She stood in front of the judges, her heart beating like it would burst. She had asked a friend about this once, she said it wasn’t possible for her heart to burst like that. Her friend was a doctor so maybe she was right but it did not reduce the intensity of the beating. Or how nervous she felt. The three judges in front of her were some of the most popular artists she knew and they were all looking at her, unimpressed. She was the last contestant auditioning for the day and she could tell the judges were tired.
“What’s your name?” Phoenix, one of the judges asked.
“Sophia Idowu.” She said.
“What song are you singing?”
“Lose yourself by Eminem.”
“What?” Micky, the second judge said.
The three judges looked at each other and smiled.
“You are going to rap?” Micky asked.
“Yeah.” Sophia said.
Why were they so surprised? Nigeria had several female rappers. They were not helping her with their skepticism. They were tired and now they were also biased against her. Or maybe their low expectation would be an advantage for her.
“Let’s hear it.” Phoenix said.
The music started and she tapped her right foot on the floor. She looked at the judges and two of them weren’t even looking at her. The music got to the point where she was supposed to enter but she missed her cue. The judges looked up.
“Stop the music.” Micky said and the music stopped. “Are you done?”
“No.” Sophia said, wishing the ground could open and swallow her up.
“Are you nervous?” Micky asked.
“No.” She lied. She could barely stand with the vibration she was feeling.
“Okay, let’s do this so we can all go home.”
Sophia nodded and choked back a sob. She could do this.
The music came back on and she tapped her foot and waited for her cue. It came and she opened her mouth.
“His arms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy…” She started then stopped. Her microphone was off.
She looked at the switch button, she’d pushed it down.
“What’s going on?” Phoenix asked, her words strained over a yawn.
The music stopped.
“I’m sorry.” Sophia said.
Her eyes were filled with tears now, she had to be careful not to blink.
“Hey,” Micky said. “I can see you are nervous, you don’t need to be. It’s just one audition, you can always come back next year.”
That did not help her at all. She did not want to come back next year, she’d worked hard to be here.
“Do you want to maybe do another song? A freestyle, maybe?” Phoenix said.
Sophia wiped her eyes with her sleeves. If she could not do the song she prepared, how could she do a freestyle?
“What are you going to do?” Micky asked.
“I’ll do lose yourself.” Sophia said.
“This is your last shot.” Micky said.
The music started and she looked at the judges; they could not wait for her to be done. She wasn’t going to blow these people’s minds, they didn’t even want to hear her. Her cue came and she missed it again. Phoenix stood and waved her off the stage. Micky just watched her with his mouth open. The third judge who had not spoken since bowed his head.
That was it.
Sophia dropped the microphone and ran towards the exit, tears running down her face. She had disgraced herself. What was she going to tell her friends or her little brother who adored her? She was going to be the butt of jokes and memes on Instagram. She got to the door and for the first time in her life, she regretted ever going into music.
She stopped, turned back and saw the third judge, Cool Sunky standing.
“Come back here.” Cool Sunky said.
She looked at the other judges, they were as surprised as she was.
“What are you doing?” Phoenix asked Cool Sunky.
“Come, let me ask you a question.” Cool Sunky said.
Sophia walked back to the stage, wondering what the guy wanted to ask.
“Why are you here?” Cool Sunky asked.
“Because I believe I’m talented and I can win the show.” Sophia said.
She saw Phoenix scoff but she kept her attention on Cool Sunky.
“Why do you think you can win the show?” Cool Sunky asked.
“Because I’m very good at what I do.”
“Okay then.” Cook Sunky said and sat. “If you’re doing ‘Lose Yourself’ then you already know these words.”
Sophia picked up the microphone.
“If you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it?” The music started as Cool Sunky rounded off. “Or just let it slip?”
Sophia gripped the microphone tighter and stepped forward.
“My palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, there’s vomit in my throat already, mom’s spaghetti. I’m nervous but on the surface I look calm and ready to drop bombs but I keep on forgetting…”
She rapped the song like she wrote it. Every beat resonated with her very being. She personalized the lines and spit the verses like it was her story. Because it was.
When she got to the last chorus, she stamped each foot in front of the other, moving from one end of the stage to another.
“You better lose yourself in the music, the moment you own it, you better never let it go. You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo!“
She finished and dropped the microphone.
It did not matter what the judges said, she gave her all. She looked at the judges and they all sat staring at her. She waited for a couple of seconds and they didn’t move. Well, that was it. She marched towards the exit. She was almost at the door when she heard someone clap. She looked back and it was Micky on his feet. He was joined by the other two judges. They applauded and she just stood there and just watched them. Her eyes were once again filled with tears and once again her heart threatened to burst.
“Now, that’s how you lose yourself.” Cool Sunky said.
P.S. In case you’re wondering, this is the same Cool Sunky from Story 16. You laughed at him but the boy eventually made it. *tongue out*