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Singer - 1. Open Call

Cristiano Humberto Israel Pereira, Jr. returned to the University of Miami in January ready for his final college semester. Graduation loomed in five months, and he was uncertain what came next. He would prefer a return to his native New York City but would do whatever it took to break into the music business.

The e-mail from Dr. Pierceone of his instructors at the Frost School of Musicpresented a possibility he had not considered. It might mean relocating to Los Angeles instead of Manhattan but so what.

The professor glanced at Chipper when the student knocked on the open door. “Ah, Mr. Pereira, welcome back. I trust you enjoyed your vacation?”

“Happy New Year, Dr. Pierce. When are you going to call me Chipper?” Dr. Pierce was known for addressing everyone by their last name. Chipper did not expect a change any time soon. “Christmas break was nice. Now I’m ready to finish the semester. I’m looking forward to graduation.”

“Good, good, take a seat. What did you think of what I mentioned in my message?”

“I’m interested. I never considered entering a music competition. But if it helps me break into the business, I’m all for it.”

 

A few days later, Chipper received an e-mail from a producer at The Voice. The NBC reality show was one of the network’s most popular offerings. She invited Chipper to try out in person during auditions in Tampa the following month.

He was unsure why he wanted to keep it a secret from friends and family, but decided to confide only in his schoolmates Michael and Blaine. “So, that’s what’s going on. I was wondering if you guys wanted to drive home for a long weekend and if your dads would let me crash at your place.”

Michael was from the Tampa Bay area, gay, and had two fathers. The similarities between his Cuban-American classmate and Chipper’s best friend in Washington created a quick bond soon after they met. “For sure. My dads will be happy to see me and give you a place to sleep. I’m curious, how come you’re not staying with your father?”

“I’m… I don’t want to tell anyone yet. In case I don’t make it.” Chipper’s parents divorced when he was a kid. His mother eventually returned to her native Buenos Aires, and his father settled in Tampa following a stint in Washington.

“Of course you’ll make it.” Blaine was emphatic. “We’ve heard you sing. You’re a beast! You’ll crush it.”

Buoyed by his friends’ belief in him, Chipper felt confident walking into the audition. He had been asked to prepare three songs. Required to perform one a Capella, the second one he could accompany himself or sing to a pre-recorded track. The third one was to be held in reserve.

Nerves made him screw up a couple of early notes, but he recovered and nailed the remainder. He felt the stripped down version of “Welcome to My World” showcased his voice well. His performance owed a lot to Raul Malo’s version, having watched the YouTube video countless times.

Chipper turned and sipped from the water bottle on the stool behind him. While the show’s staff whispered, he picked up his guitar, and pulled the stool closer to the microphone. “I have pre-recorded music for this one but if it’s acceptable, I’d like to do an acoustic version instead.”

“Perfectly acceptable, Chipper. Whenever you’re ready.”

Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” allowed Chipper to display his voice in a different way. A more modern sound showed he was not limited, and the faster beat made it a crowd pleaser. It also allowed him to hit notes the first song did not. In his opinion, it worked well with just his guitar; the half-smiles on the panel encouraged him.

“That was good, Chipper.” The spokeswoman did not sound enthusiastic. “Would you mind stepping outside for a few minutes? One of us will come talk to you.”

Insecurities clawed through his contentment. He thought he had done well, but maybe they were looking for something else. He felt like a fool for allowing himself to think he was a shoo-in. Rejection had not visited often during his incipient musical career, but he was certain the time had come to return home empty handed. He knew no matter how good an artist was, it took more than talent to succeed. If this was not his break, so be it. He resigned himself to return to school and finish the semester.

“Mr. Pereira? Would you mind stepping back inside? We’d like a word with you.”

Warned few artists were asked to perform more than two numbers, Chipper was surprised when one of the panel members inquired about a third one. “I brought music for a song in Spanish. I’m bilingual, and I thought it would showcase my versatility.” Hope rose again; he prayed the gamble would pay off.

“Perfect! We’d love to hear it. Whenever you’re ready.”

Written for and recorded by Julio Iglesias, “Soy un Truhan, Soy un Señor” spoke of a rogue who could also be a gentleman. Chipper did not have the years or life experience the famous Spaniard did, but he nonetheless identified with the lyrics. Singing about life and love felt right.

The tune had a catchy refrain; it also allowed Chipper to sing notes different from the other two. He closed his eyes and allowed the melody to course through him. That feeling was why he was a musician. When he opened them, the panel was smiling. Their whispered deliberation was inaudible.

Michael and Blaine had accompanied him. When he was called, they waited for his return in the lobby. Chipper’s wide grin said it all. His friends shouted and hugged him while those still waiting stared. Chipper saw hope and fear in their eyes.

“I’m in! Next stop, Los Angeles and the Blind Auditions!”

Michael Quintana and Blaine Emerson are the intellectual property of Parker Owens. They’re used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2019 Carlos Hazday; All Rights Reserved.

Story Discussion Topic

Welcome to the discussion thread for CJ’s series. All things CJ are fair game, I simply ask you be respectful of others. I will actively participate in the discussion. Ask questions, speculate about what’s coming, or bitch about what happened. We’re now open for business!    

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Chapter Comments



Awesome chapter. Great start. I’m looking forward to Chipper’s Journey as he qualifies for the voice and eventually tells his family and friends.

What day will this be posting?

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And we're off ... I'm gonna take a chance and assume Chipper makes it onto the show since we've been privy to his friends gathering in front of their tv to watch ... but as always it's the journey you take us on that we look forward to.

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23 minutes ago, Tonyr said:

Congrats once again. Can't wait for more. 👌

Thanks, Tony! Hope you liked the prologue too.

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36 minutes ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Thanks, Tony! Hope you liked the prologue too.

Of course i did.  You know i would right? I think your just pulling my legs. Loved it. 👏

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40 minutes ago, tor200534 said:

Excellent chapter Carlos.  Great start to chippers  story.

Thanks, Tor. I'm posting twice a week with this one, so the story will move along at a fast pace. Hope you like where I take our boy.

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I am so glad you are posting another story.  In focusing on one of the Squad, you still are keeping us connected to the family. It actually allows for a much more complete view of another individual member.  I, for one (and I'm sure I'm not alone), appreciate your sharing your talent and feel a void when you take a well-deserved break.

Tony

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4 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Yeah, but readers don't get to see your comments! Feel free to repeat yourself :P

 

Yeah @Kitt feel free to share.

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Cho

6 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Chris, the entire story's loaded and set to post twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.

ohh great to be so spoiled with your writing and what a nice surprise today to see 2 chapters.

Can't wait to read more about Chipper and his appearances at The Voice

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4 hours ago, avidreadr said:

A great start.  So good to see you back again.  I look forward to Chip's story.  

I've been around, but I think the children's story posted last month did not satisfy the cravings. LOL

 

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4 hours ago, Parker Owens said:

I’m celebrating with Michael and Blaine! Chipper’s a gold star contestant! 

Did you ever imagine they'd get this much ink when I first asked to borrow them?

I hope you realize they move to Washington in 2041. CJ will find a job for at least one of them in his administration. :P

 

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2 hours ago, Wesley8890 said:

Eeeek the voice!?!? I'm #TeamBlake! I'm already loving this story! Can't wait to see how it progresses!!

I was cautioned about writing Fan Fiction a long time ago. Not literary enough, I was told. I obviously don't pay attention. As I did when I wrote a chapter with Ellen DeGeneres, I hope I captured the essence of the four judges I use.

Why am I not surprised a country boy from Macon would be part of #TeamBlake? Wanna guess who Chipper picks?

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32 minutes ago, tabaqui said:

Cho

ohh great to be so spoiled with your writing and what a nice surprise today to see 2 chapters.

Can't wait to read more about Chipper and his appearances at The Voice

Instead of a week, you only have to wait 3 days for the next installment! Hopefully I paced the action well enough to keep readers interested without having to use cliffhangers. Not that I ever would. :whistle:

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2 minutes ago, andrew35 said:

Ah, the journey resumes... Thanks Carlos :)

Thanks for reading, Andrew. And for the likes and comment. Reader feedback gives authors incentive to work harder at providing enjoyable material. Keep it up.

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