I first met LJ when we were co-performers at a fundraiser late April 2018. We hit it off immediately. I had heard of her before and it was nice to finally put a face to the name
Vancouver can be a clique town when it comes to performers, but LJ is not one of those people. She is generous, kind and a hoot to be around. I thought it a natural progression to include her in the guest artist series on my blog.
Alberta born and bred ...
She was born in Edmonton. Eventually, her family moved to Creston, BC where she grew up and attended high school. She moved in her teens to the coast where she has remained for the last 28 years.
Like me, LJ is a latecomer to the music scene. A relative newbie with years of experience. I’m intrigued when I find fellow performers who have similar backgrounds to mine. I couldn't wait to hear her story.
Like me, she has been singing most of her life. But unlike me, the dream to sing wasn’t a burning desire that drove her throughout her life. She calls it more of a fantasy.
The fantasy ...
She would sing. Someone would discover her. The rest would be history.
A common fantasy like those who buy lottery tickets. I remember having it myself. Never realizing the actual work involved in ‘making it’. Work. A lot of hard work.
Da, da, da, dum ...
Reality and fantasy are seldom in the same room and for LJ it was no different. I asked her what made her decide to pursue being a performer in her 40’s. She described it as an awakening.
She had ended a painful relationship. One in a line of painful relationships and found herself in couple’s therapy. While in therapy she discovered her own dysfunction (side note – I love this. Having the courage to look at yourself and see what you bring to the table – good and bad. That takes some real chutzpah) and after many sessions, her true self. And her true self is that of a performer.
LJ is smart in how she approaches being an over 40 musician in Vancouver. She knows she’s chosen a difficult path. There is little control over what happens. It’s a lot of hard work. But she also has a good life. A happy marriage. Good friends. Performing doesn’t complete her. It’s another part of her life. A good part.
When she senses the doubt about her age she tells herself
“How do I know I’m too old? This is my life.”
Now that's a Divalicious! attitude. It’s the journey that is important to LJ more than the destination. She reminds herself she can quit the stage at any time. No one has a gun to her head. Which relieves the pressure. She takes one step at a time and waits to see where the journey leads her.
As an onlooker, I can see that her consistent steps have led her to work with some fine Vancouver musicians. She’s put out a lovely album titled Here in the Dark. She is a busy performer with gigs all over town. Her star is rising.
When asked what advice you would have for someone with a dream who considers themselves too old? She says,
“Start now. Just start. Remember it’s a process. Think of it as a marathon with no one endpoint. There will be highlights and low points, but it is the journey that is important.”
“Don’t let others dictate how your dreams should go. It’s your life.”
She went on to say
"The world would be a much better place if people followed their given paths. When we give validation to our dreams we feed our souls. Improve our mental health. We are kinder, more empathetic, more giving."
I LOVE that. It’s so true.
“Now if I decided I wanted to take ballet at this age, I wouldn’t expect to get into the Russian Ballet. But that shouldn’t stop me from taking a ballet class.”
What's next ...
LJ’s next challenge is to start writing her own songs. Performers who bare their souls through their songs inspire her. She loves that they take that risk. She wants to be one of those performers. And of course, record another album.
I have a feeling we can look forward to both of those things happening. I wish her all the luck in the world.
Check out LJ’s Album Here in the Dark.
That's it for this week's blog. Chat soon! And above all ...