A.J. and His Close Call

It’s A.J. I hope you enjoyed Tara’s story yesterday. She is quite an amazing woman, isn’t she!
Well, I’m excited that it’s my turn to let you into my world. Here goes. 
I was raised just outside Columbus, Ohio. (It’s amazing that Tara and I are from the same part of the country, yet we didn’t meet until . . .oops, that is a story for another time.)
I grew up with music all around me. My grandma and uncle lived with us and they both played the guitar and sang. My mom had a piano and also played and sang.
When I was quite young, my mom bought my brother and I acoustic guitars and we started lessons, but I dropped out and kind of left music behind for a while. But then . . .
One day I saw Green Day on TV and it literally changed my life! I went out that same weekend and spent my allowance to buy their record. Amazingly, my mom liked it as well and it is something we share to this day.
I started getting serious about music.
I picked up my old acoustic guitar, went out on the porch with a neighbor friend and a tape recorder, and started to write and play songs. It didn’t matter to me that we didn’t really know how to either. We still had a great time!
After a while, my mom bought me an electric guitar and an amp for Christmas and I started to learn to play. By the way, I still have that guitar and amp in my rehearsal studio. I can never seem to get rid of anything that has to do with music!
Then in 7th grade I joined the school choir. Now that was a strange place for a rocker/skater guy to go, but it turned out I was a naturally gifted singer and the director gave me some solos and promoted me to the 8th grade choir.
The next year our choir won a national competition that took place at the Grand Ole Opry in Tennessee. What an experience!
One day sometime later, I heard Blink-182 on the radio. It instantly blew me away! I was like WHAT IS THIS?!
I just loved how they blended really beautiful pop melodies and harmonies with the distorted electric guitar, much like Green Day and other bands I liked. But they were different somehow. They were funny and there was just something about them that made me love them.
They’re what made me want to start taking music super seriously. At that time I was self-taught but I actually got quite good just naturally. I’ve always had a good musical ear that can hear things other people don’t in music.
I started to record music and kept a notebook of anything interesting I encountered in life that I could use for lyrics.
I was working in home health care with my mom and I started to save my money so I couldmove to Hollywood to pursue my love of musicfrom there. But then a serious monkey wrench got thrown into that plan . . .
One night I was partying with my friends and drank too much and blacked out. About 30 minutes later my friends found me in the bathroom in a pool of blood from a head injury. I was taken to the hospital where I was given an MRI and PET scan.
Now, talk about a BLESSING IN DISGUISE! It turned out I had a brain tumor about the size of a golf ball which was removed a few days later.
The doctors told me that if I had waited any longer to have it removed, I may not have made it. But I did and I got much more serious about my music.
I saved up my money and bought some professional equipment. My friend, Justin, and I started to hang out daily playing Blink-182 covers and writing our own songs.
We even recorded a CD and went to local and big shows to hand them out. It was super fun!
Another neighbor, Jan, played the drums and joined us for a while but then left for another band. So my friend, Jason, stepped in to fill the spot and we had a great time performing together.
Eventually, we brought up the idea of getting the show on the road and heading to Californiatogether. The plan was in the works when . . . 
Another monkey wrench! But this has gotten long and it is time to close. Tune into tomorrow to hear what Tara has to say about her continuing journey.
“If you like what you hear from A.J. and Tara, get an Exclusive Digital Bundle as a Gift for FREE! Click AJandTara.net, thanks!”

Tara the Performer

Now then, just who are A.J. and Tara? Well, let us share a little about ourselves with you.

I (Tara) have always been a survivor and a performer. What do I mean by “survivor”? Well, first of all, I was born at just six months.

My mom took a tumble (thanks to the family dog!) which caused her water to break, so I was delivered before my time. I was a miracle child and was so small that I fit into my mom’s palm. My lungs and brain weren’t fully developed, but obviously I survived and my lungs are doing just fine now (have you listened to me sing yet?!? 😉

And that thing about being a performer? Well, I started out as a gymnast and was doing very well. At that time we lived in San Antonio, Texas.

Gymnastics is a big thing there, so I had really good training. I did so well that my coaches compared me to Olympic gold medalist Shannon Miller. What a compliment!

But, alas, my father retired from the military and the family moved back to our roots in southern Illinois. There wasn’t much interest in gymnastics there and no real place to train, so I was at loose ends.

But that didn’t last long. As I said, I am a performer at heart, so I started looking for something fresh and different. I had already been singing, so my parents encouraged me to join the church choir.

Then, when I was in 4th grade, my parents took me to see “A Christmas Carol” live at the Fox Theater in St. Louis, Missouri. I had found my new love! I wanted to make others feel what I had felt.

I was so happy and at the same time laughing and crying. I was floating on a cloud!

So, back home I joined every choir I could and started taking singing, acting, and dance classes. I ended up in two to three musicals per year all the way through high school ranging from “SchoolHouse Rock” to “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Now, my music wasn’t always used for the “common good.” Nope, I knew how to get under my brother’s skin with my singing.

The first album I ever bought was Alanis Morrisette’s “Jagged Little Pill.” I sang it constantly. I would sing the album out of boredom when Mom made us go shopping with her, and my brother HATED it.

So, of course, I would just sing louder and louder until he got so mad he started yelling at me. And that would make me cry. Looking back, I guess I was a really mean sister.

Anyway, I had been telling my family that I wanted to be in all the movie versions of the musicals I had performed. Luckily, my family totally supported my dream.

While in high school, I went to a college fair and there I discovered the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA). I scheduled an audition and was accepted into the summer program. The original plan was for my mom and me to get an apartment in California for the summer but then you’ll NEVER believe what my father did . . .

Well, more on that later. It’s A.J.’s turn. You’ll be hearing from him tomorrow.

You’ll find out that he is quite the survivor as well!

Thanks for listening,
Tara

“If you like what you hear from A.J. and Tara, get an Exclusive Digital Bundle as a Gift for FREE! Click AJandTara.net, thanks!”