Friends, Romans, countrymen...welcome back to You Are Here! Today we are continuing on with a conversation I had with Maria Pedro. If you missed chapter 1 from Monday, I highly suggest backtracking for a moment to go back and read that post first as I think it nicely sets up the topic we’ll be dealing with today. Today’s conversation touches on something I feel immensely passionate about: taking back our power to be free to be who we truly are in all of our quirky uniqueness.
Maria: I went to an appointment the other day and I was really nervous for it, I don’t know why. And I was looking at all these girls and none of them had their sides. It was just a song. And I was like ‘we got it a day ago.’ It’s not like we had it for a week and a half but everyone is going in there off book. So you’re saying you worked through all these beats, you know exactly what you’re saying, what you’re doing, and you know all the words?! Ya’ll have jobs?! And I felt bad but I was like I could do it off book but I would be standing there singing and thinking ‘next line, next line, next line.’ And how many times have we been told thats not- but that’s how other people are rehearsing and I’m like ‘is that what being prepared means? Is that what I’m supposed to do?’ I did some work on it! I worked through what I wanted to do with the song. I didn’t worry about learning the words. And then I start second guessing myself. I know that I’m being the actor and I did look at the lines and wanted to get behind them instead of just memorizing them by rope but I still felt inferior. And I was like ‘why?’
Becky: It’s hard to trust yourself and trust that what you’re doing is enough. And trust that... what’s way more fulfilling? Memorizing words and being like ‘I memorized this five page song in five hours’ or ‘I know what this song is about and I know who I’m talking to and I know why I’m singing this song and what I’m trying to get out of it by the end.’ Which one’s gonna be more fun? The second one.
Maria: It’s like when you would cram for school. There’s no joy in that. You’re just trying to get through the test. But then a week later do you have any idea what the material is? It’ll leave your brain. You don’t really even understand what you were supposed to be learning in the first place. And I think trusting myself more would be a wonderful thing to try to remember especially once we get into busy audition season.
Becky: I think everyone can work on that. I can work on that. You know, I’ll be in a holding room and people start second guessing their song material. And I’ve done that before too. If I hear someone in the room and I’m like ‘oh, should I belt more?’ Especially for new work if you can’t listen to the cast recording you’re just basing your song choice off of their little one line description in the breakdown...
Maria: They’re like must have high soprano belt, but legit high C, bottom note- and you’re like ‘wait, what?’
Becky: Exactly! And it becomes very easy to compare yourself and try to be part of this school of fish and everyone’s doing everything the way they’re supposed to-
Maria: But going in with a choice that you’ve already decided on and that you’re prepared to do...Instead we’re all like ‘wait we don’t wanna be the one that goes in and they’re like 'why did you pick that?’ I really think people just want to fit in.
Becky: Which is funny ‘cause don’t you wanna stand out? If you’re going on an audition you don’t wanna fit in.
Maria: And unless you’re singing something glaringly wrong, like unless you sing “If I Loved You” for Rent...this whole song picking thing has always been so fucking annoying to me. I’ll be like ‘yeah I sang this for this audition’ and someone will be like ‘that’s wrong, that’s completely wrong.’ But why? I understand there are some choices that are smarter than others but everyone’s gonna say ‘don’t sing this, don’t sing that,’ or ‘sing this, sing that.’ Everyone has a different spin on it and I’m like ‘when can I say what I wanna sing and what I sound best on’...And at this point I have so many different coaches. I’ve just been going through everyones list... ‘who do you use, who do you like,’ and I’m just trying to get everybody’s opinion. And everybody’s so different and I’m kind of like I don’t think I need this. Not that I don’t need coaching, I need coaching and I need class...but I don’t need people’s glaring opinions to dictate what I’m doing unless it’s something that I really get behind. It’s hard to listen to everybody else and take their advice but also listen to your own self and think ‘well what do I want? What do I wanna sing?’
Becky: I mean we sing those songs in our book all the time, every day, so if you don’t love it what’s the point?
Maria: For the Clueless EPA I was like ‘I don’t really have anything 90s in my book’ which is so absurd because the 90s are like the best decade ever. And I brought this song into class and we ended up rearranging it. It was the theme song from Friends. So silly but very me and we made it kind of indie and jewel-like at the beginning and then got into chorus and I was like ‘this is so unique. It’s a unique arrangement. It’s kind of a quirky choice.’ And I had so much fun putting that together and bringing it in the room. I was really excited to sing it. And that felt really good because most of the time I don’t feel so excited to sing. And even though I got the most passive thank you I could have gotten I was like ‘you’re welcome! I feel good. I feel so good!’ That was a lesson I learned to tailoring things to what you wanna do and what you wanna say...
I feel like I’m very unconventional and so accepting that and not trying to be the cookie cutter girl, that feels good to me. -Maria
Maria (continued): So the good thing about being different and off the beaten path is that you can pick off the beaten path things...that’s the good part about not having this really obvious marketability is being even more creative and being like ‘who are you to say what I should be doing because I don’t even really fit in your mind for any of these roles anyway.’ ... This journey of figuring out what story I wanna tell is something that I feel is gonna continue forever.
Alright y’all. That’s this week’s conversation! Maria, thank you so much for sharing with me. Maria can be found on instagram @mariaped91. And now, dear reader, I want to hear from you! Let me know how you’re feeling about all this. You can comment on a post or send me a private message. Either one works! And if you haven’t already done so don’t forget to subscribe and become a member of the blog to stay informed about future posts! Next up: I’ll be sharing a conversation with a friend from college, who I hadn’t seen in about five years, Amanda Jane Snyder.