It was never anything I sought. I just think my creative interests accidentally paved the way for me to be in commercials.
All through grammar school, my parents made me take piano lessons. I really didn’t want to, but they insisted and I eventually grew to love classical music. To be honest, I didn’t know there was any other kind of music to study, because popular music seemed too silly to spend time learning.
I hated practicing. I’d play scales and exercises over and over just to bug my parents for making me practice, instead of playing the beautiful music I was learning. I studied Chopin, Bach, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Grieg, concertos, rhapsodies and sonatas. If I had to do it all over again, I’d be a much better player because I’d recognize the love I have for this music and I’d practice, not rebel.
My piano teacher had her students give recitals. One year, I sat down to play my selection and absolutely froze. I could not remember what I was supposed to play. I just sat there with my hands poised over the keyboard, not able to move. Fortunately, my teacher would not let me fail. She walked me down the street to a friend’s house where I read and played the music I was supposed to perform. I immediately returned to her house and to the recital. Although still in abject terror, I sat down, played perfectly and got the most applause of the day. But, boy, was I scared!
I think the most fun I had was playing piano with four other students (and eight hands). This was a ball. I had to work up to this level because the music was much more complicated. I remember being so excited playing these large, magnificent concertos. I knew I was really good when I was invited to play with the group. It was complex but a lot of fun when we all played together. Every year it was the highlight that ended the recital. The audience and the players always looked forward to it.
When I became a busy teenager, I stopped playing the piano. I was such a “good girl” that not playing the piano, something that I was very good at, was my feeble way of rebelling. Listen, I could have done worse…
But, I stayed involved with music by joining the a cappella choir in high school. I became president and performed in all the school musicals.
My friend, Andy and I performed and created all sorts of musical numbers together. We called each other “Yanyu Goodluck One” and “Yanyu Goodluck Two”. Who knows where that came from?
I was also elected Head Song Leader at my high school. So, performing, was a big part of my high school days.
“Ala beevo! Ala bivo! Ala beevo, bivo, bum!” And I still have the sweater!
At the same time, I joined the debate society. I specialized in dramatic interpretation, won top awards across the state and earned many huge trophies. My winning readings were “The Snow Goose” and “Lili” both written by Paul Gallico. Funny, I never connected my involvement in the debate society as a precursor to acting. But, I guess every little bit helped.
OK, but how did you get into commercials? How did you get into “show business?”
Tune in tomorrow and read “the rest of the story.”