Hello, Is This Thing On? - Stephanie Renee
Feb 23, 2014

Taking the stage again is a welcome, but intimidating, task

They say that once you learn to ride a bicycle, you never forget how. And while that advice is poetic and mostly true, what is missing from that phrase is the acknowledgement that remembering the basics of bike riding is nothing like maintaining the stamina and style of regular use of the skill.

I bought a bike not long after college, thinking that life in University City would be a welcome return to two-wheeled, low-cost transportation. But I soon learned that managing the hilly terrain between 30th & 45th Streets, and purchasing an appropriate anti-theft device, were a bit more than my aging thigh muscles and belief in the good of mankind bargained for. My noble intentions were no match for the demanding reality.

And this is the nagging voice in my head I am hoping to silence before I take the microphone this Friday.

This isn't an issue of stomach flutters. I might as well have been born with a microphone in my hand. Damn near everyone in my family is a performer of sorts. Dancers, singers, actors, ministers, educators, storytellers...there isn't a shy one among us. Podium, stage or pulpit, my DNA craves an audience and compelling material. But there is something to be said for the power of familiarity and repetition. When I first got into the performance game in Philadelphia, I was out at venues several times a week. I actively sought out gigs--local, national and overseas--and thus the cycle of creation, rehearsal and performance was a perpetual force in my life. Now that my focus has shifted from nightlife and musical theter stage to daytime media host, it's an entirely different ballgame. I respect the gifts I've been given, but I am acknowledging that I need to get my microphone weight up again.

A note to the neighbors who live above and below me: just as I have endured your stomping, furniture sliding, and other disruptive forces in my calm and peace, so shall you prepare to hear far more of my out-loud poeticizing and vocal warm-ups in the near future. I have made a promise to myself that 2014 will be the year when I find a better balance between my journalistic pursuits and the legacy of creativity of which I am most proud and to which I gratefully belong. I'm returning to the days of my youth when endless hours were spent in my basement, singing along with my favorite records and choreographing entire variety show routines. In those moments of focused dedication, I birthed a confidence and a fearlessness that has served me well my entire life, on and off-stage. It's time to get back in the routine of grooming excellence. And, trust...my superhero theme music is gonna be epic.

Here is last week's playlist:

And don't forget to come see me do my poetic and vocal thing, as the host and featured vocalist for the monthly artist showcase produced by Nate Brown Entertainment. Friday, February 28 at 5432 Wayne Ave (private residence), doors open at 7pm. See my Facebook page for the flyer, click here to RSVP and purchase tickets.