In 2011 I gave my first performance in Europe. I was invited to appear as a special guest with the world renowned WDR Big Band in Cologne Germany where I would appear alongside fellow vocalist Denzal Sinclaire, with arrangements by David Berger.
I was absolutely thrilled to visit Europe and Germany. The rehearsals would take 2 weeks (quite a lot of rehearsing!) and we would give 2 performances. The day before my flight to Germany I came down with the flu! I was so nervous about the travel and the time away from home that I was super focused on being healthy and instead made myself sick. It was pretty awful! I flew on the plane with a fever and spent the entire first week basically asleep in my room or in rehearsal. It was my first time navigating a European pharmacy (my advice: bring a translator) and my first time subsisting solely off of room service (the Hilton in Cologne will take good care of you). We had to take press photos in that first week, and I won’t even bother to show them to you because I had such a fever that my hair wouldn’t do anything but stay plastered to my forehead. I also didn’t take a computer OR a smart phone, so I was basically cut off from all my friends and family (even Facebook!). It was quite a challenging time away from home and certainly brought me face to face with the sometimes unpleasant reality of being on the road.
Once I began feeling better I was able to really enjoy my surroundings. Of course the music was fun, and getting to work with such musicians was really quite a treat. Cologne is a beautiful city, and since it was around Christmas I was able to see the Christmas Markets and drink some Glühwein (verrrrry strong). Performing at the Koln Philharmonie was very special, because it is such a beautiful space. After the concert I remember they served us Kölsch backstage (I might have kept a few of those tiny beer glasses, just maybe).
That performance was broadcast on the radio and online; I’d like to share it with you, so I’ve uploaded most of it to my Soundcloud account. I hope you enjoy it 🙂