Tag Archives: singing

Cheering for the Underdog

18 Aug

Golden Dome

Last weekend, we watched my husband’s favorite movie, Rudy, with our 2-year-old daughter.  It is the consummate underdog story and Adam usually likes to kick off football season this way.  This time, he was excited to expand our daughter’s knowledge of Notre Dame football!  He has already been showing her a Notre Dame board book that labels the Golden Dome, Shamrock, Grotto, etc.  Seriously!  And she can name them all!  For about the past year, every time Adam would take her down the stairs to our basement, he’d lift her up and have her hit the “Play Like a Champion Today” sign that we have hanging at the bottom of the stairwell.  Of course, imagine my husband’s delight when our daughter recognized the “Play Like a Champion Today” sign in the movie and immediately ran off the couch to go hit our own sign!  He’s also been having her “practice” field goals with a big inflatable football.  I think she is ready for football season to begin!  Go Irish!

Anyway, this movie got me thinking about how others’ perseverance, determination, and hard work in the face of adversity and doubt is so inspirational!  Who doesn’t love a good motivational story where the unlikely champion/hero/dreamer achieves his or her goal?  It gives all of us hope to continue with our own pursuits, despite what others think and the obstacles that may come along.  Something I didn’t know until recently was that record setting, three-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, Tom Brady, was a 6th round draft pick!  Now he’s debated as one of the best NFL quarterbacks!  Of course, there are lots of great underdog sports movies, such as Hoosiers, Remember the Titans and The Blind Side, but there are also several other great non-sports related stories, like Temple Grandin, Patch Adams, and Erin Brockovich.  I think that we all love hearing about real life, everyday people using their talents and skills to do extraordinary things!

I know that Adam often feels like an underdog.  He’s heard so many times to “wait to have children until you make it.”  Adam loves our family and wouldn’t change a thing, but it is definitely more difficult to devote all the time that he would like to his music career right now.  He stays at home often during the week while I work to care for our daughters.  We don’t have extra money to put into his music, so he makes his own CD’s to sell every weekend and relies on good friends to help with recording, etc., for free.  He feels like higher-ups in the industry count him out as soon as they see him because he does not have the typical male country artist look.  Adam doesn’t quite know what genre/category his sound fits into…

Adam is going to continue to dedicate as much time as possible to his goals and continue to pray for God’s guidance.  He is pursuing a publishing deal and is collaborating more with other songwriters.  Yes, it will take a lot of work, but any progress he makes will definitely be due to God’s grace.

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Musicians Wanted

31 Jul

Alright, so yesterday was a little bit of a rough day.  Adam had his audition for NBC’s show “The Voice” yesterday, and did not get a callback.  Of course, getting on a television contest is a little bit like winning the lottery, but we were confident that he would at least get a callback to make it past the first round.  Adam was basically the 5,999th person out of 6,000 to try out in Nashville over the two-day tryout period.  He was in the last 10-person group of the day and he sang for just one person – a well-known vocal coach out of L.A.  He expressed enough interest in Adam to ask him to sing a second song, but then decided to only ask one young female to return for the second round.  Adam sang “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “Here Comes Goodbye.”  Adam said that when the group first came into the room, the coach told them that the Producers/Record Label were looking for individuals who were loyal to their genre of choice, whether that be country, R&B, pop, rock, etc.  Adam had about five various songs prepared to sing and they were from different decades and different genres, so he felt like the coach was talking to him.  This may be the reason that Adam did not get asked to come back for another round.

The Voice tryouts at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, TN

In Adam’s words, not getting a callback “stings the ego a little bit.”  Last night, we discussed what some next steps may be.  We both kind of feel like we are in a maze and we keep hitting dead ends.  We still are a little lost, but we will continue to pray and Adam plans to brainstorm various things he can do to keep pursuing his dream.  One thing that Adam feels strongly about is wanting to try to find other people to be in a group or band with.  Adam does not feel like he needs the spotlight to be on him.  Adam gets more enjoyment from sharing the stage with others.  The key to making something like this work, though, is finding like-minded people with similar motivations.  It made me think of writing a wanted ad!  Maybe something like this:

Talented singer/songwriter seeks musically gifted individuals who are seeking to follow God’s will for their life.  Must enjoy working with others and don’t mind sharing the spotlight.  Ability to sing harmony preferred.  Only those seriously interested in pursuing a career in music need apply.

More to come later about this crazy maze of a journey!  Have a good week, everyone!  My first post for my new “Dreamer in the Spotlight” series will be coming soon!

Hope Wins

19 Jul

So I’m finally able to get to the computer after a couple days of wanting to get on here and blog about a few different things that came together in my head about having faith and pursuing our dreams.  Things can get frustrating sometimes and it can be easy to feel discouraged.  It is a continuous battle to try to remain positive and hopeful about the future.  One song that popped in my head when thinking about this was “The Impossible” by Joe Nichols.  Here is the chorus:

Unsinkable ships sink.
Unbreakable walls break.
Sometimes the things you think would never happen,
Happen just like that.
Unbendable steel bends.
If the fury of the wind is unstoppable,
I’ve learned to never underestimate,
The impossible.

This song is just a great reminder that even when we can’t see what will happen and we don’t know what steps to take next, we should not give up hope.  “With God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19: 26)

I mentioned in my first blog post in the middle of May that Adam had recently had some revelations about the direction of his music career.  That same weekend, my dad was driving to visit my grandparents in Northern Indiana and while listening to Adam’s recent songs, he saw the sign “Hope Wins” outside a church.  He decided to turn around a take a picture of it to send to a friend who was going through a situation and had expressed that she was losing hope.  Little did my dad know that this would turn out to actually be a significant message for Adam.  About the same time that this picture was taken was when Adam was being questioned about what his vision is for his music.  Adam had been very discouraged before this and a light bulb went off in Adam and his passion and motivation was reborn!

The picture that my dad took on his phone 🙂

I’ve come across some inspirational quotes, recently, that I also thought would be motivating and appropriate to share.

“Take care of yourself and continue to persevere.  Do not allow doubt to creep across your goals.”  -Gary Caplan

“Each of us has been given a destiny and a light to shine.” -Marie Jones

“I believe 100% when your heart and  your mind are in the right place and there is no pretense, great things will come.  It’s that simple.” -Jimmy Wayne

“God does not discipline us to subdue us, but to condition us for a life of usefulness and blessedness.” -Billy Graham

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3: 5-6)

“Be patient.  God knows what He’s doing.  God knows what is best for you.  He can see the end result.  You can’t.  All those problems, heartaches, difficulties and delays–all the things that make you ask “why”–one day will all be clear in the light of God’s love.” -Rick Warren

“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” -Robert Louis Stevenson

I’d like to wrap up with a prayer from a book that I just started reading on my Amazon Kindle called, I Do… Every Day: Words of Wisdom for Newlyweds and Not So Newlyweds by Cynthia Bond Hopson and Roger Hopson.

Lord, with you we know that anything and all things are possible.  We claim and believe that you have plans for us–plans to nurture us and give us a future.  Direct our paths to the right people, places, and things to help make our dreams come true.  Help us be patient, prepared, and purposeful.  Amen.

God has plans for each one of us.  How wonderful this world would be if we all would strive to seek His will and pursue our gifts!  Anybody have any dreams of their own that they are following?

The Sweet Sound of Harmony

20 Jun

Adam and I had a conversation last night about how he feels like something is missing as a solo artist – harmonies. He feels that his music is not all he can offer to an audience without other voices accompanying his own. His songs are more powerful and dynamic with striking harmonies.

Adam has told me numerous times about how he loves singing harmony. He even wanted to be in a pop boy band in high school when Backstreet Boys, 98 degrees, and NSYNC were popular. He loved singing in groups for high school concerts. He would arrange songs and make sure everybody knew what part they were supposed to sing.

Adam has been blessed to grow up with musically gifted parents. He played drums in a band with them and took turns singing backgrounds and lead vocals with his mother and father. There is nothing like the sound of family harmony! Adam has really been missing this and feels that God is putting it on his heart to follow this path in some way.

Adam has also always loved team sports and being part of a group. He has fond memories of playing football in high school. He almost doesn’t like to think about it because he misses it so much! He is more motivated when working with people and enjoys encouraging others. He loves learning from other people and sharing about what he knows. Of course, it is still not clear what God has in mind for Adam, but maybe Adam is getting an idea of what brings out the best in him and makes his music unique and worth listening to.

And the journey continues…Good night!

ADHD: A Gift and a Curse

13 Jun

Most people who know Adam already know that he has Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.  Adam has always been open about this and the fact that he takes medication for it.  Granted, there are a lot of children who have had this diagnosis officially, or unofficially, slapped on them, when what they really need is some structure and discipline in the home.  At the community mental health center where I work, I’ve seen too many parents think that all their kid needs is some medication and then they will be a perfect angel.  Of course, there are some, like Adam, for whom medication has made a world of difference.

Adam started taking Adderall his sophomore year of high school.  He went from earning C’s and D’s  to making A’s and B’s in classes.  He graduated high school as one of the ten most improved students academically.  He is the “poster child” for a medicated person with ADHD.  When he takes his medication he has more motivation and focus.  He also has much better impulse control.  Trust me, we have quadruple the arguments when he does not take his meds consistently!  It is a much happier home when he thinks before he speaks (and can handle my occasional freak-outs more calmly)!  It also avoids some version of the following conversation (that we have had too many times to count):

Me: I didn’t know that you were going to (fill in the blank).

Adam: I thought I told you.

Me: No, I would have remembered that.

Adam: Oh, I must have forgotten.  Sorry.

Adam struggles sometimes, though, with whether or not he should take his medication based on what he needs to do/how he wants to be perceived.  Often, he is more quiet and withdrawn when he is on his medication.  He feels that he is not as funny or creative.  People can often tell when Adam has taken his medication vs. when he has not, based on his demeanor.  There are definitely pros and cons to both sides.  If he wants to come across to an audience as more outgoing and witty, he may not take his meds, but he may risk forgetting the words to a song.  He has tried a lower dosage but he does not feel it works as well, so it will probably always be something that he will have to deal with…

Whether it is labeled as ADHD, or not, this is what makes Adam creative and talented.  It is part of who he is and what he does.  Adam would not be Adam without this mixed blessing!

Class of 2001

10 Jun

Adam and Me - 2001

I just can’t wait til my 10 year reunion
I’m gonna bust down the double doors
And when I stand on these tables before you
You will know what all this time was for
– “No Such Thing” by John Mayer

I’m sure these lyrics summarize what Adam secretly thought when he graduated high school.  And now it’s here – the Concord High School Class of 2001 Ten-Year Reunion… Adam won’t be attending, though, because he will be out on the road.  I know that part of him would like to be there, but the other part is not satisfied with where he is at in his music career.  (Don’t we all wish to be living our dreams when we attend our first reunion?)  Adam is definitely a proud husband and father, but I know that he would feel like he hasn’t been as successful as he thought that he would be at this point in his life.  He wants to be able to support his family doing what he loves – singing his own music!  Of course, everyone measures success differently.  The fact that Adam moved to another state by himself to pursue his dream at 19-years-old is pretty courageous.  Adam is able to play music and sing professionally.  He works off-and-on at a well-known rehearsal facility in Nashville.  He has written (what I and others believe to be) some radio-worthy songs.

Even if Adam were where he wanted to be right now, there would be no “Toby Keith ‘How Do You Like Me Now?’ moment”.  The vast majority of people who have known Adam and have heard his voice have believed that he would be a star someday.  He was voted “Most Likely to Succeed In Music” in his senior class.  He performed original songs for two graduation ceremonies and a choir concert (which was extremely rare, if ever done before).  I know that a lot of people in the town of Elkhart, Indiana are rooting for him!  Please continue to support him!  I know that he appreciates any encouragement he receives!  It can be very frustrating and discouraging at times to feel like you have come so far, but have so long to go!  There is no sign of giving up, though.  There is no “plan b.”  The dream is still alive!

We have no idea what God has planned for him.  We are open to His will, but the difference now is that Adam has a focus and a mission to let God inspire and bring joy to others through his music and singing.  Adam’s confidence has grown so much in just the past month, because  as long as he is following what he believes is God’s path for him, then he knows that’s all that matters.  He cares about how God views what he’s doing more than what anybody else thinks.  How can a person go wrong with an attitude like that?!

Performing "Tell Me It's Real" by K-Ci and Jo Jo for Pops Concert (2000). That's Adam with the bleach blonde hair!

Idealistic Visions – A Good Laugh!

8 Jun

Today, I was thinking about how naive and idealistic I have been in the past about some things in regards to Adam’s music career and my life as a mommy…

I was fortunate enough to have a mother who was able to stay at home with me since the time I was born.  So for most of my life, I pictured myself as a stay-at-home mom, as well.  When I graduated college and got married, I figured I’d work for a couple of years and then be able to stay home whenever our first child was born.  I thought,  “Of course, Adam will make it by then and be able to support us on all the money he will be getting from his record deal!”  Then, after our first daughter was born, I thought, “Well, by the time God decides we’re ready for a second child, Adam will probably be successful enough that I won’t have to work outside the home then!”  Here I am, two children later, and I still have a full-time job!  (I do enjoy my job as a supervisor at a community mental health agency, though.)  Sometimes I get discouraged, but I feel so strongly that God has given Adam his musical gifts for a reason, that I continue to have faith that we will both be able to pursue the dreams that we have for our lives.  I feel very blessed that God has provided a way for my daughters to be taken care of by my husband and parents when I am working.  Adam usually has a flexible schedule during the week, since he is gone several months out of the year on the weekends.  It is nearly a miracle that my parents live close to us.  My dad retired unexpectedly early and my parents moved down to Tennessee only four months after our two-year-old was born!

Another instance that makes me shake my head, is in regards to an interesting story about Rascal Flatts.  When I was in high school, several of us loved this group that was up-and-coming at the time.  Adam, a friend, and I found out that they were going to be playing at a 21-and-over club close by on the night of my 18th birthday.  My friend’s mom and one of her friends decided to go to the show, so we recorded a video for them to give to Rascal Flatts about how much we loved their music.  Adam sang an original song and we all wrote our phone numbers and addresses on the VHS tape, as if they would contact one of us immediately and get Adam a record deal!  Ha!  I think it is absolutely hilarious that we thought a new group would actually be able to/want to pull strings for a 19-year-old guy in Indiana based on our videotape!  Like they didn’t have enough to worry about with getting their own career started!

Anyway, to finish the story, the VHS tape was delivered to them that night and I received a birthday card signed by all three of the group members!  About a month later, we drove to a nearby state to see them do an acoustic performance/interview.  We stood in line so we could meet them after the show.  We asked them about the video and they said that they had watched it!  Later that year, after Adam had moved to Nashville, he actually ran into Joe Don Rooney at a music store.  They talked for a little bit and he told Adam that we were lucky he watched our video tape.  He also said that he remembered his voice.   Kinda cool, huh?!

Obviously, after living in Nashville for awhile, we have found out how things really work in this town.  If someone “makes it” soon after moving here, he or she is extremely blessed.  Adam has found that many people like his voice and think that he is talented, but they have not taken any further steps to help him get his career moving.  I think a lot of people who aren’t familiar with the music business in Nashville wonder why Adam still hasn’t “made it” after almost 9 years of being down here.  Adam has spent the last several years trying to find his way.  He has pursued different projects that did not develop into anything and he has improved his songwriting skills.  Just recently, he has learned to trust his talent for coming up with catchy melodies and writing good songs.  I feel that God has been molding Adam and teaching him different things to get him ready for a certain path.  Adam has admitted that he doesn’t know what direction to go and is putting total faith in God.  He is committed to working hard to better himself physically and prepare mentally and spiritually for this journey ahead.  I know that God will bring the right people along to fulfill whatever plan he has for Adam.  It’s all in God ‘s time.  Stay tuned…

CMA Music Festival Week

6 Jun

Riverfront Park Stage in Nashville - CMA Fest 2008

It’s that time of year in Nashville when you actually see cowboy hats all over town.  It’s CMA Music Fest this week, formerly known as Fan Fair, when tourists and country music fans come from all over to attend concerts and fan appreciation parties for their favorite artists.

This is always a busy week for Adam.  As he has the past few years, he will be playing a few gigs at some clubs in town with Emma Jacob.   And for the past several years, Adam has been a tech at LP Field for the headliners’ shows.  He works a 16-hour-day four days in a row.  His job is to make sure the music equipment is working appropriately on stage.  He enjoys being able to catch up with his musician buddies who are playing with major artists.  Of course, he hopes to be performing on that big stage himself one day.

Adam on the big screen at Riverfront park - CMA Music Fest 2008

Adam will be doing a lot of running around over the next few days.  Add in some hot weather (it seems to be unbearable every year), and it is definitely exhausting, not only for Adam, but for most people involved!  It seems like summer is officially here whenever the CMA Music Fest rolls around!

New Direction

23 May

I added a picture to my first blog the other night of Adam and me the summer he moved down to Nashville. He is wearing a black cowboy hat and has a guitar strapped over his shoulder. You may think that he has a twang in his voice, if you didn’t know him! He actually has a pop/rock/r&b voice and has finally been writing songs that fit his vocal style. His melodies get stuck in your head for days, too! He has grown so much since he started writing songs over 10 years ago. It’s fun to look back and see how things evolve. We’ll see how he can break the Nashville mold now. He is definitely not a cookie-cutter artist, so we’ll just have to see where the journey goes. Needless to say, there’s no more cowboy hat (and hasn’t been for awhile)! Check out his music at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Adam-Lee/107793982609919.  He’d love feedback!

Let’s start at the beginning…

17 May

I am the wife of a dreamer – a musician.

I believed in my husband, Adam, before I even met him.  I saw him perform in our junior high school talent show.  He sang “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton and I, along with the rest of the audience, thought that he had an amazing voice.  He continued to stand out during high school musical concerts and as a drummer/singer with his parents’ band.   After he graduated high school he stayed around town for a year to earn money to move to Nashville, Tennessee.  During this time, we began dating and I always knew that music was what Adam was born to do.  In addition, to my belief in his voice, we also shared a strong faith in God.  In 2002, he moved to Nashville to pursue his music career and I headed off to a small college in the middle of a cornfield in Indiana.  We had a long distance relationship for three years.  I definitely didn’t have the typical college experience.  Most of my nights were spent talking on the phone and doing school work.  I took  extra courses most semesters and went to summer school.  I graduated early so that we could get married and I could follow him south.  I never once hesitated about leaving my supportive family and moving to a new life, since I believed in Adam and his God-given abilities so much.

Now here we are, nearly 6  years, a house, and two beautiful daughters later.  It has been a long, winding road so far in regards to Adam achieving his dream.  He has written numerous songs, pursued an 80’s cover band, a band project, and a duo project.  He has been playing guitar and singing backgrounds for a young female country artist.  He is a professional demo singer. Last year, he began a new path as a solo artist and has reached a new level with songs that truly fit his voice.  In some ways he has come so far and in other ways, he is only just beginning.

As I said before, I have always believed in Adam.  I have always trusted that God has a plan for him, since he is so musically gifted in so many ways and gets along so well with other people.  I have been praying that God will show him the steps that He wants Adam to take.  Recently, my prayers were answered.  Adam had been struggling with what to do with his music and was losing hope.  Due to some conversations with a couple of guys on the same day, he discovered that he had lost his purpose.  After some soul searching and some other God “coincidences” around the same time, he renewed his goal of wanting to speak the truth and bring God to a secular audience.  He has his passion and excitement back and I am very excited to see what God has in store for our lives.

We have already been blessed in countless ways, but when trying to make a dream a reality there are always sacrifices  and obstacles.  This blog will capture these times, as well as the positive, hopeful moments.  I feel that a big part of my mission in life is to support Adam in his career and to be the best mother that I can be.   I’m excited to be on this journey with the family that God has given me and to share these experiences with you!