Hi guys and gals!
Welcome to the Sing Like No One's Listening Blog Tour!
To celebrate the release of Sing Like No One's Listening by Vanessa Jones on September 1st, blogs across the web are featuring original content from Vanessa, as well as 10 chances to win a finished copy plus a grand prize giveaway! Guess who signed up to participate? Yep, THIS GIRL! Now, guess who gets a chance to explore more about this title, killer content from the author, AND a chance to win? YOU DO! Read on my friends, READ ON!
Sing Like No One's Listening
Release Date: 09/01/2020
A moving story of grief and healing – sure to be a pure joy for any musical theater aficionado.
Nettie Delaney has just been accepted into a prestigious performing arts school―the very same school her superstar mother attended. With her mother’s shadow hanging over her, Nettie has her work cut out for her―and everyone is watching. To make matters worse, Nettie hasn’t been able to sing a single note since her mother died. Whenever she tries, she just clams up. But if Nettie’s going to survive a demanding first year and keep her place in a highly coveted program, she’ll have to work through her grief and deliver a showstopper or face expulsion.
All may not be lost, however, when Nettie stumbles upon a mysterious piano player in an empty studio after class.
Masked behind a curtain, can Nettie summon the courage to find her voice? Or will the pressure and anxiety of performing come crashing down?
All about finding and raising your voice, and not throwing away your shot, Vanessa Jones’s well-crafted journey of grief and healing will pull readers along with its strong narrative voice and satisfying sense of mystery.
What people are saying...
“Jones' novel has the expected Fame vibes that will delight any reader who loves stories of aspiring young stars learning their craft, but its exploration of Nettie's complexities makes the story unique…. Jones offsets the narrative’s weightier moments with light and quirky ones, making it a fast read with staying power."— Booklist
“Anglophiles, music and theater nerds, and those looking for some classic will-they-won’t-they romance will all find something to enjoy here. Jones writes her subject matter authentically, with obvious passion to balance the professional arts’ not-so-pretty struggles…. A touching portrait of healing after loss.”
How to Audition for a West End Show
by Vanessa Jones
My first novel, Sing Like No One’s Listening, is inspired by my time as a performer in London’s West End. Specifically, it’s inspired by the period of about six months when I got terrible stage fright—it got so bad that it affected my ability to get work. Castings were the worst. My throat would dry, my limbs would shake, my top lip would get stuck to my gums and my voice would cut out. Which didn’t make for a good singing audition. . .
Speaking of which, I thought it might be fun to take you through the audition process over here in the UK. I’m sure it’s the same with Broadway—everyone’s after that dream West End role, so competition is stiff. Thousands of people all going for the same job, all hoping to be picked. So, how does it work?
The first thing that happens is that someone gets wind that a show is going to be casting. When I say “someone”, I mean a random actor who had their hair cut by a wigs mistress who borrowed a ladder off a stage manager who happens to know the casting director. . . you get the drift. This is always before the casting breakdowns go out, before any official announcements are made—and as soon as it happens, the entire theatre community is on the phone to their agents, asking to be seen for the show in question. Those days when commuters complain that they can’t get through to anyone on their phones? A hundred percent because the lines are clogged up by actors trying to get a casting.
So, you’ve secured an audition. Yay you! Now the fun really starts. You’ve got to find a song in the style of the show (but not actually from the show), that shows off your fantastic vocal range and acting skills, that is both not overdone and yet not so obscure that no one’s ever heard it of before. If you’re organised, you probably have one in your repertoire. If you’re not (I wasn’t), you’ll either spend the next three days desperately trying to learn some flashy new number that you may or may not be too nervous to actually try out on the day, or you’ll stick to one of your three trusty songs that aren’t really right for anything but somehow seem to have landed you your last seven jobs.
The day arrives. You’ve spent hours planning what to wear, how to do your hair, whether or not to put on makeup, how much makeup to put on, and if the show’s already established, trying to look exactly like the part you’re up for. You get up two hours early to warm up your voice, much to the dismay of your downstairs neighbours, before setting off for your audition, hoping as you check your phone for the details that it’s not in one of those really-difficult-to-get-to studios in North London. When you arrive, you wait with a bunch of other people who dishearteningly look a lot like you, until you’re called in to sing. This round is usually quite short—you sing your song, endure an awkward moment of small talk with the panel, and leave, having a sudden panic as you turn to go that your skirt is tucked into your knickers. That last part is standard.
If you’re lucky, you get a recall. Usually at this stage, you’ll be sent material from the show to learn, and you’ll be invited to a dance call. The dance call is always in the hottest studio in London, with no air-conditioning and showers that haven’t worked since 1993, and you dance in groups of a hundred. (Don’t even get me started on open auditions, where you queue round the block all day to get seen for two minutes. Gah.) But somehow you manage to make the cut, and you’re through to the next singing and acting round. You take the new songs and scenes that you’ve painstakingly learnt and perfected into the room and show the panel what you can do. (Occasionally the casting director will express surprise that you’ve been given said parts to learn and ask if you could possibly come and sight read this other song that is far more suitable to your talents. Inside, you’re seething, but you smile and go over to the piano like the pro that you are.)
There might be five, six, seven more rounds of this, and the stakes getting higher each time. And then you come to the final. It’s a big deal to get this far. You’ve outrun most of the competition; you can almost taste that Twitter announcement. You arrive at stage door —the final audition is usually onstage at a theatre. There are suddenly tens of people watching you from the audience, a camera pointing at your face and, more often than not, a famous producer skulking around at the back of the stalls, drinking a coffee and barking orders at the creatives. You hold your nerve, walk centre stage where you belong, and give the performance of your life. At least, you hope you have. That guy with the pencil behind his ear standing against the ladder didn’t seem too impressed. In fact, he talked loudly about lighting gels all the way through your first song. Anyway, you’ve done your best, so there’s nothing else to do but go home and wait for the call.
The “call” can take anything from a day to three months, by which time you’ve even forgotten you were up for the part. Sometimes it never comes, and you discover you didn’t get the job when you walk past a studio and see the new cast rehearsing. But when it does come, it’s the best feeling in the world. You did it. You got the job! They picked you, over everyone else.
And that’s when the hard work really starts.
Vanessa Jones trained at Laine Theatre Arts and went on to be a musical theater actor in West End Shows, including Sister Act, Grease, Guys and Dolls, Annie Get Your Gun, and Mary Poppins. She began her writing career with a stage play for a fringe theater and also works as a freelance copywriter and editor. She lives in England with her fellow chimney sweep.
1 winner will receive a finished copy of Sing Like No One's Listening. Check out the other tour stops for more chances to win.
Ends 11:59pm ET on 9/13
a Rafflecopter giveaway
GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY
1 winner will receive a finished copy of Sing Like No One's Listening and a Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone!
Ends 11:59pm ET on 9/13
Blog Tour Schedule:
8/31 - BookhoundsYA
9/1 - A Dream Within A Dream
9/2 - The Fandom
9/3 - WordSpelunking
9/4 - Christy's Cozy Corners
9/7 - I'm All Booked Up
9/8 - Book Briefs
9/10 - Wishful Endings
9/11 - Diva Book Nerd
Special thanks to Media Masters Publicity for the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, the publisher, this tour, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above.
Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!