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Guest Blogger – Priscilla Cherry: Crowds, Choirs, Clichés

I can quote clichés on how the journey to success is not a smooth paved road, and how if opportunity doesn’t knock, then build a door. The truth is none of this matters until experienced first hand.
I’ve participated in other campaigns before, so when the Alberta BoostR Crowdfunding campaign presented itself, I thought, “Public speaking is my forte, I got this!” So I practiced 64 times (I counted), crammed in some episodes of Dragon’s Den, and I even went to the hairdresser’s for a new do. Lights, judges, action! I hit the stage with visuals and all, and soon to my pleasant discovery, I didn’t “have” much at all.
See, I’m all about grand gestures for ultimate effect. With only 3 minutes on the clock to make or break my case on stage, I wanted my presentation to be as memorable as possible. They say if your dreams don’t scare you then they’re not big enough. Who is “they” anyway? Whoever “they” are, “they” were right! So, to really wow the crowd and demonstrate the power of music, as a part of my introduction I wanted to execute the biggest flash song anyone has ever seen and that I could realistically pull off in 48 hours. (Yes it should be flash dance, but no way I had time for choreography, so singing a snippet from Bob Marley’s “One Love” would suffice).
Those couple days prior to pitch day I contacted as many choirs, bands, musicians and dancers as my phone battery and gas allowed me to. I visited some churches during their choir practice and with no real set plan, only the hope that my passion emanated through my pitch, that they saw a mutual music connection with the sound of their vocals plus Shaunio Radio, that this would be enough for them to want to help execute my master plan!
3 churches, 18 phone calls, a Kijiji ad and a few social media posts later, I finally received one guitar player’s commitment to my presentation! From my vision of filling the venue with maximum capacity to just me and my Kijiji-found guitar player, as long as I wasn’t alone on that stage, I was ready to go.
Pitch day arrived and I was all in. No matter how ready you think you might be, always be prepared for unexpected outside factors out of your control. All the practicing in the world couldn’t have prepared me for my guitar player cancelling last minute and the killer presentation the final winner, FredSense, made. As soon as she hit the stage, it was as clear as her biology engineered H20, who was taking home the larger than life sized ATB cheque that day.
Pitching in front of a 250-person crowd and a panel of esteem judges, was such an amazing personal growth and learning experience, I wouldn’t trade it for anything (except the guaranteed success of my business of course!). I know how many sacrifices I made over the year building my business, and really thought with my 60-page business plan, industry contacts and leg work in place, I had everything figured out. The event completely humbled me and revealed, “We still have a lot of work to do girl!”
It always puts a smile on my face when people ask me if I knew that Journalism was something I always wanted to do, because without hesitation I can positively respond with a nod of my head or a simple “Heck yea!” Some people spend their whole lives searching for their life’s purpose, and it warms my Caribbean soul knowing I was lucky enough to discover mine at an early age. Ironically enough, I think we all have the same purpose. To take care of the earth and each other as best we can through our words and actions. It’s just a matter of discovering HOW you want to do this, that will also put a smile on your face when people ask you about your chosen career path.
I don’t see victory in the literal sense of loser versus winner; it’s all on how you personally define it. I received such amazing feedback from the judges, crowd, friends and family, and as cheesy or cliché as it may sound, I felt like the real winner that day. Find your purpose, don’t deny your passion and hit the ground running even if you’re the only one on the road (or stage in my case). To follow and be apart of our journey on the road, visit www.shaunioradio.com.