While cooking dinner, I was listening to the latest episode of NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” (also free on iTunes) when they played a soundbyte from the worst singer to ever grace the stage at Carnegie Hall: Florence Foster Jenkins. I started laughing and tearing up — and the onion I was slicing was not to blame.
Florence was a wealthy Park Avenue eccentric who was held back by her parents from becoming a Soprano singer. As her parents passed away, it allowed her the freedom to persue her dreams with bravado. Also included with that bravado was a complete lack of rhythm, pitch, tone, and overall singing ability.
By the time she made it to Carnegie Hall in 1944, she was filling the seats with people who came to cry laughing. The great thing is, she was impervious to this! She just thought that those who laughed and criticized were just haters.
Moral of the story: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Big dreams, thick skin, and a healthy dose of delusional thinking. And on with the show [clap clap clap…curtain raises…]