I know a lot of you have questions. Some of which I cannot answer. But here is my attempt. I hope you read all the way through.
I started my journey with The Voice Australia back in August 2013, not long after the 2nd Season wrapped. So needless to say, I’ve had a long time to contemplate the outcome and its subsequent possibilities.
I know a lot of people will be feeling pretty disappointed in the outcome. Believe me, I get that! I wish I did better for those of you who have thrown your full support behind me and believed in me so passionately. I wish I could have turned those chairs. But I didn’t.
Here’s where I stand on that.
When faced with the possibility that your entire life is about to change, to take on a direction you’ve spent most of your days dreaming of and hoping for, it’s hard not to run away with your imagination. I’ve let myself wonder, I dared to hope this could be “it”… that all of MY journey with Kristian’s battle, his life, and his death would point to this one neat little parcel of perfection in the grand scheme of my life; That I would get the answer so many of us desperately crave and need when we are faced with the “why” that seems to weave itself through our lives like a common thread.
But it wasn’t to be. And you know, as cliché as it may sound, I’m actually ok with that. Of course it’s disappointing to find oneself back in the day-to-day grind. Of course I would have loved the opportunity to progress a little further and perhaps get the attention of some labels and really show my stuff. I would have loved to do this day in, day out for the rest of my life and not have to return to the office. I’ve spent the last 14 odd years developing my music, spent literally thousands of dollars to study it, cried over most of the stories behind it and in a lot of ways, I feel it contributed to Kristian’s health troubles at some points during the album process. But I have come to accept that sometimes you just don’t get the answers you want. At least not in this life, and you have to make peace with that, or face a lifetime of sorrow, regret and confusion. Who wants to live like that? No thanks!
Realistically, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by auditioning. As I progressed through each stage of the audition process, a little piece of my heart and soul re-awakened. I let myself sit at the piano, literally for hours and just… feel. I sang a lot. I cried a lot. I let out so many emotions I just wasn’t able to process before I let the door open again. I received valuable exposure to incredible people and was given the chance to network like never before. I re-connected my heart and my mind, which have been disconnected for so long it’s frightening. And then I stepped on stage to perform for the very first time in my longest time between breaths.
Music is oxygen to me. It beats life through my sluggish, weary heart and points me in the way I should go. And after so long holding my breath, it feels like I’m finally breathing again.
So it’s hard to be regretful when you have only gained from an experience. Yes, my failure was public, yes, there will be a lot of criticism of my performance, of me, and the fact that I told Kristian’s story so unashamedly. But it would have been wrong of me to gloss over the very reason for my music’s success and existence. I was born with the love of singing, but it was Kristian who stirred my influences and his love of music that inspired me to follow suit. And eventually, it was Kristian’s decision to move to Sydney to study at C3 College that lead me to also move over there, to begin my journey as a serious song writer and performer, to make lifelong friendships, gain invaluable experience as an artist, and to meet the love of my life.
Growing up, Kristian would spend hours locked away in his room, banging at the drums, playing the saxophone, guitar, playing albums over and over. My earliest memories of secular music are The Beach Boys albums; Kristian bought me my first ever CD. I learned how to harmonize listening to Endless Summer. I learned to hear beyond the tune and to really hear the lyrics listening to Black Lab. And that all happened because of him. He recorded, produced, arranged and played on my debut album and sourced the best of the best in the industry to play on it, including Shania Twain’s guitarist, Leah Haywood from Dream Lab for BV’s, and Michael W Smith’s strings writer. So it makes sense that anything good to happen to me in relation to my music should occur because of Kristian. He has pushed me above and beyond time after time, sometimes even to breaking point. If you know the Anderson family, you’ll know just how passionate and intense we can be when we believe in something. I won’t pretend it was easy being Kristian’s sister, but it was a privilege, because he drove me to where I am today. He drives me still. And to not tell such an integral part of the story on the show would not have only been wrong, but it would have been dishonest. I would have been claiming credit that did not belong to me.
My big thing is integrity. Saying what you mean, and meaning what you say. Telling the truth at all times. Sticking by your word, even if it costs you. So it would not have been honest to have stood up there and not made mention of how I got there. I hope Social media isn’t too unkind with regard to that fact, but I won’t be taking it personally if they take issue with it, either. I will not be feeding the trolls.
So, where to from here?
Well, first and foremost, I want to thank Channel 9 and every single person I worked with at The Voice and Shine Australia. Not once did I feel like a number or a try-hard in this process. I was treated and respected as an artist from the beginning, right to this day. I am still being given opportunities by the kind-hearted people at Network Nine and Newscorp Australia.
Thank you to my Mum, for wanting this as much as I did, and for not being afraid to show it. I am here because of you; I love you deeply.
Thank you to my adopted families, the Schultzs and the Lloyds/Brennans for being with me on such an important day, and for letting me know that no matter what the outcome, I had quality people in my corner. I was not in doubt for one second after I started singing exactly where you were, and it gave me more confidence than I can tell you.
Thank you to my incredible Husband Stuart, who flew from LA to Sydney on the red eye to be with me on audition day, after cancelled flights and a full schedule with work. Thank you for your quiet calm, and for keeping my feet on the ground at all times, but for most of all encouraging me to dream.
Not many people know how big and valuable a journey this process has been for me personally, and that’s ok. I couldn’t expect you to, because in all honesty, the benefits and lessons from this amazing opportunity are still unfolding before me. But the important thing is, I did it. And I did it for me. Yes, I did it to honour Kris, but I did it because it was time for me to take the next step. One that for the longest time, I was too afraid to take.
I don’t know what will unfold in light of the outcome of tonight’s audition. But I do know that I had nothing to lose, and have gained everything through this experience.
Thank you to those of you who continue to support me, musically and personally, for those of you who have plugged the s**t out of me on Social Media and in person (particularly to the Melbourne Ice Hockey crew, you guys are amazing) and for those of you who believed, without a doubt, that I could turn all 4 chairs. You guys are a blessing, and I am beyond blessed by you.
I didn’t always feel so wonderful about the outcome of this. If you read back a few entries, you’ll see where I landed after the audition happened, and how deeply it affected me in the earlier days. But believe me when I say that taking risks is worth every moment of fear and doubt, because that’s where courage shows itself in you. And that’s where you find who you really are.
Don’t be afraid to dream, and don’t be afraid to chase it til your legs fall off. I certainly plan to.
“It’s times like these, you learn to live again;
It’s times like these you give and give again;
It’s times like these you learn to love again;
It’s times like these, time and time again.”
If you would like to buy my album, the digital version is available at https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/to-the-fall/id357413528 or a hard copy (signed, if you fancy) is available at www.bethanderson.com.au
Make sure you check out http://www.facebook.com/bethandersonmusic or follow me on twitter @_bethwalker for updates!