“Dad, mum, I want to be a singer.”
“Oh, that’s really nice, but that’s no future for you. It’s a tough life. Do it as a hobby.”
As my father is very ill, he passes away a few years later, I do not have the guts to stand up and say – I’m doing it anyway. So I enroll in the Amsterdam University and after some years of total ennui I got my degree in – wait for it – Public Administration.
But the stage keeps calling me. I still take singing lessons.
And I sing in jazz-, funk-, and bigbands. Anywhere.
Then, as I’m about to graduate, I find out about Casablanca on the Amsterdam Zeedijk. It’s a club that hosts a vocal jazz session. Every Tuesday I go. Fearfully at first.
They like my singing. Soon, I’m a regular.
One chilly winter night, as I’m singing “You can say that you’re leading me oooooon”, I suddenly hear that whisper.
“Go for it, Ils. You want to be a singer? Go and give it a try! Just DO it!”
I instantly know this is my heart speaking. I finally listen. The next day I put my name on the list for the Amsterdam Conservatory, and I’m accepted.
It’s a sort of homecoming. How I love the vibrant mood, the dedication to music, the open interaction with my fellow students and teachers. Wow.