staring down the barrel of an East Coast Tour for October that same year, having pooled our resources, put our heads together and enlisted the services of Lisa Aston and Deborah Gann to help with bookings and publicity. I could hardly believe what was happening even though I'd lit the fuse.
A friend of mine came up with the tour name 'Two Grand I'm Yours' which we embraced and ran amuck with. We thought it was clever, and cute and a little bit cheeky. This inspired me to think about a promo video, and after a sleepless night with silly ideas running through my head, well, a video was born (see below)..... and then...........there were two.
So off we went, green and nervous on our very first show of the tour, which was the Brisbane Jazz Club. As we steamrolled and giggled our way down the coast, we felt pretty happy with ourselves and decided we'd take it to America!!! What? What the hell were we thinking?
Sometimes, it pays to be a little naive when it comes to getting the job done. In the absence of fear and hesitation, Fiona and I reached out to everyone we knew in the United States, and with the help and generosity of so many of our friends, once again, we had a tour lined up for 2012 but this time it was America!!! Yikes! What would they think of us? What were we doing?
Well, I'm happy to say that the Americans embraced us with their enormous hearts, their overt warmth and kindness, and we managed to accomplish another two U.S. tours over the following years. To our surprise, all this touring together made us realize we had a positive contribution to make in the world. We seemed to be touching peoples' lives in a way that we never imagined. We were just having fun, but out of it came a sense of purpose that I don't think either of us totally understood at the beginning of it all.
Though we've finished touring together as Two Grand I'm Yours, Fiona and I remain great friends and we still work together to help support each others' careers. I've learned so much from Fiona over the years and she's a very kind hearted and talented artist. I'm eternally grateful for her having come into my life and for all the people who have come with her as a consequence.
I hope you've enjoyed this week's story and as always, please leave your comments below as I love to hear your thoughts and remarks.
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Until next week. Thank you for joining me.