‘Thank you for having me.’ She nodded and escorted her to the elevator. Ryleigh gaped at the records in the small corridor and steered to a glassed office with a man in a grey beard, faded tattoos and a band t-sitting in his chair.
‘Ryleigh have a seat.’ His comforting presence composed her to relax. ‘My name is Joe and I am the producer of the show. I’m going to ask you some questions and tell you what happens while you’re on set with us.’ She returned a small smile. ‘So, we liked the demo you sent through and need to know some background about it and yourself.’ She forced her mouth slightly finding the words to speak.
‘Thanks. I am a graphic designer from the UK and I’m 28 years old. The demo I sent, I wrote that song ten years ago.’ Joe lifted one eyebrow at her.
‘Have you written anything else?’ She shook her head.
‘I’ve not done it in a long time.’ Ashamed by her answer.
‘There are people here who have been trying to get their name heard for years…..What makes you think you would be able to pick it up all again by doing this?’ Ryleigh can see her chances starting to slip.
‘I can write something else if you prefer? I’ll show it to you before you start filming and you can make a decision from that?’ He looks over at his other employees next to him making notes.
‘So what’s your reason for being here?’
‘Because I want to do something better with my life. I love music and I always thought I had a chance - it’s my way of escaping from everything.’ It started to become surreal Ryleigh wanted this badly. ‘Give me a chance to prove it.’ Joe witnessed how much determination she wanted to do this, he remembers her demo being stuck in his head.
‘Alright. Send me a new song.’ She relaxed her shoulders. ‘Right let’s talk about what will happen.’
Joe runs into detail of the show, first they would have to perform in front of the judges and the other candidates, the judge will pick her to be on their team. After that, the contestants will be shown the house they will live in while the camera’s rolling on them, they believe it’ll give the viewers a way to get to know them as a person including their songs. Each week they will have a task to write a song with the band in the studio, a music video with a production team and a social team to get their track out online. Any movement she makes will be watched all over the world.
‘Does that all make sense?’ Ryleigh nodded and gave her some disclose forms to sign. ‘I’ll look forward to hearing your new song.’ She gulped knowing she’s under the pressure to get this done.
After the meeting, Dereck picked her up and took her to a hotel nearby she would be staying for 2 days and will be meeting her personal assistant there. It’s 5 pm and her stomach grumbled, she needed food but need to compose a song pronto. Instead of unpacking, she got her laptop out and the small equipment she had for years, spending some money for specific upgrades and tested it all before she got here. The notebook placed on the table with the pen fiddling in her hands, she started to think.
Controlling my life, if I sink or I swim,
I’ve been somewhere else for a long time,
Under my skin, there’s a monster in there,
Telling me there’s no escaping.
If I fight a bit harder, I’ll start to get stronger,
Somebody bring me back to life,
I’m not afraid anymore, I’m ready to fight,
I’ll beat the demon in me tonight,
Get ready to see me strive.
A few tweaks here, a change there, pause, cut, play, record, all night she’s going. When she finally excepted it’s finished and pushed send in her mailbox. All her effort into this should be noticed, if not, she’ll know not to try this again. It’s not for her.
Not checking the time she crashed on her bed and closed her eyes, her head was pounding, her eyes strained and felt dazed from pushing herself. Trying to doze off, the vibrating noise from her phone disturbed her and picked it up.
‘Hi Ryleigh! My name is Kelsie and I am your PA for the show.’ The chirpy American voice she presented gave Ryleigh a headache. ‘Could we meet up in an hour?’ She unglued her phone from her face and squinted at the blue screen at the time - 8 am.
‘Err, sure?’ Sounding groggy.
‘Great, I’ll meet you downstairs.’ The phone line went dead. She didn’t think it would take her all night to make a song and barely having any sleep, the last time she did that when she was a student. Having a quick shower and change, with 20 minutes to spare making her way to the breakfast buffet grabbing a croissant and a coffee. Her Demin blue jeans, black converse shoes and a black vest top with a hoodie should be enough.
Munching down quickly and walking into the lobby, she spots a blonde hair girl with a bodycon black dress with a watercolour tattoo on her left arm and dolphin bite piercing under her bottom lip. Her thick winged eyeliner and eyebrows where perfection, Ryleigh would of thought she would be a contestant.
‘Hi Ryleigh, nice to meet you.’ She held her hand out for her to shake.
‘Hi Kelsie?’ She had to rack her brains for that and she nodded.
‘Looks like you’ve been up all night parting.’ She chuckled.
‘It feels like it. I’ve been up all night writing a song to prove I want to be on the show.’
‘And you’ve proved it.’ Ryleigh look puzzled. ‘Joe got it this morning and he said you’re in!’ At least Kelsie had the enthusiasm and energy for her.
‘Come on, I know a place where they serve a delicious breakfast.’
A 10-minute walk the roads were jammed with cars bumper to bumper the heavy smell of petrol filling the air. The palm trees planted in places kept catching Ryleigh off guard, apart from those it did look similar to home. Kelsie led her to a small diner looking empty and inhaled greasy bacon luring her in.
As they take their seats looking at the menu to make an order.
‘So, you’re from England?’ Ryleigh nodded.
‘How long have you been living in LA?’
‘A couple of years. Worked in entertainment for 5 years, and I am here to help you.’ Kelsie discussed how she would help her boost her social status on social media and how to execute her part while being in the house with the other competitors.
‘Be yourself, but don’t overdo with the drinking and take any drugs. You don’t want to put yourself down that road, even if you believe that’s the rock n roll thing to do. Looking from your info, no criminal convictions, no driving ban, tickets or drug tests. You seem pretty clean.’ It all sounded like she’ll be the ‘good girl’ type. Kelsie scans more notes,
‘Hmm…You are a graphic designer and engaged.’
‘Err yea been together for 5, engaged for a year.’ Ryleigh confirmed, it reminded her she needs to call Russell at some point.
‘Aww, that’s cute.’ Their food arrived three times the size she would get back at home. ‘So the filming will start tomorrow, you’ll be in the studio performing your track and one of the judges will pick you to be on their team and coach you throughout the show. Looking at your music playlist, you have really nice taste, on your top five favourite bands one of them is going to be a judge.’ She stopped entering the piece of pancake in her mouth trying to figure it out who it is. ‘It Marcus Lothrow.’ Her eyes widen.
‘The Marcus Lothrow? From the band Nothing For Free?’ Ryleigh has followed this band since they began, their music has made a big impact on hers. As a rock singer would be, jet back hair, front full-body tattoos and some on his face too. Every interview of any magazine he’s been in she would read from top to bottom and know more of him then her closet friends. Kelsie nodded.
‘I thought I tell you before you all go fangirl on set.’
‘Oh my gosh, this is amazing. I hope he picks me.’ Kelsie shows a corner smile.
‘I hate to be rude, but do have anything nice to wear?’ Ryleigh bit into her pancakes and chewed softly from not understanding.
‘Are we not having a fashion and make-up team?’
‘Oh yeah, after you all go to the house. You can get some pierces and tattoos if you want too.’ She swallowed and remembers how much her mum banned her from having any of those such things as it wouldn’t lead to a good job possibility, she looks down at Kelsie’s arm.
‘You have a sweet tattoo.’
‘Thanks, my ex did it for me when we were together. So after this, shall we go back to your hotel room and have a look at some of your clothes?’ Ryleigh nodded. Kelsie positivity lightened her spirt apprehending someone believes in her. Ryleigh liked and her assurance to get her to stick out, after exploring her clothes, Kelsie believed she had something plausible and told her to wear it.
Later that evening, she called Russell telling the day she had and what would happen next.
‘You sure you want to do this?’ His negativity started to get on her nerves.
‘Yes! I am doing this for the both of us.’ Her being irritable didn’t help either.
‘So you keep saying, but we didn’t need to. Aren’t you happy with what we have?’ Secretly it’s no, nothing excites her anymore and it’s becoming a boring routine.
‘I just want to do something before I’m 30 and to say I had a go. Is that enough?’
Later that night she slept deeply for a few hours then tossed and turned hearing her fiancée negativity planting in her head, ”am I doing the right thing?”