‘Thump, thump, thump!!!’
His heart keeps racing, he is trying so hard to stay calm but that was proving to be no easy task.
It’s a massive room, exotic and tastefully furnished. No tables, just sofas and stools. There are paintings on the wall, of musical legends from different genre, race and sex. The biggest of them all, Fela, doing his signature two-fists-up pose. Typical event greenroom setting.
He looks around him.
All these celebrities in one place and he is in here with them.
He feels a sense of profound happiness, but he feels a greater sense of anxiety which is overshadowing everything else and affecting his countenance and composure.
He has his phone in his right hand, he makes to press a key on it, he realizes it’s covered in sweat.
Damn! He would have to calm his nerves somehow, and soonest in his own interest.
Seated at the far end of the room, his seat faced the exit. He has his manager to his left and his two dancers to the right. A large stool lay in front of them. On it is a bottle of table water, a few cups and a bottle of champagne, but none of them is drinking. This was by far, the farthest any of them had come in their individual careers, with all their role models in the same room as them. It is obvious to everyone, they felt inferior and out of place.
It’s the greenroom of the biggest carnival in the country. An event, even the biggest of artistes feel privileged to be a part of. There are several corners to the room, with different artistes and their individual team awaiting their turn to perform. Every now and then, the stage manager would pop in to give instructions and updates to everyone on who was next to grace the stage.
He tries to playback his song in his head, it just isn’t coming to him, at all. Of all the times for something like this to happen, it’s almost as if the song had been erased from his memory.
What if he doesn’t remember the song on stage? What if he gets on stage and loses his voice? Or he trips and falls? Or worse, the crowd boos him? He has never been here before, he has no idea on how to go about things here and sadly, he had more experience in this regard than his manager, who should have helped.
“I wan go pee” he whispers to his manager.
“E go better make I follow you” his manager whispers back, visibly nervous.
They are almost at the entrance, marked ‘convenience’ when a tiny voice pierces through the noisy atmosphere of the room.
“Jay Jay” the stage manager screams.
They both stop in their track, stopping to look back. Colliding into each other has them scrambling for balance. It takes several long seconds for both of them to find their bearings, they scream in unison,
“You are up next! Get your dancers ready, you go up in ten minutes. Here’s you mic” she says, handing him a medium sized cordless microphone. His grip is shaky, and it falls off his hands, making a rather loud disturbing sound that echoes through all the speakers in the venue as it hits the ground. The noise sweeps across the whole room, grunts of disapproval following suit.
“Hey! Are you trying to mess up my show?” The stage manager quips in frustration masked in anger.
“I am sorry. Please I am so sorry” he says, bending down to pick the mic up.
There is a long pause, all eyes on him now.
“Did that dude just say, ‘I am sorry’ into the microphone cos I am sure I heard that from the speakers” Nodemine a prominent rapper in the room asks loudly.
“Oh my goodness” Jay Jay exclaims, visibly shaken.
“I swear I didn’t know… I didn’t do that on purpose” he finishes even louder into the microphone, his manager tries to take the mic from him, he wouldn’t let it go. They both struggle for it, loud disturbing noise from their struggle echoes through the venue.
“Quiet!” A familiar commanding voice breaks it all up. All eyes turn in the direction which the voice came. It’s Jon Dazzy, arguably the biggest producer on the continent, and a record label CEO.
He heaves himself off his seat, picking up his glass of champagne, walking to Jay Jay and his manager. The horrified stage manager comes to stand beside him, arms at akimbo.
“Hi, I’m Jon Dazzy” he says, reaching out for the microphone.
“I’m Jay Jay sir, it’s nice to meet you. I’m sorry about all these, I’m just so tensed up being in the same room with all of you guys. I look up to you and I am about to face an actual crowd for the first time. Please forgive me”
Laughter breaks out from across the room, several people making fun of the situation.
“Don’t be like that Jay Jay, all of us here have experienced this same feeling at one time or the other, don’t mind all these people, they have all been here too. It’s ok to be nervous, just don’t let it rob you of your opportunity to shine” Jon dazzy encourages, putting his arm around Jay Jay shoulders, his drink on hand almost spilling on him. He slides over the switch of the microphone to turn it off with his other hand. “Introduce me to your team”
Jay Jay introduces his manager who is still glued to his side, he beckons on his dancers to come forward. The girls by now, look like frightened kittens in their seats.
“We need to get backstage right about now” the stage manager cuts in.
“Ok, go ahead, take a deep breath and own the stage” Jon Dazzy encourages again, patting him on his back, whilst handing him back the microphone.
Several other people across the room offer words of encouragement as the crew of four shuffles across the room after the stage manager. All eyes, still on them.
Jay Jay follows closely behind the stage manager with the rest of his crew, his heartbeat racing even faster. He could see someone running down the passage towards them, yelling as he gets closer.
“Who did that?! Who the F&!&k did that?!” He screams. “The whole crowd, everyone in there from my sponsors to the f&!&king audience who bought tickets heard that!!”
“Easy Taiye, the guy is a first timer. He is apparently nervous. Jon Dazzy has already spoken to him to boost his confidence, I’m sure everyone heard that too, he is good to go now” the stage manager explains
Jay Jay’s legs go numb, his manager and dancers feeling worse.
“Oh, so this guy who is too nervous to handle a microphone in the greenroom is supposed to climb my stage and embarrass himself in front of my audience?!”
“Taiye calm down abeg, you are not helping matters with this your rant”
She turns to face Jay Jay and his people,
“Let’s go guys”
Taiye moves aside as they file past him. At the end of the passage, the music gets louder, almost impossible to hear the next person speak. Jay Jay can see through the door to the stage, he gets even more nervous with the lights and cheers from the crowd and the stage itself.
“The DJ will stop the music any moment from now and the MC will introduce you” the stage manager screams in his ears
“Ok” he nods his reply.
He doesn’t hear the music stop, doesn’t even notice when the MC starts speaking. He however hears the MC scream his name and an ensuing cheer from the crowd follows. He grabs the mic a little tight, takes a deep breath and steps into the light.
The DJ starts playing his song, he can see his dancers had followed him on stage and are now starting to dance to it. He tries to look into the crowd for expressions but the lights hurt his eyes. Wow!!! This much light, he couldn’t see beyond the stage. And he is standing directly under the brightest so everyone can see him.
He has the mic to his mouth. The intro is over and the first verse is already on but he is yet to sing at all.
He starts to sing, but something doesn’t seem right, feels like he is the only one who can hear himself, everyone else is hearing the beat the DJ is playing, his voice drowning in it all.
F&@k!!! Jon Dazzy had slid the switch on the mic over to put it off!!!
He turns the switch back on and the mic comes alive. His singing comes alive through the speakers, he hears a new wave of cheers from the crowd.
Oh well! That’s encouraging.
He should try to move across the stage now and dance with his girls. The performance has gone past the first verse, the chorus, well into the second verse.
This is great, he is singing and really working the stage.
His dancers as well have shaken off their nervousness and are doing their thing, causing a major stir amongst the males in the audience who can’t take their eyes off their bodies.
‘This is where you take it to the next level’ he thinks to himself.
As the chorus comes in after the second verse, he takes a deep breath and leaps of the stage into the crowd, and all of a sudden, all lights black out, the music stops, and everything pauses for a bit as he hits the ground.
He opens his eyes to see all his roommates laughing hysterically at him. He had jumped off the top bunk in his sleep and hit the floor hard.
It was all a dream!!
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
This story was written by Ibrahim Skillz Ibrahim. #IBRAHIMshares was created by Ibrahim to share opinions, ideas, activities, imaginations, etc that could impacted positively on readers.