WHEN I GOT THE FEVER FOR THE STAGE

My earliest memory of being infatuated with performing is when my mom took me to see The Wiz with Stephanie Mills. I don’t even remember blinking ‘cause I didn’t want to miss anything. I was smitten. The singing was incredible, and I was mesmerized as they danced up and down the aisles. I wanted to get up and dance with them. My mom had to remind me several times to sit down. I remember telling my mom I could do that, referring to performing. Seeing The Wiz was the best gift she ever gave me. After that, something was sparked inside of me.

My mom bought me one of those record players that sat inside a little white suitcase with a plug that hung out the back. I owned three eight-inch records that I played back-to- back: Annie, The Wiz, and Sister Sledge. Nobody could tell me I wasn’t Annie. At that time, we lived on the second floor of an apartment building and I used to stand on top of my toy chest in the window (that was my stage) and sing to the people downstairs. Sometimes they would ignore me and carry on; other times they would stop and watch. I would get excited when I had a crowd and I would sing louder. I was and still am extremely shy, so it’s odd that I enjoyed performing in front of crowds. I didn’t like talking to people or being looked at, but I had no problem performing for them.