A French Song in New York(3)

By: Anna Adams

“You girls never had a career before Blaze. I have a reputation to maintain in the bars I sing in.” Haze cracked her knuckles. “I’m not singing in the street.”

“Tat, you forgot we’re in the presence of Upper East Side royalty,” Rachel mumbled. She turned a page in her book, ignoring the murderous look she received from Haze.

It was no longer a secret that Haze grew up in the Upper East Side with two adorable fathers and a flock of loving brothers and sisters.

Until recently, they had mistakenly believed her life was a miserable one, although Haze had not once explicitly said this was the case.

The clues the girls had relied on to form this false belief was Haze’s wardrobe filled with holes and her disdain for money.

Since the girls had discovered Haze lived in an affluent neighborhood, they teased her frequently, mocking the artist’s thirst for the unconventional.

“To think you were once all about artistic authenticity.” Tatiana wrung her hands in mock despair.

“You accused Tatiana of acting like a princess,” Rachel added.

“I said she was a Barbie,” Haze insisted on the distinction, convinced that the latter was less injurious than the former. “Was. Since you got rid of the fake boobs and butt, you’re just a normal doll.” Haze grinned.

Tatiana lifted her eyes to the ceiling, seeking support from the dusty fan rotating like a tired windmill on the verge of collapse.

“Girls, I have a plan.” Jazmine wriggled, creating a deep dent in the couch. “Tatiana’s right about building an online following.”

“Don’t we already have one?” Rachel asked at the same time as Tatiana exclaimed “I am? I love being right!”

Jazmine turned her laptop around and her friends leaned in closer. “As of today, we have two hundred subscribers on YouTube. That’s pathetic. We need thousands. Tens of thousands.”

“No, we don’t!” Haze exclaimed. She closed the laptop. “You think the rock goddess, Courtney Love, needed YouTube to become who she is?”

“YouTube didn’t exist back then,” Rachel pointed out, putting her book aside. She turned to Jazmine with keen interest.

“Exactly,” Jazmine continued. “We don’t need producers. All we need is to create a huge buzz on the internet. We’re lucky to be living in a time when we can skip the middleman and bring music to millions of people with just one click. Believe me, girls, if this works, producers will be begging us to work with them. Not the other way around.”

“We’re unconventional,” Tatiana said. “They’re probably too scared to launch the career of an all-girl rock band. But if we show them it works, they’ll know they won’t be wasting money on a high-risk operation.”

“How do we create this magical buzz? How do we go viral?” Haze asked. “By wishing on a shooting star?”

The girls fell silent, allowing the 90s music to fill the café.

Mugs scraping against saucers, coffee machines spewing foam, and coins rattling in the register did not create the ideal environment for ingenious ideas.

Jazmine slid her laptop across the table onto her knees and tapped furiously across the keyboard.

“The first step is creating weekly content.” She scanned the article and added, “Videos for our songs.”

“Great idea, Spielberg. But we don’t have any money,” Haze pointed out.

“Your family does,” Rachel giggled.

“You know what else is funny?” Haze snapped. “You lying to your mom about wanting to become a doctor when you don’t.”

“Hey, I’m not lying. I may not get the best grades, but I’m studying, aren’t I? When I’m not listening to you moan about capitalism.”

“Just because I’m loaded doesn’t mean I think it’s right that people can’t eat three meals a day everywhere in the world. Or that climate change will hurt developing countries first, though our countries screwed up our planet in the first place just so we could live with a bunch of things we don’t even need! Or—”

“Hey, girls!” Jazmine snapped her fingers. “Get back to business. What we need is someone who will film our videos in a professional manner, but for an affordable price. Anyone know someone who fits that description?”

“My iPhone?” said Tatiana. “I make some really good videos with it.”

“Nobody needs you to take amateur selfies,” Haze snarled, though she still glared at Rachel. “Jazmine wants cheap and professional. Not just cheap. Got it?”

“Good luck finding that.” Rachel reached for her textbook. “You usually get one or the other. Rarely both.”