On Being Royally Rejected…and Being Okay With It

Hola, cooperthefam! It’s your girl Phoebe, and I’ve recently had an epiphany.

On Saturday, January 23rd, I found myself out on a very large limb – I decided to go to an open call audition for NBC’s The Voice. As a big fan of the show – and an even bigger fan of Adam Levine – I had always wanted to try out, but I had just never gotten around to it. Aside from the fact that I thought it was a long shot, being in high school, having a part-time job, and performing with a fantastic band keeps a girl pretty busy. Nevertheless, when The Voice had their open call in Memphis, I decided that life was too short to not just go for it.

So, when the day came, I stood in a line for at least 27 years, and then finally got to sing my little heart out for a very nice woman who harbored an uncanny resemblance to Penny from The Big Bang Theory. Long story short, I got a callback. When Penny handed me the little red card with my name on it that said “Congratulations on your callback for NBC’s The Voice! We look forward to hearing more of you,” my eyes read, “Congratulations on your first sliver of validation! We look forward to helping you rub this big success in the faces of your many oppressors!” Looking back, I remember feeling like everything I had ever done had led up to that moment. Every note I had ever screamed at the top of my lungs, every ounce of ink that had ever spilled out of my fingers and onto wrinkled pieces of notebook paper – it had been for this little red card.

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My callback was scheduled for five days later. In that time, I picked four songs that I loved to sing, and recruited Cooper(theman) as my sidekick/accompaniment. On the hour-long drive from Jackson to Memphis, I was definitely nervous, but I felt confident. After all, I’d gotten a little red card, and Penny said I had a lot of potential. I was wearing a bowler for heck’s sake! It was going to go swimmingly. Remember this moment, I thought. This is the moment before your life starts. 

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We arrived at the callback location and were led back to a dimly lit studio room. There, Cooper and I faced a panel of very friendly faces. I sang my two songs, and then the lady at the table said, “Well, thank you so much for your time and your courage to come out and do this, but it’s gonna be a no for this season…but you’re well on your way! Thanks again, and Jeremy will show you out.” I heard, “Well, thank you so much for painting your face with makeup and putting on a hat, but it’s going to be a big, massive, definite no. You’re just not what we’re looking for this season…or any season…ever. Jeremy, get this thing out of my sight.” I smiled, thanked them all for their time as well, and walked out, my heart sinking deeper and deeper each step that I took.

I was devastated. I thought that this was it. I thought I would finally be living my dream. What had I done wrong? Did I pick the wrong songs? Did I not belt enough? Did I belt too much? What could I possibly have done differently? After I had my tears and my microscopic fit of bitter anger, the aforementioned epiphany began to take place.

I may not be the next winner of The Voice, and I may not be any closer to Adam Levine than I was before January 23rd, but this is not the end of me, even though it felt like it at the time. I’m going to be successful because I’m going to put the work in. I’m going to put my blood, sweat, and tears into everything I do, because that’s what I’ve always done…and if I need validation from a casting company to be strong, fearless, and ready for the world, I’ve got a longer way to go than I thought. The truth is, I have a lot to be grateful for. I’ve got a wonderful group of people (looking at you, CTB) who lift me up, encourage me, push me to do better than my best, and rock out with me when I need it the most, and I wouldn’t give that up for any red card – little or big. Cooper, Matt, Will, Joe, Trish, RP – you guys are the only trophy I need.

 

Dankest regards,

Phoebe

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P.S. I recently had a conversation with my English teacher about the word “dank” and how a word that’s so fun to say shouldn’t have such a derogatory connotation. So, “dank” now means  “pretty great.” Tell your friends.

Mercy!

Mercy!  It’s cold outside!  I definitely wore three jackets in to work today.  And an update to thaw your hearts… we’re reviving the blog!  We now have seven new songs in preparation for the new album and I couldn’t be more excited and proud.  Phoebe is auditioning for the voice this weekend.  Joe and I have been writing every weekend.  Batman has been declared our official sound guy (aka Robert Paul, or RP).  Patricia Taylor is a new face that you will all soon know and love (she totally bribed us for official member status with homemade chocolate chip scones).  And Matt and Will got stuck in a pocket groove and have merged as one entity… I can no longer tell them apart.  So they are now known as Mill Kwammonds.

One of my favorite new songs we have written is called “Mercy!”  It talks about how we often make tons of mistakes that lead us to places we never thought we would be.  But there is a grace that gives us second chances.  It redeems us and restores us. So..

“Come with me my brothers, sing a rebel song / Sisters and our mothers / We will dance tonight inside our homes / Because mercy we need saving / These wounds are growing deep / A savior walks among us / There is hallowed ground beneath our feet.”

Cooper(theman)

p.s…. things I love right now!

  • Mill Kwammonds’ new @alclair ears (like seriously I’m jealous)
  • Star Wars (my mom and I FINALLY got to go see it) IMG_1523
  •  Cards against humanity (may result in excessive jazz hands)

p.p.s…. #cooperhatesspaces (coming soon…)

Never Stop Dreaming

Never stop dreaming

“What is this proverb you have: ‘The days go by and every vision comes to nothing’?
Say to them: ‘I am going to put an end to this proverb and they will no longer quote it in Israel.’
Say to them: ‘The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled.'” (Ezekiel 12:22-25)

Never stop dreaming. Chase after God and he will honor your dreams that honor Him, in bigger ways you can imagine.

What dreams do you have that seem impossible? We have an all powerful God gave you dreams to begin with, could it be that God wants to make your dream happen and just needs you to believe in it as he does?

Don’t settle for something less than God’s best for you.

“More Than You Could Know”

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Let’s rethink love. This is what I said to myself when I wanted to write the album “Kings.” Like most people, all throughout my life I have been looking for proof that there is love.  As I got older I have come to understand that there is love everywhere I look. There is love in the sunrise and the sunset.  There is love in new beginnings and there’s love in the end. There is even love in what we think is absence of love.  I see God‘s creation, and that is love.  All I ever need to do in order to see love is look around me.  A great amount of love has been spent on every soul that has walked by me today.  Each and every person — molded by God to be uniquely beautiful, and it is sad that we are too blinded by the world’s standards to see it.  We look in the mirror, yet we don’t see exceptional beauty.  We walk around and instead of God’s creation we see things like shapes and sizes… not souls.  The truth is we are good enough for God.

In the song “More Than You Could Know” I am trying to restore some of that truth.  We are worthy of love, and we are beautiful.  Writing this song was an eye opener for me.  I had to really think about what love is to me, and what does it mean to be loved by God.  I thought about my life, the people in it, and the blessings I have received. I know I am not worthy of it, but somehow God has given them all to me… He tells me that I am worthy.  So, what can I do? I cannot possibly do anything to repay or deserve these blessings.  All I can do is say “I am blessed. I am loved. I am restored, and God has made me good enough for this.”

God’s love has no boundaries, has no limits and no end. It is wider and deeper than the ocean, and it cannot be explained neither by angels, nor by saints. It is a great abundant love that forgives all failures and restores life itself.  And every day when I wake up, I try to take that in because it is all that I can do. I do not try to fight it, nor challenge it. I just look in the mirror, and say: “I am good enough.” then I stand up and spend my day living it.

A big help in understanding this truth are my parents. I have been watching my parents show love for each other in various ways, and this made me understand that love doesn’t always mean happiness or good times.  Sometimes it means sacrifices and investing in your loved one.  1 Corinthians 13:7-6 says “Love bears ALL things, believes ALL things, hopes ALL things, endures ALL things.  Love never fails.”

You do not have to be big and tall to be great.  You don’t have to do anything in order to deserve God’s love because there isn’t anything that will make you worthy of such love, but yet He declares us worthy; it is there and it is yours.  David, the smallest, the youngest and the most insignificant in his family has been chosen to be great. Maybe he wasn’t good enough for the world, but he sure was good enough for God.  So, on the days when I feel like I have failed and that I am not good enough, I look in the mirror and say “I am David.”

Something Less

“But when they said, ‘Give us a king to lead us,’ this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.’” 1 Samuel 8:6-7

So many times we look at the world around us and say, “If only I had that thing, person, status, [fill in the blank] then my life would be better.”  Instead of relying on God to be our everything we try to replace Him with the things of the world so that we would look more like the world.

If I can be open and honest I would say that the thing I seek out is success, so much so that I have created for myself an irrational fear of failure.  I try so hard to make life work and avoid failing that I forget that God is already working in it all, even in my failures.  I force open doors to things I think would be good for me so that I don’t have to fail.  All the while, I forget so quickly that I probably learn more through having failures.  I don’t let myself fully fall into the arms of God and let him pick me back up.

So let’s have a trust fall.  What in my life am I trying to replace God with?  What am I trying to make happen for myself rather than looking to what God would have for me?  It may even be something that seems good, but God has set out a plan for each of us that is truly good.  He knows the course which is best for us, and here’s the crazy part – it doesn’t look like the world.  The plan that he has doesn’t always make sense in worldly standards, but it doesn’t need to look like the world because God is bigger than the world.

So what am I making happen for myself?  What doors have I forced open that God needs to close?  I don’t want to settle for “Something Less.”

Download the new album "Kings" on iTunes

Download the new album “Kings” on iTunes

Something Less

Crowns, golden jewels, a golden rule
All things pretty.
Time will rust away and make decay
Of this city.

How did we become disarmed by the world’s charm?
I must confess we’ve settled for something less
Why’d we blur the lines, defined by the world’s eyes?
And failed to see that he is everything we need

Kings, empty oaths, prideful boasts,
So deceiving.
Fools, let it go. Don’t you know
The night is thieving?

How did we become disarmed by the world’s charm?
I must confess we’ve settled for something less
Why’d we blur the lines, defined by the world’s eyes?
And failed to see that he is everything we need

Take up all your treasure and toss it in the flames
All the sons and daughters, we’re the ones to blame

We’ve exchanged heaven

How did we become disarmed by the world’s charm?
I must confess we’ve settled for something less
Why’d we blur the lines, defined by the world’s eyes?
And failed to see that he is everything we need

Coopertheband - Kings

ringer t.

how can i describe the band ringer t to you?  folk-rock amazingness.

ringer t recently released their long overdue album, “sorry verses.”  it’s their second full length album, their first was “hello, goodbye.

Sorry Verses

"sorry verses"

“sorry verses” is chocked full of lyrics and melodies that will stay in your head for days, but they’ll make you smile each time you start humming one of their songs.  their influences range from paul simon, bob dylan, and wilco to tyler james.  it’s very much a folk pop album that will leave you wanting more satisfied yet wanting more, so you just hit repeat.

i’ve had the great pleasure of becoming best friends with the guitarist and producer for the band, kyle schonewill, over the past four years.  through him i was able to meet the rest of the band: grant geertsma (songwriter, acoustic, vocals), kris schonewill (bass), and justin dewaard (drums).  but i’ll let them introduce themselves to you because they word their bio so much more eloquently than i ever could:

“Ringer T is a collection of good friends and band mates from around the country. Ringer T’s members reside in Seattle, WA, Nashville, TN, Upland, IN, and Holland, MI.  The band’s influence comes purely from their shared life-long obsession with playing and listening to music.  Kyle is a multi-talented audio guru for “Studio 930” in Nashville, TN, as well as an absolute boss on the electric guitar. Justin brutalizes the drum set with hands made of flame and steel. Kris slaps the bass with a sense of groove that Michael Jackson could only hope to muster. Grant plays the acoustic and sings so sweet that even the most beautiful of birds feel unworthy to sing along. Ringer T is fully prepared to blow off your face with a mix of all those that have made music before us. Please enjoy.”

ringer t.

“Oh fair Dove, sing sweetly, soft to me”

Oh fair Dove, sing sweetly, soft to me
In part with the birds in the trees.
Let it ring through the midsummer day.
Let it sing into my sweet summer night.
Oh my Love, do not hide, don’t You delay,
That fair beauty found only in Your flight.
For no other could e’er sing such a Truth
The way this love resonates through You.
Oh sweet Dove, how Your song can’t be contained
By bounds of time or space, but rather remains
To serenade the hearts of the broken.
And to all, Your wings are spread open.

As the whole earth now sings in perfect harmony

So I join in a sing my praise to Thee.

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