Moment #1: Standing on a rooftop in Toronto with the CN Tower behind me and the sun beaming down…Buffy the makeup artist fussing over my hair and makeup while director Warren Sonoda organizes his team for the first take of my very first video shoot. Completely surreal for a girl who usually spends her time writing songs in her sweatpants.
Moment #2: Strutting down the sidewalk through a sea of briefcase-lugging suit-and-tie-wearing business executives in the middle of rush hour in downtown Toronto’s financial district, playing my guitar and singing at the top of my lungs, while the whole crew runs backwards in front of me with cameras and lighting, Casey Clarke and the crew of the CMT Chevy Top 20 Countdown report from the sidelines, and buses full of camera-happy onlookers crawl by on the street. And being so caught up in the song I’m singing that I don’t even feel weird about it.
Moment #3: Driving to pick up my sidekick Kate (from my management company) en route to some radio stations, listening to Toronto’s Country 95.3 alone in my car and daydreaming in the pre-dawn glow of a Wednesday morning, and spilling my tea all over myself when the DJ says “Coming up next, Victoria Banks.”
Moment #4: Driving back to the city on Wednesday night after visiting radio stations in Owen Sound and Sarnia and cranking up “The Wheel” on the radio again…for the 6th time!
Moment #5: Thursday afternoon, after visiting radio stations in Peterborough and Belleville…I’m doing an on-air performance and interview in the studio at Kingston, Ontario’s KIX 93.5 (where I spent my first couple of University years studying chemical engineering at Queen’s). It’s like I’m in a time warp. So close and yet so far from that dorm room just a few blocks away where I used to stay up all night writing songs. Really bad songs, but you’ve gotta start somewhere!
Moment #6: Friday afternoon on Toronto’s QEW highway…Kate and I are on the way to a CMT shoot. A low crunching sound…the back of our rental car being nudged by an eighteen-wheeler. That moment when you lose control and suddenly everything comes into focus. The sideways skid of the car and then the impact of the truck smashing into our driver’s side and spinning us out like a pinball across 3 lanes of fast-moving traffic. Through the windshield all we can see is cars hurtling at us in slow motion. We turn in circles, holding our breath and wondering which one is going to be our last, until we skid to a stop in the fast lane against the concrete median. “Are you OK?,” I say. “Yes, I think so, are you?” “Yes.” We jump out of the car and run to the median wall while the traffic starts to filter around us. A construction worker on the other side of the wall says “How are you alive right now?”
Moment #7: Saturday afternoon. A few precious hours for an early Mothers’ Day visit with my Mom before flying back to Nashville. I can’t stop hugging her.
Moment #8: My last night in Ontario…the 40th anniversary gala of the choir I grew up singing in. Being called up on stage with the other alumni to close the show by sight-singing some Handel pieces. Looking over at my Dad and Uncle Ross in the bass section and hearing the soloist voices of my Uncle John and my sister Amy soaring above the choir, just like old times. Sending up a loud, heartfelt musical prayer. A perfect way to wrap up a rollercoaster of a week.