Out of my depth...... / by Tracy Kashi

Genre bending was probably always on the cards for a global mutt like me. My dad was an Iranian jew brought up in Jerusalem and my mum was a daughter of Polish and German refugees. Accordingly my singing career has embraced modern opera, musical theatre, gospel and world music singing in French, Hebrew, and Spanish. But…..for a brief time I  was to be a lawyer…lawyers are a good safe bet for someone with my background, or so I thought……

Throughout my law studies there was a voice in my head that said I was in the wrong place. I very carefully ignored that voice but I always kept my hand in music by session singing for writers and doing backing vocals for friends with bands. . Just as I was about to qualify, I started doing singing workshops and one of the teachers invited me to join a showcase of students. An agent was there and we started working together. Dream come true?? Utter nightmare more like....

The realities of constant auditioning made me paranoid about my weight, height, skin colour, teeth, curly hair, as well as eroding any confidence I had in my talent. Ask any jobbing actor or session singer what its like and they’ll probably tell you the same thing. There was enormous pressure to enjoy the few jobs you were lucky enough to get but invariably it was a challenge to appreciate the artistic qualities of hard sell commercials and truly dreadful fringe theatre. On tour I felt lonely, out of my depth and far away from friends and family. At one job I had to be wrapped up in meat while reciting Shakespeare. I was so traumatised by the experience I left most of my clothes behind. Maybe its because it wasn't kosher meat. (A girl’s first introduction to bacon ought to be a more carefully thought out thing) By the time I made it to a West End production I was so exhausted emotionally I couldn't appreciate what a privilege it was. In a few short years I had gone from streetwise, solvent, confident trainee solicitor to a scrimping, snivelling, temping wreck. Oh and I was 3 stone heavier. A fact made painfully clear when during a shoot for a commercial in Amsterdam. My agents now ancient measurements for my body were cruelly brought to my attention when NONE of the clothes for the shoot fitted me. A delightful exchange between the producers and my agent ensued. Oh The Shame!! Speaking of humiliation...Dance calls were always interesting….try and picture a depressed dick van dyke in chitty chitty bang bang when he’s one step behind everyone else with his old bamboo. I had to freestyle my way through jazz tap, ballet, tango, African ( 58 recalls for The Lion King )…and one particularly bad bollywood routine. I shiver everytime I go past the street in covent garden that leads to pineapple dance studios…..thank god it was all before the prevalence of mobile phone footage. I murdered both my Achilles tendons in my quest for the perfect double pirouette. But I had some good reviews including:“No mean dancer”!!! YuSS..take that you skinny dancer fascists!!

Its nice to be reminded of how accustomed I am to be being out of my depth...In a few weeks a share the stage with some of this country's finest young poets and while I'm so excited to share the bill with them...I am also a little intimidated. I'll let you know how it goes but if you're free to get to Hoxton Hall on 19th May...come and say Hi!