Copyright  © 2017-2019 NINFA ARTEMIS

Chapter 2

MY LIFE ´TILL LONDON

 

- And so you started emailing the singer, right? Endless emails! I told you to invest more of your time on other things and less on that singer...but you didn’t want to listen to me. Later you would decide to get involved in the music world. How did you find out about the studio musician's recording studio?

- I knew absolutely no one connected to the music world, but I went in search of a recording studio! Oh! Something happened in Ireland, in Dublin, on those trips I mentioned earlier that I forgot to tell you about!

- My ears are all yours. Tell me about it!

- The train arrived at dawn and the cheapest hotels nearby were all crowded so a group of us grabbed our sleeping bags and slept - all together, about five people in a hidden corner near the railway station. My sleeping bag was yellow with scenes from comics in intense electric orange, yellow and black tones. It had been in the store for days, no one wanted to purchase it. I hated it, but it was so cheap and because my eyes were closed as I slept, I wasn’t going to have to look at it, so I bought it.

- What happened in Dublin?

- I was sleeping when I suddenly woke up and opened my eyes. I popped my head out of the sleeping bag and saw a cop dressed in black. He looked like he was from the Special Forces. He was near me pointing a rifle at me with telescopic sight. There were others just like him over near some bushes.

 - Did you wake up on the set of a movie?!

- No, that was real! I whispered quietly to the others in the sleeping bags next to me, trying to be as still as possible so that the officers would not get anxious and start shooting, "Wake up ...Wake up!" But they all just kept sleeping... and one was even snoring! "We have guns pointed at US!" I said through gritted teeth. Their sleep was really deep. I looked at the officer with a bewildered face, smiled at him and thought: "The world's gone mad! A rifle with telescopic sight pointing at me! What a large police operation! Is there some terrorist among us?” I gazed at the police officers near the bushes. "Those small trees are there to protect you from danger, right? Can you try to conceal yourselves a little more in the bushes so I can’t see you? You’re scaring me! Now they are coming out of the bushes towards me! Did you not understand what I said? Get behind the bushes, now! This bunch in the sleeping bags is dangerous! My sleeping bag with these strong electric orange and yellow tones could suck out your brains and transform you into zombies!"

- But what did you and the others do to have this whole police set up after you?

- I didn’t know! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! The Special Forces were walking toward us with their rifles with telescopic sight pointed at us. I was the only one from the group who had spontaneously woken up. They approached us and ordered us to get up. Then we realized that the police must have suspected that inside the sleeping bags were explosive devices and not people. They told us that it was dangerous for us to stay there because they had busted an explosive device at that station days earlier. They led us to the police station to spend a safe night there. When we got there we saw that the room had a glass window with a hole in it which looked like it was made by a gunshot.

- Were the officers with the rifles with telescopic sight hot?

- I was sleepy, scared and thought it was all insane... I didn’t really notice. Are you drinking? It sounds like you’re drinking...

- I'm drinking a glass of port wine. Tell me more crazy stories from these trips!

- There's a funny one that happened to me when I went to visit a small island in Greece. In the valley there were lots of shops which rented motorbikes. I had never driven a motorcycle before. The man from the rental place said it was simple because there were only two options when driving a motorcycle: going and stopping and he taught us how to do both. Then, we all went for a ride! Each one on their own motorcycle and all together we climbed to the top of the island. We had all afternoon to get there. The terrain was steep, somewhat arid and there were few trees. We could see some uncultivated land, burned grass from the summer heat and it was very windy. The wind seemed to come from everywhere!

- What happened? Did the wind blow someone through the air?

- It wasn´t that. We arrived at the top of the island, observed the surrounding landscape, including the beautiful blue sea circling us. After a while, a group began to turn their bikes back to begin the return trip to the store that had rented us the bikes. The return trip was down all the way! I had been fixing some things in my bag and then noticed that the others had already left. I could still see them, but they were getting more and more distant. I grabbed my bike to start the journey back down. I was alone. The surrounding landscape was a narrow deserted curvy road. I felt the strong, cool wind on my skin that made the clothes almost fly over my head. I no longer saw human beings on bikes. "Where did everybody go? I can’t see you! You sped up, didn’t you?” I thought, “I'm descending. The man from the rental shop said to accelerate or brake. How can I catch up to the others? By accelerating!” The slope was steep. Do you know what happened to me?

 - Where did your motorcycle end up from your acceleration?

- The motorcycle took off at full speed, straight ahead throwing me in a field in front of me. I fell with the front part of the motorcycle on top of me – the front wheel still turning.

- Did you hurt yourself?

- Luckily I didn’t fracture any bones. My arms and legs got scratched up and my knees were bloody because of my hard landing. I felt what I hadn’t felt before: the wind blowing little dust particles or something which seemed like little needles entering my bloody wounds. I got the motorcycle up and continued my descent. The wind was making my trip difficult. The wind aggressively cut through me as I rode on the motorcycle. I stopped the bike.

- Where was your group?

- I didn’t even think about them. I took of my cotton socks and emptied a plastic bag…

-Let me have another drink of Port wine because mixing these stories of telescopic rifles in Dublin with motorcycle falls in Greece, cotton socks and plastic bag are too damn amusing!

- I took off my cotton socks, emptied a plastic bag and put the socks on top of each bleeding knee that the strong wind was burning through. I wrapped and knotted strips made ​​from the plastic bag around my knees. I put other plastic strips on my arms where the skin was raw. I got back up on the bike, with strips of plastic on my knees and arms flapping in the wind. After a while my little group came looking for me...They asked me why I had stayed behind and why I had all those strips of fluttering plastic on my knees and arms. They ironically said that bikers used a single strap around their head and not several strips of badly torn plastic shopping bag on their knees and arms! I retorted, "I fell." They did not understand what I’d said because I hadn’t stopped the bike but had only slowed down. "WHAT?" they shouted. I looked at them and wondered what the heck they were doing standing there screaming? I drove away and thought about the fact that the bike was slightly dented and wondered how the owner would react…

- My Nymph in a scooter...It would be sexier if you were on a Harley Davidson with a hot biker!

- Of course that would have been so much better!  I ended up walking around the island visiting the rest of the island on foot, with socks and strips of plastic tied around me! Everyone noticed this eccentric tourist. Then I remembered that I could have gone to a pharmacy for treatment but at this point I was already back at the hotel, in bed, with aching burning knees trying to fall asleep.

- I think you should have gone to the pharmacy immediately! I’m still curious about something so, returning to the question already posed: how did you find out about the musician´s recording studio for your songs, since you did not know anyone connected to music?

-When you read the book, look out for chapter three. The story’s all there. It was funny! In sum, I found it in the yellow pages, in the classifieds section. There was an ad for a popular music record label in a small town near my house - only 13 miles away! I was really amazed because I thought that there would only be record labels in the capital.  I searched the internet and didn’t see any reference to this label but I thought, "They must know musicians! Popular music? Hm... I don’t think it’s worth calling this place." For the next few days a persistent thought went through my mind, “Call the record label!" I mentally retorted, "Why? It's folk music! Not my type." But the voice insisted, "Call!"

- How would you classify your music?

- Rock, but others have classified me in many different ways. Do you want to see? I repeatedly asked the studio musician what genre my music was because my songs go from pop to rock to blues and even world music. For example, the song "Sisyphean" which I like very much is placed in this latter genre. The studio musician responded by saying that I had more of a rock profile. On the other hand, the guys who replied to my London ad in search for musicians labeled me as electro pop. In turn, three weeks before a December 7th concert the promoter publicized me on his online social network as a Portuguese singer who would be performing that evening whose voice was a mixture of the sweetness of the French pop singer Vanessa Paradise with the voice of German punk singer Nina Hagen. And a few years before this, when the Portuguese song “Aha sim Gato" (with an English version entitled “Aha, yes Tiger" from the "Incense" project) appeared on a national radio station, some people classified me as Gothic in terms of my image and "AFPM" in terms of my genre of music.

- What does “AFPM” stand for?

- I didn’t know and neither did the studio musician. I searched and it means: “Alternative Freak Pop Music” Are you laughing?!

- Sweetie, that’s a good one. There is no consensus in regards to your type of music! There´s only one! You are “Ninfa Artemis” – It’s the name that will define you one day. Did you end up calling the record label?

-  Yes, I called. The owner of the record label, a man of about seventy years old, used to be a singer. He used to sing predominantly for the Portuguese community throughout the world. He explained that despite being small, his label did covers of all genres of music and in various languages: from Spanish to English to French to Italian and even Arabic! And yes, he knew many musicians! He told me to bring him the tape with my songs! After that, he listened to them and said he had a fantastic and versatile musician working with him who performed many musical genres. The owner gave me the contact of the studio musician and I went to him as an independent artist.  I paid for and supervised my entire project. I was involved in all the musical arrangements and mixes of my songs. I was always beside the musician. One time I felt like staying home because I was tired of so many months of travel, but the musician told me, "You should be here! Did you know that cattle get fatter when their owner is nearby?  You should be here so that if there’s anything you want to change we can do it immediately. You can also learn things by observing the technical work done in the studio!" That was my life for eight years! So many days!

- Did the other studio artists also have this routine of being present on a regular basis at the recording studio?

-The other artists were hardly there! They recorded their vocals and rarely went to the studio afterwards. The musician was responsible for all remaining work. Because I liked to give input into my work like choosing the type of drums, guitar...well...doing the musical arrangements, I had to be there.

- How many hours did that musician work in the studio?

- The musician worked a lot! He usually started his day in his basement studio at 6 a.m. Often his lunch consisted of tea, biscuits and sandwiches, not having a real meal in order not to interrupt the work at hand. I used to have a romantic, adventurous and fascinating idea about the lives of musicians: always travelling, meeting different people, a life full of emotion and exciting experiences... I imagined their girlfriends full of pride beside their musician boyfriends who in turn were sensitive, gentle, romantic, thoughtful, creative people because they were artists. Boredom would be absent from their lives!

- But it’s not like that, right? Beware of appearances, right sweetie? Did you like to do the recording sessions with the musician?

-Yes, they were great! Did you know that I did a preliminary recording in August of 2003, only a few days after having been introduced to the musician? The entire Portuguese "Incenso" project was recorded in a few days. It was all very quick. The following year I urged the musician to make improvements on the musical arrangements and went back into the studio. We worked from January to March, a few hours a day because I worked and the musician also had other musical projects which he had to attend to. After completing the recording I went to find out how I could get a bar code printed on my CD. I contacted a factory which duplicated CDs and had them print two thousand copies. It cost almost the same to print five hundred copies, so printing in bulk was worth it! I printed a barcode on my CDs - just like a real record label!

-What did you do to so many CDs? Did you sell them?

-No, I didn’t sell them. I sent them to Portuguese radios all over the country and the leftover CDs are bundled up under my bed!

- Any luck when you sent the CDs to the radio stations?

- I got lucky with a national radio station that broadcasted lots of Portuguese independent music by garage bands singing in English. I had a good feeling about this radio station even though I was singing in Portuguese and didn’t have a band. Three years later they created a show on the radio which played "funny" Portuguese music. If they found the music amusing, they used humor to criticize certain aspects of the artist´s outfit (if this was the case) song or way of singing. They liked my song “Aha sim Gato” (Aha, yes Tiger). I had sent the CD to the radio station three years prior and had even forgotten I had sent it. From that radio program people came to know that I exist!

- Of course you exist! You don’t need others to know you exist!

- Then I moved on to the next step! I was determined to form a band!

- Did you?

- I publicized ads, but it is always difficult to form a band this way. Things work better and faster when you have connections. I wanted to know what it was like to have a band! I wanted this so bad that I even rented a rehearsal room in a shopping center in the city. This center had been a commercial failure. The shops were not rented for stores or shops because it was difficult to attract visitors to it, possibly due to its poor location. The management started renting the spaces to bands that didn’t have a place to rehearse on a monthly basis. I rented one and started to clean it up.

- Was the space really dirty?

- It had previously been occupied by an accountant. The store’s glass windows were filled with stickers and there was a lot of trash on the floor including vinyl discs, a fax machine and other junk. The entire floor was stained, and looked like someone had spilled coffee on the floor and let it dry. I brought a bucket, detergent and a mop from home. I would go to the bathroom which was on the other side of the shopping center to fill the bucket with water and dump it out when it got dirty. As for the trash, as the space was on the third floor, I had to go down to the street to put it in the public trash bin. A man who owned the coffee shop at the entrance of the mall asked me to keep the fax machine.

- You did wrong by not keeping the vinyl discs. Today these are precious to collectors. Were there a lot of them?

- Yeah. Everything that was in the store I put in the trash. The only thing I kept was a bizarre marble statue about forty inches tall with a relief in gilt bronze. At home I washed it and looked closer at the relief and you won’t believe what I saw!

- I can imagine it must have been something of an erotic nature...

- Sometimes I’m distracted, you know? One day I bought a t -shirt at a market that had some phrases written on the back. At home I decided to read the sentences on the back of this T -shirt which I’d bought for only 1 euro. It was a one of a kind garment among other garments for sale. Do you know what it said?

- I want sex right now!

- Near the neck it said, “Mother of a crazy bitch!" In the middle it said, “Crazy bastard daughter!” And on the bottom right it said, “Live life crazy bitch!” 

- Life is a crazy bitch! Let´s party! What did you see in the relief of the statue?

- They were baby angels, all nude with wings and in their hands they had crowns of laurel leaves. It seemed like they were running after each other. It was clear that they were all male. One angel was a lot closer to another one…so close they appeared to be having anal sex because he was holding him by the hips and his pelvic area was protruding forward!

- What?!

- Yes, it´s true! I was in shock by that! Maybe that was the author's creative freedom…or maybe he intended to be shocking.

- Or maybe he was saying that innocence doesn’t exist…The underlying and implied messages in artistic things always irritate me! I like things that are what they are! I don’t like interpreting the same thing in a thousand different ways! If you weren’t able to form a band, what did you do with the rehearsal space?

- After 3 months I gave up the rehearsal space. I was almost obliged to do so! The manager of the shopping center called me and said, "You haven’t used the room. I saw you put a rug and chairs in the space. I was able to peek through the lower edge of the front window that was not entirely covered by the red golden paper you put on the storefront windows. The room looks good. The carpet is nice and the chairs are too, but the room has to be used. A television program, with a good audience is coming here to film and interview the bands that rehearse here. There are lots of bands looking for rehearsal rooms and that’s why I'm calling you: to ask you to sublet your space to a band or to give it up.” I had paid that month’s rent and there were still three weeks left until the end of the month yet the next day I mailed him the keys to the rehearsal space along with good wishes for him and for the future bands that would come to occupy my rehearsal room!

- You gave up forming the band pretty quick. You should have kept at it! You lost an opportunity to gain experience!

- Believe me, I tried to form a band but it was very complicated. There are a lot of mentally ill people around, trying to transmit their disease to others. Imagine that there was a guy who called me once because of my search band ad. He said that I must have been crazy and that my songs were not his type. It was almost 1 a.m. when he called me.

- Crazy why?

- He must have been high because his voice was dragged out when he spoke. I got sad and he said, “Look, don’t be like that! It’s all good! You have to get used to hearing criticism! People criticize my music all the time and I do the same to others, in this case: you! How many bands have you had? Do you have experience? I don’t think so, and you have to improve your songs!"

- What did you say to him?

- Nothing. But I felt that he was right about needing to improve my songs and so I got back in the studio and improved and recorded the exact same songs in the Portuguese project "Incenso" again. Then, I decided to make the Spanish version "Incienso" and because I was all excited about the creative process involved around making the songs I also made ​​29 songs in English. Before I knew it I had spent eight consecutive years doing studio recordings. Fifty five songs in all!

- I suppose recording songs in a studio is expensive, right?

- In fact it is a bit pricey...The hourly rate I pay the studio is almost half the price I pay to go to a doctor’s appointment! A single song takes hours to complete. In my case things were even worse because they were so many songs...I'd love to record more songs, but I have no money and I have a big debt at the studio.

- When you become famous you'll have cash to record as many songs as you want! Now focus on the completion of your book. You pay your studio debt on a monthly basis, right?

- Yes, and it’s going to be like this for the next twelve years. The musician was very understanding and always accepted my economic constraints although he was also subject to economic constraints with his own fixed personal expenses. There were also other artists in the studio whose payments were late and others who disappeared after the job was complete without paying. No one spent as much time as I did on recordings. The musician confided in me and I am eternally grateful to him. When I have money I'm going to offer him a vacation!

- While you’re at it, will you pay me a mini-vacation too, sweet Ninfa?

- Of course I will!

- What’s the story with the videos for British pop singer in chapter 3?

- I got the idea after my home stereo broke down. I was tired of waiting for it to be repaired and I started to write some song lyrics in English for that singer. The texts of the videos I made for him to know of my existence and the lyrics appear in chapter 3. Months later I noticed that he started to use his blog as the main vehicle of communication with his fans and there was a place where fans could show their appreciation for each message he posted on his blog. In the summer of 2011 I made a last attempt at letting him know that I exist. My posts are still on the blog!

- What did you say?

- Simple things...I desperately wanted something to happen in my life. I was sick of my emotional stress of not knowing what to do with my life when the recordings in the studio were over. I decided then to calm myself down by doing sports and meanwhile leaving some messages on the singer´s blog.

- What sport did you do?

- My sport was cutting down the entire bush near and around my parent’s home! Soon summer would arrive and in order to prevent fires, the bush had to be cut. I told my dad to leave it to me. I cleaned the entire bush alone. At first he did not believe I would do it, but I worked at it a little every day before going to the recording studio and on weekends and eventually everything was clean! Weeds, dead branches which had broken off by winter gales, scattered eucalyptus leaves, everything was a mess! Do you know what I had done two years before in this bush?

- You’re my favorite little angel! Had sex outdoors?

- You really like joking around with me! Two years before in that same bush I planted 100 trees. They were on sale at the supermarket in the shopping center where I write inside my car.

- You write where?!

- You heard me! Inside a car park in my car! I can’t write home alone stuck between four walls!

- You need to get a man! What a place! The noise from the cars parking, starting up and the CO2 don’t bother you?! You’re able to write in those circumstances?!

- The car park where I write has lateral openings and the CO2 dissipates. In regards to the noise from the cars, this parking has a lot of background music coming from the speakers: pop and rock! I bought the saddest looking trees; those that looked like they might die if they’d remain in those miniscule vases a few more days. Some seemed to yell, “Help!”

- My friend Ninfa, whose name in English means nymph! She hears trees screaming for help! Tree savior! In Greek mythology a nymph is a god of the mountains, forests, animals and water sources...In short: my favorite little angel!

- Yes I am! I cleaned the bush in July. While I was doing this, my thoughts wandered to my August holidays and I thought that if the British singer invited me to record some songs with him, I would be available! Crazy daydreams that don’t know the impossible exists!

- What messages did you leave on the British singer’s blog?

- I left my www.ninfa-artemis.com website and said that he’d find the videos I made for him there and I told him of my willingness to work with him. I promised him that I would only receive a fee for the songs if they became extremely successful. I also suggested that if he wanted to work with creative and original people, he should search for anonymous people like me because the important people he worked with would not bring anything new to his projects because they were already well known. I ended the message with a simple compliment to the good team, both technical and musical that accompanied him. In one of the posts I said that it would be easy for him to concentrate solely on work because I didn’t have large airbags (breasts) and was no Hollywood beauty, so it would be all work and no distractions.

- You're as funny and naïve as always...It is very difficult to draw the attention of famous people to us: the anonymous. I once saw a video on the internet that was filmed with a camera phone showing the fans of a famous singer when he went to give a lecture. The singer had to go through a corridor separated with a railing whose function was to physically separate the fans from him. When he was going down this hallway, a fan tried to stick a CD in his coat pocket, but he went on apace and she did not succeed. The CD fell without his even realizing that anything had happened because the security guard that was behind him immediately grabbed the CD from off the floor and returned it to the fan who refused to accept it insisting that it was for the singer. As you can see there are an infinite number of people bothering them with requests or wanting to revere them! The famous are merely mortals. Neither you nor anyone else needs them! You have to rely only on yourself! You are able to reach the top by yourself! You can do it!

- I had asked the musician from Los Angeles who mastered the songs I sung in English, which I had sent over the Internet to his studio, to revise the video texts I had dedicated to this British singer. At first he told me he was very busy, but I insisted, "Even if a group of aliens invades your studio, I insist you mastering these songs and find time to read the texts to correct any grammatical (or other) errors..." He did! And replied saying, "I, the king of aliens, will satisfy your desire and review the texts." When he returned the email with the said corrections he told me what you tell me sometimes: that my life would make a movie! I was thrilled! A musician from Los Angeles…from Hollywood saying that to me!

- Imagine what he would say if he knew your whole story! Have you gotten the copyrights to your songs?

- Of course! In Portugal and in the United States. Did you know that the translator of this book, who also revised some of my lyrics in English, is American (with Portuguese descent). She’s from New York and completed a master’s in English and has a BA in Theater. She moved to Portugal! Do you know how I met her?

- With you everything is always out of the ordinary. How did you meet her?

- I was looking for translators in language schools near the studio musician’s home town. I was looking for someone whose first language was English though what I really wanted was a native speaker from the United States. It was no easy task. At lunch time I contacted some of these schools. One of them reported that they indeed had teachers with English nationality but that I would only find them in the afternoon. There was another school I called but no one had answered. When calling back the school with the English teachers to confirm if I could go there that afternoon, I don’t know how but I redialed the phone number of the school that hadn’t answered at lunch time. The man who answered said he didn’t understand my question, but that there must have been some mistake because he only had one teacher whose mother tongue was English except she was American, a newcomer from New York! I replied, "Perfect! I’ll be right there!" Amazing, right? An American in Portugal, just like I’d dreamed!

- You’re full of luck and incredible things are always happening to you!

- Contacting this translator for this book was another incredible feat! The same night I arrived in Portugal from London, I sent her an email asking if she was available to translate an autobiographical book of mine. Days passed and I did not get any reply. After a while I sent her another email and the situation repeated itself: no reply! My tarot friend was also avoiding me. The musicians in London months before, after a simple misunderstanding, left. The second London band led me to want to run out the door of the rehearsal space and now...the translator who ignores me! I was cursing my life! "This is a nightmare! The people I met don’t exist. They’re all strange. It’s like aliens took hold of their bodies and sucked out their souls! The science fiction movies where these things happen are real! I am alone in this world! What did I do to deserve this treatment from these people?"

- Sweetie: not everyone who shits on us is damaging and not always do those who help us want the best for us! Do you know this story?

- No, I think I don´t. What´s it about?

- On a terrible winter day a bird was shivering, nearly dying, when a cow shat on it. At first, the bird was offended but then realized that hot dung kept him alive by keeping him warm. A passing cat saw him buried in dung and took him out. The bird thought the cat was being friendly by helping him clean the dung from his little body. In the end, the cat ate the bird!

- That’s an interesting story...

- The minute you see signs someone is not OK as person, watch out carefully!

- Yes, you’re right. Back to the translator story, I really needed one, so I decided to give it one last go and this time I called her parent’s house. Luckily six years ago I had saved her parent’s phone number when she’d called me from in the United States. I called that number. Her father answered and told me that his daughter was in Portugal and gave me her phone number. I sent her a text message asking once again if she was available for a translation. I was starting to feel bad about being so persistent. She replied saying that she’d already sent me an email confirming her availability. I never got the email. I even checked my junk mail folder and, nothing! Imagine if I hadn’t saved (after so many years) her parent’s number in the US. I would have simply thought that she’d refused to do the translation!

- Emails usually reach their destination, but problems do arise. It happens. Do you know what I’m eating now? Chocolate mousse! Tomorrow I have to stop by the gym to see if I can make all of this food disappear without a trace! I’m also having a taste of that anise liquor you sent me a few days ago! What’s that noise? Cats meowing and dogs barking?!

- I have four cats and four dogs at my parent’s farmhouse! When I eat anything, they always want a taste! The dogs pick on the cats...they want them out of the kitchen. The cats which are usually on top of the kitchen table try to claw into the dog’s noses if they try to get too close. Meanwhile if I get distracted, the cats try to steal the food from my plate…It’s almost impossible to eat in peace!

- You have a funny life!

- Continuing now with my adventures in music…At the same time that I was cleaning the bush of my parent’s farmhouse and writing in the British singer’s blog, I ordered more CDs. This time the CD would be a compilation of songs sung in English from my various albums and singles, to be sent to independent college radio stations throughout Europe, Australia, Canada and the U.S. In the U.S. I sent a CD to at least one radio in each state.

- Did anything come out of that?

- Those who confirmed they received the CD were very kind and gave me positive feedback, but nothing came out of this. Local artists have priority besides the fact that sometimes it’s difficult even for these to be promoted on such small radio stations with only a few listeners. To make things worse, some of these small radio stations require that the artist´s promotion be paid. I had already invested a lot of money on making CDs and on shipping them. Not to mention the money I owe the recording studio. Did you know that there are artists and bands that spend extra on putting their CDs in a striking, custom package accompanied by equally attractive flyers to stand out among the thousands of CDs that end up in a radio station? I had no more money and had to save.

- Aren’t there free online sites where you can submit music?

- If the online submissions are for contests/competitions or soundtracks to films, you pay a fee for each song that you submit. These opportunities abound in North American websites but are rarely free.

- Did you submit any songs?

- Yes, but even those who win 1st prize in these contests/competitions remain anonymous to the general public. For submissions of songs to be part of the film soundtrack, you never know exactly how the jury evaluates the submissions and if those who claim to have connections with the music supervisors of the film actually do. That jury is pointless since the final decision is made by the music supervisor. Many members of these online juries are musicians. They make requests that go something like: "Music in the X genre similar to the singer/band Y and like their songs Z1 , Z2 , Z3... and sometimes indicate what the lyrics should contain."

- Why don’t they go directly to the artist/band that they’re looking for?

- Because it is much more expensive! These are influential bands and famous artists! Many films have a limited budget. An anonymous artist is almost free for them! Musicians who can record music, by their own at their home studio with some quality, can intentionally, in a very quick and cheap way, no expenses with hiring musicians and paying recordings sessions, create a song with the features requested and submit it for consideration. Unfortunately that was not my case. I had to confine myself to the songs that I had recorded. One criticism that I received sometimes was in reference to my diction, on another occasion they’d say that my lyrics were not what they were looking for, on another the problem was the genre of music and I started thinking: "Since the majority of the jury members are musicians, they should just make what they’re looking for themselves!" Do you know what they said about lyrics to a song I submitted for a commercial which they say involved children, family and unconditional love?

- I'm curious...What did they say?

- I thought my song "Love" could perhaps be appropriate in this case. The criticism? The diction complicates the comprehension of words! I struggled so much to improve my diction in English in all my songs by listening to my lyrics on online automatic translators with audio and by watching American films...but it was not enough! They also said that the genre was not appropriate and that the lyrics were selfish!

- Did they reveal the song they selected among the various submissions?

- They never did. On another note, have you been to my website yet?

- Of course! Your website looks really good! You made it yourself, right?

- Yes. The studio musician said my website was too hippie and showed me a good example of a music site: his son’s. His son was in college, but was also a musician and had a metal rock band. On the site his son had a video about recording a song in his dad’s studio, a video with extracts from live performances and there were also links with garish colors to other websites and even links to good reviews that they received from a radio station or music magazine.

- I found out that your blood type is O Rh positive! It is on the bottom corner of your site!

- I got tired of putting it on music websites as part of my biography: "My name is Ninfa Artemis. I am the author of all the lyrics and music I perform. My blood group is O Rh positive.” The norm is a biography which states the musical experience of the artist at hand, mentioning names of bands/artists with whom they identify with musically and advertising their upcoming performances, among other things.

-Can I ask you a question? It has nothing to do with what we are talking about now and I wanted to ask you a while ago when you were telling about your hypnotism session in Brazil…Why? Did you want to be hypnotized to transform into a different person? Eliminate traumas? Mental blocks? Why?

- Honestly? For all those reasons! Although I’m grateful for all the traumas, mental blocks, idiocies and stupidities I’ve experienced and just a small part of these will be revealed in the book, and however painful they may have been, they made me persist and persevere. Maybe I needed to find people who were not always kind but it was that kind of person that most forced me to change the course of my life.

- We make our destiny in our head, right sweetie? I think I'm going to get another mousse: pineapple! Remember our dinners in Portugal, when you used to tell me all about the famous singer and I used to share the spicy adventures of my love life?

- Of course I remember! Chapter 4! You and your phenomenal adventures!

- I love myself and this makes me a self-confident and irresistible person!

- Yes it does! I didn’t ask before...How are you doing over there?

- Great! You know how I am: nothing like you...I don’t suffer over things or people. If something’s not good, I throw it out! Why suffer? I'm not an artist and creative inspiration through pain is of no use in me. It would just annoy me.

- Oh! I forgot to tell you a few things I left out! Is about chapter 4! Several months after breaking up with singer from that chapter, I sent the record label that represents him the lyrics to my Portuguese project "Incenso". They said they would contact me soon, but never did. They fell through on their promise.

- Did you ever find out why?

- No. I’m glad they didn’t contact me because otherwise I wouldn’t have had the freedom to do what I wanted! So many songs! In English and Spanish! I outdid the singer! The record label no longer has headquarters in Portugal and the crisis in album sales is so severe that many of them have closed their offices! I’m glad I didn’t sign with the record label. This way I keep all my rights, manage my career according to what I want and go in the direction that I want. I have unlimited freedom and power over myself!

- I totally agree with you! On another subject…do you know that a few days ago I found myself laughing alone on the street as I was coming home from work? I remembered something you told me years ago…

- What?

- I remember you telling me that a colleague from work asked you if there was anything that could be added to water to hypnotize her husband and make him talk while he slept...You went into shock and told her that you were not familiar with anything of the like…Later, she told you that someone had told her that if she put her pinky finger in his mouth while sleeping he would answer all her questions! Did she do this?

- I don’t know...She was a very strange and suspicious person...She must have thought that her husband had a lover. She no longer works with me. She quit! She said that she didn’t need to work, let alone in a boring job...that her husband was a successful businessman and that he had plenty of money! He spent a lot of time at work in his company, but she was constantly travelling, at his expense to luxurious and paradisiacal sites. He didn´t mind as she was happy travelling. But she was an ungrateful woman and spent her time bickering with him because of her idiocies! Here's an example: Once, she asked him if he saw a small indelible mark on her face. He said he only saw perfect skin. She asked several other people (including me) the same question. We all replied that her skin was flawless! She insisted she had a mark on her face and had barely reached the house when she began to argue with her husband saying she was surrounded by liars because she clearly saw a mark! At dinner she abruptly stopped eating and said that she needed to go and buy a super expensive, high-quality cream she’d seen on sale in a cosmetics store in a major shopping center. Fueled by her obsession, she ran out the door to buy the cream while her family continued their meal! She told me the story the following day and insisted that the cream was actually making the stain of her face disappear!

- You make me laugh!

- Do you wanna laugh a while longer? Did you know that at the time I was exchanging correspondence with the singer if I saw shampoos on sale, I would buy them? They were 50% cheaper than their retail price. Because I have long hair, I use a lot of shampoo. I decided to save money and take advantage of these sales. I was so excited that by the time I realized it I had bought one hundred 500ml shampoos in one month. I thought to myself, “This shampoo is going to last 50 months...in other words: four years and two months! Will I have a fabulous life by that point? Magical? Phenomenal? I bet it will!” What an idea! After having finished those 100 shampoos years later, look where I am…here: in the middle of nothing…the emptiness!

- You think you're in the middle of "nothing"? I think you’re feeling very lonely, that’s all. You’re writing a book! That’s amazing! Don´t you get it? A book is as powerful as a song or more! A song influences a moment. A book influences a life. A song lasts a few minutes and penetrates the mind. A book lasts centuries and penetrates deep into the soul. A song generates emotions with its ability to brighten the spirit. A book generates roots which embed themselves in attitudes towards life. A song has power, but a book has super powers!

- Cheers! Nice! There's a poet in you!

- You're on a good path. Try to keep calm and try to get a man as soon as you can. A good, sensitive, friendly, confident and strong guy who can support you through life: in good and bad times. Are you finally going to tell me what happened to you in London? But first I want to give you some advice. Listen carefully to what I’m going to say: The singer from chapter 4 left the spotlight a long time ago. His international “contacts” weren’t able to save him from being forgotten. He’s around somewhere. The musicians from London are living their lives...No one knows that they exist. All these people underestimated you and it’s a good thing they did because you don’t need people like that around you. They only bring bad luck. Meanwhile I want you to make sure you’re not so naive when dealing with people. Don’t let people into your soul...not even if you’re faced with a thousand sharp swords. If you are in a leadership position you have to be strong. Smile when faced with adversity so that people see you as strong and respect you. If you are going be a part of the music world you have to understand that it’s a man’s world. Don’t let them see through you. Never! It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are - good or bad, if you can handle it or not… Be strong and watch out for who you trust!

- I don’t wish bad things for them...I saw that the life of a musician is not easy...

- Sweetie, you can’t forgive what they did to you. Besides that, whose life is easy? Even the rich have worries like how to stop the boredom or how to run from false friends!

- I never told you that I had a dream a few days after having broken up with the singer from chapter 4. It was a strange dream about a change in my life through the death of everything that I had known beforehand and involved a long wait for a new life. I was in a graveyard...

 - Are you going to tell me about a dream where you were sleepwalking through a cemetery dressed all gothic looking pale with your long black hair down and red painted lips?

- Where did that idea come from?

- I don´t know...It just came up! Can I ask you for a favor? Just read me one more poem that you excluded from chapter 5. A super strange and sensual one. Before the graveyard story!

- I already regret having deleted the stranger poems! Let me flip through the poems. Listen to this one: "I had no underwear on when I put on my jeans and fastened the zipper. Something of mine got stuck in the metal clasp. It hurt like hell. I groaned and then said several curse words. You were in the bathroom shaving. I approached you in my jeans, my ass protruding. You tapped me on the bum!"

- And?

- That’s it...The poem is over!

- It reminds of the poem with the parrots that landed on the hood of your car! The strangeness is in how the poems end! You have to continue them! It could go something like, “You tapped me on the bum. You stopped shaving. You looked at me hungrily. I undid my zipper and you were late to work!”

- While you’re at it, you could have gone on to say, “You were late to work. Your boss asked you why you were late. You said, “Sex!” He replied, “You’re joking!” It was the traffic in this hellish city, right?”

- The poem doesn’t end there...Then it goes, “Wake up, have sex, shower and deal with you, boss!”

- The boss replies, “I’m not in the mood for your games today! I’m going to cut your pay because you were late and you’re going to have to work longer hours!”

- He replies, “Boss, go fuck yourself. I quit!” Now tell me about your graveyard dream…

- In my dream I saw a figure that I knew was me, but I couldn’t see its face because it wasn’t facing me. It wore a long black overcoat down to its feet. I was in a dark corner behind it. I couldn’t see my body. It was so dark. The sky was in total darkness and below it was an utterly destroyed ghost town. There were no people, no vegetation, no plants, or animals in sight. Day didn’t exist. It was the absence of life under a black sky that absorbed all the light. The figure seemed to be the only living there and seemed to know it because it observed the city, which looked like a cemetery, motionless. The city was full of cathedral domes that rose from the depths of the abyss to eye level. The city was rising from the black fog that surrounded the walls of these cathedrals leaving only the stained white and gray domes visible. These domes emanated light, making them visible and possible for me to see the figure in front of me who contemplated everything quietly. That figure…the only living being present there. For years I've wondered why that figure remained motionless! It didn’t seem to be afraid. Only recently did I realize why it was so still and contemplative in that apocalyptic scenario! Patience and faith! Get it?

- Amen! Or maybe that figure was just waiting for you to arrive in London! Tell me the story about the ads in London...

- Like I told you a while ago, in September 2010 when I drove to the recording studio and asked myself what I was going to do when the songs were finished a voice whispered "London"! Since that moment, I said, almost on a daily basis at the musician's recording studio, that I would perform in London. He always thought it was a daydream of mine, but in 2012 I asked him what I should include in my ad...He’d always try to disregard the idea and said, "It depends…"

- On what?

- That's what I asked him. Again, he would say, "It depends...each case is unique." I gave up on his guidance and I went online to search websites in the UK that would allow ads seeking musicians and ended up using the website that appeared at the top of the list of various searches related to my keywords.

- How many people responded to your ad?

- I placed the ad in April and after about a month, no one had replied. I figured that there must have been some problem in the way I worded my situation in the advertisement. I was searching for a fully formed band who would not mind (aside from playing their own songs) learning some of mine and playing live with me. I even said that I wouldn’t mind it if they played some of their own songs at my shows, but no one answered. Then, the studio musician suggested I forget the idea of a live band and simply use the instrumental recorded version because it would only involve singing over the recording. But in my search for "live music" venues in London I discovered that they don’t allow this. The word "live" is taken literally. I knew there were agencies with professional musicians in London whose services I could hire, but their fee was high for my economic possibilities.