My graphic designer, Cricket, and I were lounging around the office — me on my teal sofa, Cricket on the orange, mid-century womb chair—-lamenting the fact that it’s so hard for performers to make money on their music alone these days, when all of a sudden the telephone rang. It was my manager, calling to tell me that a radio station had added my Hanukkah single to their holiday playlist.
- Incidentally, you can download my song from iTunes for .99 cents. Just saying.
“Yay!” I said, sharing the news instantly with Cricket.
“Yay, indeed!” she echoed, both of us temporarily uplifted from our gloom.
It was a short-lived happiness because we were forced back to our dilemma as the clock ticked on. “What else can a singer do to earn an income?” I wondered aloud.
I was deep in thought when my phone bleeped. It was a text message from my BFF, Tabitha, letting me know that she was free that night to join me for drinks.
“Yay!” I said, sharing the news with Cricket.
“Yay, indeed,” she echoed, nodding her head in agreement. “Drinks are always uplifting.”
“What about some kind of product line?” I said, thinking about all the T-shirts I’d gotten over the years at various concerts.
“I think we should discuss it over coffee,” Cricket said.
I agreed so we went downstairs to our favorite cafe.
Cricket and I have been going to this particular cafe together to brainstorm for ages, and I wouldn’t consider going anywhere else even though they don’t have soy milk, which I greatly prefer in my coffee to the half-and-half or skim they always serve.
“Guess what, Isabel?” the barista shouted the moment Cricket and I waltzed in (that’s how often we go there. They know me by name, which is rare in New York). “We finally got you your soy milk!”
What were the chances!
“Oh, yay!” I said, clapping in glee.
“I’ll say, yay!” Cricket said, smirking slightly since she simply isn’t one to clap in glee. A smirk really is the closest she can come.
I ordered our coffees while Cricket grabbed a table. She had a very serious look on her face when I sat down with my soy latte and handed her her double espresso.
“We’ll figure it out,” I said, people-pleaser that I am. “If no one is buying music any more–”
“–unless your name is Taylor Swift,” Cricket said.
“Yes, unless your name is Taylor Swift,” I said.
“Or Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett.” Cricket added.
“Or Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett,” I agreed.
“Or Barbra Streisand–”
“Cricket!” I said. “If people aren’t buying masses of music, we’ll have to sell something in addition that spreads the same message as the music.”
Cricket took a sip of coffee, her eyes cast downwards at the tabletop. Then she looked up.
“Yay,” Cricket said gravely.
“No need to be a Debbie Downer,” I said. “I don’t think it will be that hard. We could start with something small, like a pen.”
“No, Yay,” Cricket repeated, even more gravely.
“Yay,” she said. “You say ‘yay!’ 18 times a day. All your music says ‘Yay!’.” If anyone embodies the expression ‘yay,’ it’s you.
“Yay,” I smiled.
“Why not create a “yay” line using the same ’60s palette we’ve been using on all your other visuals?”
I was so excited, I spilled my coffee. Cricket lifted up the dripping mug, while I wiped off the table.
“Look at this mug,” Cricket said, holding it at eye level. “Plain white. Doesn’t say a thing. Now imagine if it was some fabulous commotion of colors that represents your energy, and the energy of the era you love.”
I love when Cricket gets esoteric. I said to her, “Oh, go on…”
But Cricket didn’t go on at all. She tossed back her espresso as if it were a shot of tequila and headed for the door. “We’ve got work to do!” she said over her shoulder.
And so… ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et messieurs… Without further ado… Presenting my new YAY line. We’re starting small. Click here to see the C.Z. Guest, the Edie Sedgwick, the Slim Keith, the Nan Kempner and the Babe Paley. Coming soon: the Dick Cavet, the Dick Van Dyke and the Dick Clark.
Pairs perfectly with my album.