Well. I'm freshly back in Nashville from my weekend trip to Vegas for WPPI 2013. You may be asking, "But, Holley, I didn't know you were a wedding photographer???" And you would be correct, I most definitely am not. This fun-filled weekend cleverly disguised as a business trip was courtesy of my friends and personal Santa Clauses at The Music Bed. I love them super-dearly, and was so thrilled when they asked me and my lovely/talented gal pal, Marie Hines, to join them on their excursion to Las Vegas. We'd be performing before and after the incredible husband-wife photog duo, Zach & Jody's (or Jack & Zody, as I accidentally referred to them on stage) seminar, and helping out at the fancy TMB booth at the Expo the next day. A trip to Vegas and all I have to do issinga few songs and talk to a bunch of really cool people all day? Book that flight, baby. I'm in.
Now, I haven't been to Vegas since I was, like, 14 or something. All I really recalled was that it seemed like a magical, glittering fairyland, like Disney World for adults... except, a lot less well-behaved. Which was pretty much spot-on. As a low-key kinda girl myself, this doesn't really appeal too much to me (No, thanks, sir, I don't fancy a trip to Crazy Jack's Triple-X Peep Tavern tonight...), so, thankfully, most of our time was spent exploring the wonderful world of WPPI at the MGM Grand (all 12 miles of it.) Much of our trip I was pretty well prepared for, like what I'd have to do, where I'd have to be, etc. But what I didn't expect at all was walking away from it with so many touching and wonderful experiences with the people there.
On Sunday, Marie and I trekked down to the conference center to play our opening set for Zach & Jody, the scale of which, I have to say, was much more daunting than I'd imagined. In my mind, I figured we'd be playing for a room of maybe a couple hundred folks. I was shocked to look up and see a veritable hoard of people pouring through the doors when we started. Probably 7 or 800 of them! It was insanity! I felt like Mufasa in the stampede! (Too soon?) When our opening set finished, I realized why Zach & Jody's seminar was so well attended -- these two are awesome! Really inspirational speakers, and skilled business owners. I took a few notes myself, and then headed back up on stage to close out the show. Afterwards, though, was really the best part.
After the set, I got to meet Josh Gooden, the talented cinematographer who produced the Pandora commercial and chose my song, "Perfect Day," to accompany it. (When he introduced himself, I squealed and threw my arms around his neck, which I'm pretty sure caught him off guard.) Right after that, I got to meet Latasha Haynes, a talented photog and mom, who became a fan of my music when my song was used in her baby shower video (the "star" of which, baby Wisdom, I got to meet the next day!)
At the Expo on Monday, Marie and I donned our official TMB t-shirts and adopted the roles of Music Bed Cheerleaders. We greeted passersby and happily told them how TMB works and why we're so in love with them (which wasn't hard at all.) And, as is the nature of the beast at an expo such as this, I took a few opportune moments to slip would-be listeners a flyer or a free cd of mine here and there, along with a winning smile and a wink that glittered (not really.)
And then came the part of the trip that I was totally unprepared for.
In the midst of my "And, also, I can tell you from an artists' perspective that these guys seriously rock..." speech, several people began to stop me, point to my name on the flyer, and say, "This is you?" The outpouring of love and kind words that followed took me totally off guard, and made that particular Monday probably one of the greatest days of my entire life. I got to personally meet and speak with so many people who had been touched by my music in ways that I could never imagine. Among them was Kenny Kim, a photog who, upon learning my name, exclaimed "You're in my wedding video!" and promptly whipped out his iPhone to show me his gorgeously-captured Italian countryside wedding film, which featured "Perfect Day" in the background. Watching this film, seeing Kenny's excitement as he called over a group of friends to introduce to me, hearing the joy in his voice as he spoke about his wife and their wedding, and their thankfulness for my music... I was absolutely overcome. There were hugs, there was laughter, there were stories exchanged, there were tears (I'm literally choked up right now thinking about it.) It was probably one of the most purely joy-filled moments of my life.
I feel incredibly and indescribably blessed to have had the opportunity to meet these people. Their kind words really gave me a renewed sense of love and commitment to my music and the people who support it. So, THANK YOU so much to The Music Bed for sending me, and to the people who touched my heart last weekend! You made my day.
Among the wonderful photogs and cinematogs that I had the pleasure of meeting were The Darlingtons, Collin Pierson, Brett & Tori, The Robinsons, and of course Kenny Kim, Josh Gooden, Zach & Jody, Ike & Tash (and baby Wisdom), and sooo so many more. Share the love, because these are some talented and truly wonderful people.