"So we dance all night stomp our boots, Dreams keep flowing singing country blues.... So the drums are banging strumming my guitar, On the highway to hell to be rock n roll stars" -Denise Carstens (Song: Rising Star)
So where do I begin? At the beginning i guess!
Well, I remember the day I got that email so clearly. It was a Wednesday in April! BUT that Monday I almost I gave up on my music. I remember crying and telling my mom at the end of 2016 I am going to leave music for a 8 to 5 job. I was heartbroken - cause making a career out of singing is not the easiest! (...and I am sure I am not the only artist feeling like this some days)
My mom told me lets pray. Lets ask God for a sign - must I keep on singing OR must I get another job. I went to bed with mixed emotions. Woke up - kept pushing an started recording a song in my room. Woke up Wednesday morning. Usually first thing I do is grab my phone and check my emails and messages and new Facebook notifications. And there it was.... an email with the words "Texas Sounds International Country Music Awards". I am nominated for a Texas Sounds Award and will be participating against people from 12 different Nations. I will be the only South African this year.
I opened it and after reading the first two lines I was like... urgh another scam. But lets keep on reading. After reading everything I was confused cause I though this can't be real! This is some sort of scam - and I immediately started to google. I looked for blogs that said this is fake. When I found nothing - I started googling for images where contestants performed at this event in previous years. And I found all the "right" stuff to convince myself that this is real.
I cried. I cried some more. Happy tears they were. I called my mom. She freaked out. I called my boyfriend - he was bit worried bout it at first but the freaked out as well and said he is coming with. Both my mom and boyfriend were so proud. I Skyped my brother and he couldn't believe it either. We were ecstatic. Besides my boyfriend - not one of us has ever traveled overseas before!! Later that night my brother texted me these words: "Dude, I am also coming with"
A few emails back and forth, a lot of research and a lot of homework done and we gave the okay. Now what? We are clueless on how to book a ticket, how to book accommodation, how to rent a car and most important how to fill in those Visa forms online and make your appointment at the embassy. And are we even gonna get a Visa? BUT everything worked out perfectly - we did everything ourselves - cause we are not soooo clueless!! :)
How to get the money now? I was worried. Mom had hers, brother got his - but my boyfriend and I had to save. I kept on thinking - God will not sent this amazing opportunity and then leave me. All of sudden bookings came in and made my weekends one by one full. Two amazing venues - Villa Visaggio's & La Lancha opened up their venues to me for big fundraising shows. I got a hamper to sell raffles. My Debut Album came out and I sold a lot of them already! God provided again!
We are almost in September now. There's 1.5 months; 6.4 weeks; 45 days; 1,083 hours and 64,999 minutes left before we climb on that plane and travel 8,757 miles (14,094 km) to Dallas Airport!! Yes - I get butterflies every time I think about it. And I feel extremely blessed!
My lists are made of what I still need to get, what I must pack in, what I want to buy that side and what we must see and do that side. I don't sleep at night anymore. My mind can't switch off. Everyday I put my earphones on and listen to country music - hard - and I can't stop laughing and squealing and giggling!! This is a dream coming true. And still everyday God keeps blessing me with messages from people over the world with the most beautiful compliments.
Thank you Lord!!!
"It's not how many times you get knocked down that count, it's how many times you get back up."
Denise, The Author
Blogging, Vlogging, Singing, Music...