Written by NZINGHA for ZFACEINC,nyc
Ahhh to be on a concert tour!!! Honestly there’s no other high like that in the world. The exhilaration of working on the road on what is one of the hottest acts in music or musicals is one you simply can’t duplicate! Once you’ve been bitten by the travel bug you see no reason to simply be stagnant in one place. Or at least I never did.
Those who have never worked on a tour or simply on consistently different locations be it for a Film, TV, Broadway or Concert tour will never understand the mind or lifestyle of a “roadie”.
My very first music your in 1993 was with none other than Janet Jackson on the tour simply titled “janet”. On that tour is where I truly got my feet wet in the upper echelon of the music industry. I was working with music business royalty! This is where my makeup game was put into full gear and and I had to learn quick, put up, shut up or pack up and go home.
On the road/tour the cast and crew become your family away from your blood family. You work, eat, sleep, travel and have down time with all of these people who at one time you never even knew! Now you all are one, there to help create the bigger picture which is to help entertain millions of people all across the globe!! Who knew my gift for makeup would have me in this position?! I never even saw it coming. And I had to be EXCELLENT in every capacity, it was expected of me and I wanted to give 200%!!
I met and worked with some of the biggest names in music entertainment. I worked side by side with my friend Kevyn Aucoin, lived beyond my wildest dreams and doing my passion…MAKEUP!!
Little did I know wasn’t just about me having fun all over the world and making people pretty. I was about to learn what being on a big ticket music tour really entailed (thank goodness I did have some legal knowledge because of my time in college with my minor being law, I knew somewhat about contractual law);
1) Contract negotiations, negotiating per diems, etc.
2) Confidentiality agreements.
3) Learning Tour Etiquette.
4) Preparing a huge Makeup Kit that would last me for at least 6months out of my years contract.
5) Working within a set budget
designed for the Makeup Department.
6) All the makeup to be done for rehearsals and full costume rehearsals, videos, photo shoots, tour books, CD packaging, magazines, on air interviews live in studio, any and all live appearances and more.
7) Leaving home and never being home.
8) Living out of a suitcase for about a year and a half.
9) Living on planes, private jets, tour buses and in hotels.
10) Learning to live on a set budget for myself on tour and once the tour was over until my next gig.
Here’s a clip shot by MTV (who’s hosts Bill Bellamy at that time followed us everywhere we went on tour) for the New Years Special at Madison Square Harden in New York.This was part of the finale with the song “IF”.
After this whirlwind tour with Lady Janet ;who knew the next tour and client that would be ringing the phone was going to be none other than The Queen of Hip Hop R&B Lady Mary J. Blige! Mary’s and my first photo shoot together was for the cover of the Source Magazine. I remember her saying to me after seeing her makeup fully done for the shoot “What’s your name again? Mmm I ain’t $&@#*£! Wit nobody but you and Sam!” The very next day I got a phone call requesting my services for the next 3months for Mary’s Promo Tour of “My Life”.
Wished GLAMCOR Illumination Makeup Studio was around when I was on some of my promo tours with Mary, Lil’ Kim, Tweet, Brownstone, Angie Stone, Faith Evans and a few other Ladies. Those GLAMCOR Classic Light Kit and studio makeup cases would’ve been perfect for those 3-6month promo tours!
Here’s a clip from our first European tour for the CD “My Life” on the the popular UK TV Show WORD! Mary sitting next to Simon LeBon and the band Duran Duran (who I was a fan of and loved their music).
We stopped in Washington, DC where the BET studios used to be on the Donnie Simpson video show. Mary was so shy around Donnie (cause honey he was hot with those big ol green eyes staring at you). All the Ladies loved Donnie.
In closing up this post all I can say is this if you’re going to go out on a tour just be prepared. Learn how to pack your personal cases and your Pro Makeup Kits be they small cases or large trunks learn how to organize. Learn from seasoned people in the industry about all that a tour entails and just what your role is as part of The Glam Squad.
In parting I wish you “Love, Peace and more Hair Grease, Paint On viZionaire!”