What’s In A Name

+ - I ^

‘And still I rise’, the title of my debut album was taken from a Maya Angelou poem. I was fortunate to have seen this wonderful writer read her poetry live on stage. She blow my mind and sent me running to the nearest bookshop to read her poetry and her prose. When it came time to find a name for my first album the title seemed the natural choice for me. Despite pressure from the label to call the album ‘Where love lives’ I held out for something not so obvious, something that told my story. I was no mere stripling out of school when I signed my deal. I had already had one career as a contemporary dancer, another in musical theatre. I had trucked my demos around, trying to get a deal only to be told no, no and thrice no. As a jobbing performer, braving the cattle market that is an open audition, you have to learn to pick yourself up and try again, especially if – like me back then – you did not fit into any catogorisable mould. You learn to turn your hand to whatever keeps you going in your chosen direction; you never lay down and quit, even after the fourth rejection or the tenth wasted journey. If I had given up, if I had believed those who told me my voice didn’t fit (worse yet that my voice did not fit my face – yes I was once told I didn’t look enough like my voice; that my voice was great but that I, a skinny black woman with short hair, would be ‘wrong in the show’ I had auditioned for) then what followed after could never have happened.

Ms Angelou is no longer with us; I mourned her passing but her words keep on lifting me. I am still endeavoring to do what I do – with a modicum of grace and a whole heap of passion. Careers four and five await me; I still have stuff I need to do so must rise to meet each new challenge before me.

Challenge One: Build me a website – tick!!

Here is an excerpt intended to lift the spirit, to speed you onward, even if only to the nearest the library.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.


From And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou

Posted on: 28th April 2015