Was it all a dream or did this really happen? Two weeks ago, I sang at a concert upon coming out of “singing retirement” after almost eight years of focusing on acting and modeling. I’m going to be vlogging about my experience working with Jeevo (Rajeev Nandakumaran), but I wanted to talk more in depth about how this came about, why I said “Yes”, and how the process was for me.
Almost exactly three years ago, my husband Jerrell Conner was hired to do a music video for a song from Jeevo’s album “Invisible“, and I was chosen as one of the actors in the video. Jerrell has been hired countless times to work on artistic projects ranging from commercials, teasers, music videos, etc. so we expected the same experience as usual. That usual experience–to be quite honest–requires a lot of back and forth and explaining the process of how things will go so that everyone’s expectations are met. There tends to be confusion or demands from clients that don’t necessarily understand the work that goes into visual arts. Some of these requests are “Will you do it for free?” “Why does animation take so long?” “My mom said you should change this and that about the logo you created for me.”
Imagine our delight when we had an absolutely seamless production with our now dear friend Rajeev. I remember when the video was done and over with, me and Jerrell laughed and said to each other “Can all of our clients be like this, please?”
Kidding, but not really.
Last fall, another opportunity comes for Jerrell to create a video for Jeevo’s latest album “Dreaming in Color“. From discussing the concept, to filming on set, to getting revisions, it was another amazing project for all involved.
Fast forward to earlier this year, and Jerrell and Jeevo had another project up their sleeves. This time it was for a concert and album release party for “Dreaming in Color”. The concept alone was remarkable and my main question to myself was “How are they going to pull this off?” The key was to have two mini concerts within a concert on the campus of Mariner’s Church in Irvine, CA. Part 1 would be in their chapel with a heavenly and calm setting. Part 2 would take place in the community room where a huge white cube that was 8 feet on each side was placed in the middle of the room while images and videos were projected on it the entire time. It’s hard to imagine, so take a gander at my husband’s explanation of the process here.
We had a walk-through at Mariner’s church about two months prior to the event, and I fell in love with the beauty of the scenery as well as the interiors where the concert would be held. I was only coming along out of curiosity and to add any ideas I could come up with. Everyone in the team marveled at the possibilities and were equally wondering “How are we going to pull this off?” That’s where our faith came in. We just figured God was going to show out, which He most definitely did. It took about two hours to walk the property and gather creative inspiration. Just before we were about to part ways, I started asking Rajeev if he was planning on having backup singers. He said yes, and I went on to ask if he already had chosen the vocalists. In my head I’m thinking “Why am I asking these questions?”
After a few more inquiries, I told him. “I have to pray about this, but I think God wants me to sing with you.” As quickly as the words escaped my mouth, I was equally excited and a little scared. I haven’t been working in the music industry professionally or taking it seriously since I moved from Hawaii in 2009. Rajeev said he would love to have me on board, and he also put me in charge of the wardrobe for him, the vocalists, and the orchestra that was playing stringed instruments since I was in the fashion industry. I thought he was joking about the wardrobe part until I got to the first rehearsal and he introduced me and told everyone that I would be telling them what to wear. (Thank you Lord for Pinterest!)
At our second rehearsal, we were going through the songs to Part 2 when we came upon his song titled “Soldiers“. As soon as the beat dropped, I got super excited. I noticed there were female vocals on the chorus, and I began asking questions again. (When will I learn? Lol.) I said “Is the girl who’s on this song going to be at the event to sing live?” I was informed that she wouldn’t be there, and I volunteered to step in to perform that song. Again, I felt led to do this not really thinking about what it would entail.
The amazing thing is, God usually doesn’t give you the whole scope of things when he prompts you to do something. If I had known how much work it would take and what kind of commitment I actually made, I’m sure I would have shied away from the opportunity. I had a serious conversation with my mom about how overwhelmed I was the week of the show. There were moments that I literally had to sit still and not work on anything or practice because my head was spinning with my to-do list and my husband and daughter needed me to not be crazy. My mom said that most of the times when we’re led or called to do something, it ends up being a lot of work and testing our faith. It’s only because we know the Lord said to do it that we have the perseverance to follow through.
Now that I was going to be a featured singer, I needed to step my style game up. I had a bunch of inspiration photos pinned on Pinterest, but didn’t want to have to go on a shopping spree. I wasn’t sure how it was going to come together honestly. That’s where my stylist friend Monet who is the founder of iStyleiSmile and The Fashion Driven Truck comes in. I posted a flyer about the show on social media, and she immediately commented “What are you wearing? Let’s talk.” I texted her the inspiration photos I had, and she said she had some items that would work for the event, so we scheduled a time for a fitting and came up with an epic look (that people are still talking about).
My mother (Marie L’amour) helped tremendously that week. Not only did she watch Petra while I had a styling session with my girl Monet, we also went through the song I was featured on over and over, with her giving advice and vocal lessons (since she is a trained professional singer who can bring the roof down). After that vocal session, I finally felt confident about the changes I made to the melody and notes to compliment my vocal range and style.
I had a stylist choose my outfit, but that was for Part 2 of the concert. Getting closer to the concert date, I still needed to decide what to wear for Part 1. The day before the show, I did an online poll to get opinions from you guy! Hello, you guys! The top selection was chosen, and as I was getting feedback from the internets, I was texting my mom different photos of makeup and hair inspiration from Pinterest because she’s a BOSS at selecting makeup and hair for different occasions. Here are the inspiration photos she chose from the selections I sent her. She also helped me style my fake bangs because they were giving me serious drama the day of.
After four vocal rehearsals, a styling session, a private vocal lesson, figuring out my hair and makeup, and listening to 30+ Jeevo songs nonstop (Yes, I said over 30 songs!) to learn the words and the backup oohs and aahs, the day finally came to perform. I was eerily calm, as I usually am the day of a performance. It’s usually not until moments before I go on stage that I feel like throwing up, having diarrhea, crying, and peeing my pants all at the same time. Once everything started, I was having a blast. Honestly, it was like a huge party the entire time, and it helped that I worked with some amazing friends–old and new–that night. In case you missed the show here is some great footage of Part 2 of the “Dreaming In Color Experience”, and here is a link to a ton of videos of individual songs we performed.
I leave you with this.
Do you have a dream? Doesn’t it seem so unattainable sometimes? Doesn’t it seem wild and almost insane that a person like you could do great things? Who’s to say you can’t? You are a visionary. If it’s worth the risk, people will do whatever they can to inspire great change. It’s not easy, simple, or logical, but God always has a plan far greater than our wildest dreams. Will you trust Him?
Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in ChristJesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Until next time…
❤ K. Love