Miss America – Signing Up for Stardom

I am 8-years-old and I attend Mon Repos RC School in San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago. All eyes are on me. I have rehearsed with my friends Psyche and Melita for weeks… the words, the steps, the melodies, the song. Now I am finally ready to get on stage and take my talent out of my dad’s room where I perform in the mirror for an audience of one.

The makeshift stage in the school courtyard is ready for possibly the biggest event of the year, the school soca competition. So, under the blazing Caribbean noonday sun, in a yard full of my peers, teachers and my father (towering over everyone else by the way, I get my height from him), I strut up to the microphone like I’m Drake at Summer Jam in New York City. Stunting in a red uniform, I open my mouth, half sing four lines until I hear my voice cracking on the loud speaker and I drop the mic, running like Usain Bolt out of the limelight.

I don’t know what changed since that day, but at some point I got back on stage and loved it because now… I AM A ROCKSTAR! Bona-fide, tried and true. From long flights to long hours, studio sessions to short and long term love affairs, fiancée’s to marriage to divorce and meetings upon meetings. Honestly, I’m no pop star like Katy Perry yet but I make a living at my craft and 2010 is shaping up to be a grand year.

For all of you that think Rome was built in a day and Beyoncé was created in board meeting, I’m going to show with this column, entitled Miss America, how we artists have to work for this thing called a music career. It’s a job like any other, even though I’ll admit that the perks are extra-ordinary. In a world full of narcissists, megalomaniacs and hustlers (and that’s just the artists, me included, lol) all fighting for the same things—like a marketing budget during this recession—the path to success is more like a obstacle course to heaven!

So Parlouristas, and the boys that love us, I’m granting you an all-access pass down the rabbit hole into my world. Before you enter, please take off your rose-colored glasses and hold onto tight to Toto… ’cause Dorothy (Diana Ross’ Dorothy from The Wiz, of course) we ain’t in Kansas anymore. Or Harlem? Well you catch my drift, the quest for success in the music business is no bullshit so stay tuned!

Malene aka Miss America

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