The Wide Angle: The urge and push of being positive

Published 7:01 am Sunday, October 22, 2017

Every now and again in my profession I get to meet celebrities. Those big names you only see on TV or hear in music.

Now I don’t get to galavant around, going to big-time parties with Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman or Jennifer Lawrence. I’m not invited to Oscar parties or the Sundance Film Festival or anything so extravagant as that. And maybe that’s a good thing. I don’t do well on those stages and would probably and ultimately look like some demented stalker cowering in the corner, staring out from the shadows.

Famous people, I’ve heard, don’t like that.

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But still, I have been able to say things like: I’ve talked to Kenny Rogers back stage or I hung with Quiet Riot on their tour bus, or was hugged awkwardly by Chip Z’nuff from Enuff Z’Nuff after stuffing his 6-foot, five-inch frame into  my Sunfire and taking him to an instant cash machine at Hy-Vee.

Yeah … that one was a little weird, but rock n’ roll baby!

These meetings have always been nice. I’ll never forget joking with The Gambler about having him call my mom on the cell phone before the show. That man was funny and had he not been about five minutes from going on stage I’m pretty sure he would have done it.

Still, none of these meetings probably rang so true as meeting Kat Perkins Tuesday morning at I.J. Holton Intermediate School and interviewing her.

Perkins is full of energy, engaging and eternally optimistic and while interviewing her was kind of a last minute decision, it turned out to be a great decision.

She is the musician/celebrity you always hope to meet. A fantastic singing voice, but grounded as well and carrying with her a great message of never giving up and follow your dreams no matter the cost.

She has followed her own advice that led to the semifinals of The Voice. It’s a personality that’s missing on music’s bigger stages. She shows by her example alone just how important music is to the day-to-day world.

I realize I did not hit on the Barbara Walters level of interviewing. For instance, Perkins did not cry once, though really my toughest question wasn’t probing any dark recesses of her career. I’m not entirely she has those, other than a particularly dark point with the discovery of a cyst on her left vocal chord that brought into question her career as a whole.

But Perkins, in her talk Tuesday, showed that eternal optimism that helped push her through, something that in this world is sadly missing.

I embrace the idea that I’m becoming more of a fan boy at the moment, but watch the news sometime, read the news sometime and tell me that an optimistic spirit isn’t required these days. I’m not saying Kat Perkins will save the world, but maybe it can save a little bit of it.

Think about what a song can do. It can make you forget a bad day, it can help you remember a proud and happy moment and it can lift you up.

Listen, I’m not jumping on a pedestal here and preaching the everlasting saving grace of music. I’m not so naive as to think that a single song will save the country and its citizens, but for a little bit of time, it can certainly feel like it.

That was the power of Perkins’ speech Tuesday. A little bit of time, sometimes is all you really need because as she said, those little things can build to much larger things.

Tomorrow isn’t promised or guaranteed, but that doesn’t mean that you maybe can’t nudge it in a certain direction and a positive attitude, coupled with just a little bit of music can move mountains.

Now, please don’t walk around with a goofy-looking smile all day. It’s creepy. Stop that. Just keep a little something left in the tank for a day that’s a little more of a struggle than most days.

Perkins’ music isn’t for everybody, no music is, but her message is. Dream it, do it even with your toes on the edge of a cliff.

And stop smiling like that. Man, you are so wonderfully and delightfully weird.