Andrew sends me a message at 4pm which read, "Greg call back bro, urgent!".
After the full-scale partying my friend Jeff and me had done over the weekend, mostly at the new chic-happening club below Cynna, Space Bar, (We've been going there constantly last week which started out with an invite to some fashion show and ended late at 530am on Sunday morning as the club closes after the usual 3am), the both of us were taken things easy and chilled out on Sunday after church in the morning, had lunch with the family as it was my sister, Maria's birthday, went to my other sister Sharina's house for a sorta hi-tea birthday party, laid back stuff nothing intense until I got the message.
I called and Andrew said "Greg! there's this talent showcase thing happening tonight at Planet Hollywood. My management called and said anyone can take part and that there'll be a lot of influential people, this could be good exposure for you dude"
I was floating on cloud nine.
Planet Hollywood? Hell yeah! I've only got one song, 5 mins?
So, I got my guitar out, got my brothers together and full-on practiced! Note for note!
Then amidst the excitement, I thought to myself the boys have school tomorrow, this is short notice, what if we don't get to play? I couldn't risk it so I told them to be on standby while me and Jeff swiftly whisked away from the party to get Andrew and hurry off to Planet.
Once we got there, the air was just oozing with talent. Andrew introduced me to Freddie Fernandez, COO of Maestro talent company. It was simply an amazing experience getting to know the man behind the works of Akademi Fantasia ( although I'm not particularly fond of the programme because I personally think it's simply bias and unjust towards other extraordinary talent).
I registered and signed up and they told there was no problem doing my own composition, my slot was 12:15 am. The time then was 9:30pm.
We didn't have time to go to the bank so we running low on cash, the boys Jeff and Andrew decided to have dinner at the Kopitiam upstairs, I was wrecked with nerves as I had completely finished the vocal arrangements for the second verse, sipping on Honey Lemon tea instead of the usual Jack on the rocks. (Was the only singular acoustic/vocal performance, everyone else had a band, playing thumping rock, clad in the full uniform, - long lengthy hair/out of bed hairstyle, boot cut jeans, checkered/tight-fitting shirts/leather jacket, boots/converse/MAKE-UP! Somebody needs to give me some lessons on looking like a modern day rockstar!
I still think dressing up like Noel Gallagher is cool, so you can pretty much imagine how I was dressed.) I didn't quite fit in!
The boys were pretty aggravated because not only had it been 2 hours (time now was 11:30) they had been pretty much listening to every variation I had for the song, I'd be aggravated as well if not for the butterflies circling around in my stomach.
We went down, played a little Foosball, still waiting to go on (12:30). The management said they'll push the solo performers up first and told me politely to be patient. I was working a smile on everyone I met, my self-acclaimed manager for the night (Jeff) said it would be good PR work to keep smiling. I was getting anxious.... every other person I met that night had gone and goodbyed, I was still behind the stage, crouched on the floor against the wall cause nobody could get me a seat, tuning my guitar checking my pitches and vocals against the blaring music being played with a finger in an ear. The time was now 1:30am. Nerves weren't the problem anymore, my temper was building.
After a quick but once again polite discussion with this guy Pacheye?(musician i think) he mentioned he was sorry but the bands were exceeding their time limit by doing two songs and acting cocky, he sincerely apologised on behalf of them as apparently some guys were ridiculing me being Indian saying "He's the only Indian, if you put him last, whats the most he could say?"
I really admire the guy, he saw me looking disheartened and said "Bro, don't worry about the comments, I've been in this industry so long and from my experience, comments don't mean anything, comments don't define you, YOU define yourself when your up there under that light, so take your friend, that guitar and do some magic, I'll probably 'pinjam' your guitar and do a solo also later, I got your back".
I was ready to rock! Like a volcano on the verge of erupting! Time was now 2:00am, one more band and I'm up.. we were down to the last five performances!
I was raring to go, like a race-car wheel-spinning! The band exceeded time with a Malay cover and played another song on top of it. Pacheye came up to me and literally begged for mercy.
"Bro, I don't know what to say but we've got a major problem! Planet says we've exceeded closing time and they need to shut. The band played two songs or you would've at least got a chance to play. Every other performer after you can't play as well now. I'm really sorry brother. I really am speechless."
My heart crashed. I wait 5 hours to play 5 minutes and this is what I get? Yes, I know I've got to work hard to catch a break in this industry but you at least cut me some slack! If this karyawan talent night was for every aspiring talent in Malaysia, why wasn't I informed earlier? If I didn't know about the event, what kind of marketing have they done? Only a select few are called? I have no case or issues against them, but why was I the only Indian in the place? Only Malay people are talented in this country? I'm sure these questions are debatable and probably justifiable. But you have to understand my frustration and argument. I was beat.
I humbly thanked them for at least the opportunity, and walked away while Jeff and Andrew, tired and anxious as they were themselves rushed to sort the matter and tried talking the management into letting their friend have at least two minutes to showcase this brilliant composition of his. They refused and got a proper 15 minute banging from the both of them.
Me? I was devastated and wrecked. I waited by the car with my friend, the guitar and a cigarette which I was saving for later hoping it wouldn't damage my already hoarse throat.
I felt really bad I couldn't kick ass basically.
I also felt bad for my friends who had to endure the whole ordeal, listening to garbage music, compositions from metal bands screaming " KA...MU.. PENGARAH!!!" utter rubbish. Tired as they were, very thankful I had them there for support.
For the first time in my life, I feel inferior. I always thought I had talent and that I was easy to love with my unconventional behaviour infused by my always amiable nature. I was wrong.
Being the nice guy doesn't get you anywhere.
-what schemes do you devise?
-to trample on my pride just because I'm nice?