Once upon a time, long before I had the life that some might call "rich," I dreamed of another life.
A long time ago, I used to sing. Not well, but well enough to be asked to perform at weddings (because the budget was tight and I sang cheap) and funerals. (The funeral career ended early after being asked to sing next to an open-casket where the eyes of the deceased were not closed all the way.)
I envisioned myself looking and sounding like Etta James, Rosemary Clooney, or Billie Holiday.
I wanted to draw the crowds of Celine Dion.
I even spent many hours practicing my poise in front of the mirror.
I never quite mastered the poise.
In reality, I look like a crazed woman and sound a little like Kermit the Frog. I sing for parties of one. More if I can hog-tie them to keep them from running.
While I can carry a tune, I never had the sultriness of a blues singer. Or the sex appeal. In fact, most days one would be hard-pressed to even realize that my singing voice is one of a woman. In high school, I was officially a second alto. Most days though, I sang tenor, sitting among the pre-pubescent boys who hadn't yet reached their vocal maturity. On a good day, most of those same boys sounded less like boys and more like Minnie Mouse. Great if we were at Disneyland, not so great if we were singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" at a high school concert.
Even though the only thing that remains from my Broadway dreams is my stage name, Kimber Leigh, I still can belt it out with the best of them.
Usually not in key.
And usually with the wrong words to "At Last" and "My Funny Valentine."
I'm evolving as a performer though.
Out here, in the open field, the girls don't really care if my name was never in the bright lights of Broadway.
In fact, they don't care for the blues at all.
They're John Denver fans.
I can do John Denver.
At last, I've arrived.☺