Remember doing group work in school?
Yeah. I couldn’t stand it. I felt like I was always the student who did more than her share of work because someone had to overcompensate for the people who weren’t motivated by good grades or high achievement. (And for the record, no, good grades aren’t everything. But in school, they’re the main measuring tool. I was usually upset to receive anything lower than 90%.)
So any time the idea of singing in a group came up, I was quick to dismiss it. I grew up LOVING vocal groups like TLC and Boyz II Men, and still do, but I couldn’t picture myself as a member of a group. Chattrisse, in my mind, was a solo act. A one-woman success story. My African name at the time was Zenzele, which translates to “she will do it herself,” and I really wasn’t looking for any company onstage. Having to deal with multiple egos and personalities, running the risk of becoming a backup performer while the lead singer hogs the spotlight, and then having to split the paycheque between two or three or five people on top of all that??? No thanks.
I guess back then I still believed that you could do big, huge, world-shaking, record-breakingly awesome things on your own. And the further away I get from my school years and their haunting memories of “group” “work,” the more I realize that having a team not only makes most goals more easily attainable, it also lets you have way more fun along the way.
For example, I did a theatre tour earlier this year with two fellow cast members, and the energy we brought to the stage when all three of us were “on” was awesome. The backstage hijinks were also way more fun than if I were just noticing something funny with no one to share it with. And when one of us was feeling sick or extra tired, there were two other people there who could lend extra support. (Shoutout to Madeleine Jullian and Phil Poirier, I had a blast!)
Have you ever danced a solo? I’m still slightly terrified of that (working on it). But dancing that same piece with two other performers feels wicked! And honestly, as a singer, one of the best sounds in the world is your voice harmonizing with other voices.
So while I haven’t completely changed my mind about being in a group … for example, I’m not seeking group members and if I were I would try to create something where all the performers share the spotlight, taking turns singing lead on different singles … I’m not totally opposed to it anymore. It might be fun. It might be a ton of fun. And if it doesn’t work out, leaving a group has been a great launch to a solo career for lots of people.
Oh, I almost forgot: the picture up top is of me, Taylor Evans and Jazz Testolini backstage at The Opera House. I adore singing with these two! I don’t know how long we’d last as a group though, lol! xoxo