Chapter 5 – In the Studio
Nick’s expensive loafers pat down the dark corridor filled with the vibrations caused by musicians in the studio. He’s excited about laying down a track with his good friend Pete (better known by his stage name “Neophyte”). He always enjoyed Pete. They had such a close history with one another that they knew that despite their lifestyle differences, they would forever be linked. Both had the misfortune of being sent to juvenile detention in their mid-teens. Pete had been raised by the streets because of a drug-addicted mother and a dead beat father who both left him to be raised by his great grandmother. He was driven to the streets by his search for identify for a male father figure. And he found that in the form of a gang known as the Red Road Posse. After doing those things that gangsters do for years, he was eventually caught on a drug charge and sentenced to two years in juvy. This is how he met Nicholas.
Nicholas’ story was quite different. He had both of his biological parents in this life. They were still married to each other when Nicholas was imprisoned. How Nicholas was caught up was that his father had stored drugs in the car. And when the cops caught wind of it, the father convinced his young son Nick to take the charge because he wouldn’t get any jail time because of his age and clean record. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. And Nick the pretty, church boy was not cut out for jail.
Because of their small physique, good lucks, and “good hair”, both Pete and Nicholas were easy and obvious targets for the more hardened of the juvy boys and guards. Pete who had already been a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of his uncle who also lived with his great grandmother, felt compassion for Nicholas and would often sacrifice himself to get Nicholas a night off. While fighting the men off of Nick, he gave Nick time to run off, but sometimes he would eventually be overcome by the bigger guys. He only did for Nick what he wished someone had done for him. For that Nick was forever indebted. There was nothing Nick would not do for his friend Pete. And now, they were both out. And both had a passion for Christian music.
“Hey, man! Whassup, Nick! You late as usual. You know studio time is money!” exclaims Pete to Nicholas as they exchanged daps and chest hugs. “Ah, man. You how I do. I got to stay fine for the ladies. Had to get some extra mirror time to keep your great grandma interested.” “Dude, please. I’m just as handsome, and I got here early. Come on in. I got some friends I want you to meet.”
Nick is introduced to three of Pete’s rapper buddies. They didn’t seem to detect his “gayness” much to his relief. He made sure he made a comment about sexy ladies to throw the men off his trail in case they had caught a whiff.
Lastly, Nick is introduced to a quiet man sitting in the corner. He walks up to Nick to introduce himself as a talent seeker of a well-known gospel recording label. He’s a middle-aged man who is only a little less dressed up than Nick. Could this be his big shot?
Nick had dreamt of being signed to a label for as long as he had been singing for the church. He knew he was talented and had the “right look”, but it was unreal to see his chance right before him. Within the hour, he might be able to convince this man to sign them or forget them. This man could crush or fulfill his recording artist dreams.
Hey there, Nicholas. I was invited by Pete here. He sent me some videos of you two’s work a few months back and I finally got a chance to stop by from Atlanta. I think you guys are sitting on something great here. I’m sure you won’t mind if I sit in during a recording.
Nick tries to maintain his composure. He knew that when he got giddy, he lost a lot of his masculinity. He managed to muster out a, “Yeah. Sure, man. That won’t be a problem. And you can call me Nick.”
Nick called Pete out into the hallway for some privacy. He gives Pete a bear hug. “Man, this is awesome! How did you manage to…So when did you…This is huge! So which song do you think we should do for him?” “It needs to be something that showcases my lyrical genius and your range and runs, Nick rambles excitedly.” “Exactly what I was thinking. What about “When God Says It’s Time”? That one has equal rapping and singing parts that way neither of us seems like a ball hog.” “Mane, I don’t even care! I just want a chance to get in that booth and show this man what we got!”
After the two friends calmed down, they walked back into the room cool and collected. Nick’ began by singing: “When God says it’s time, you better get on the move. When God says speak, you better tune up soon. God has a tight schedule, and you got to do what he says. God’s not playing, you’ve got to do what He says. When God says jump, the heights can’t be an excuse. When God says pray, you better ask for whom. When God says preach, you better decree and declare that the word of God is a seed that will bear…”
Nick was very pleased with how it went. He didn’t skip a beat or hit a bad note. His runs and range were on point. And Pete was equally impressive, his hip-hop rhymes serving as a refreshing contrast to the song.
After the song was being recorded, the label’s representative smiled at them while nodding. “I’m very impressed. You guys definitely have a spark. I will run your music by some of the partners at the label. I’ll be in contact. Neophyte and Nicholas. I mean Nick. I like that.” “Actually,” interrupted Nick, “that’ll be Neophyte and Nea Zoi. New Growth and New Life.”
Nick walked out of the studio feeling like a million bucks. From the looks of it, God was going to fulfill His promise to him. As he walked to his car, he checked his phone. There were two new texts and one voicemail. The first text was from Terita. She was inviting him to her birthday party this Friday. He turned his nose up at the invite. How dare she invite him as if they were friends when she was blackmailing him. She’d probably ask him for money at the party. He quickly text her that he had already made plans for that night. The second text was from his mother. She was new to text messages and had managed to type out a brief text which read, “love you”. He smiled. The voicemail was from Judd. His heart sank. How he was supposed to go on to New Life if he hadn’t yet closed the door to his past? The voicemail said, “Hey, lady. Just thinking about you. I hope you haven’t changed your feelings for me since we last met at the church. God bless.” Judd would leave voicemails addressed to the unnamed “lady” just in case anyone was eavesdropping or got a hold to Nick’s phone. The voicemail immediately stripped Nick of his newfound joy. He knew he had to obey God. He had to heed the warning of the song he had just recorded with Neophyte. He knew that he must do what God asks “when God says it’s time”. He just needed to pray for God to give him the strength he needed to do and follow through. And a move to Atlanta near the recording company might be just what he needed to cut ties with his old life.