Wanna Work at Tootsie's?

“Wanna Work at Tootsie’s?”

How many people have said this phrase: “I accidentally got a job.”

Last month, I celebrated my birthday in Nashville with some of my best girlfriends. Nashville is one of my favorite places in the world and whenever I visit, I have to hit all my favorite spots, including Tootsies Orchid Lounge. It is the definition of old school Nashville country and everyone from Willie Nelson to Patsy Cline used to hang out there. Iconic.

My girls and I were hanging out, when they realized it was Open Mic night and of course, they sign me up. Let me just say, the band was amazing. They knew pretty much every single song and they played those songs like they’ve been playing them since birth. The girl before me sang a medley of country songs and the band went with it like they’d been playing with her for years. They were that good!

After she finished, the man and woman in the sound booth started critiquing her and giving her feedback. It was a little weird and felt like American Idol all over again. That probably should have been my first clue, but even when she said she had just moved to Nashville, it didn’t occur to me she might actually be auditioning for an actual job.

Next, it was my turn. I was so unprepared, I didn’t even have a song in mind. So, when my friends told the band to play “Strawberry Wine”, I just pulled up the lyrics on my phone. But the lady in the booth wasn’t having that and started yelling at me to put the phone down!

I didn’t see what the big deal was, after all, it was just an open mic, but I put the phone down anyway. Then, the guy in the booth says, “We want you to sing Martina McBride. What Martina McBride do you know?” I sang “Broken Wing” for American Idol, so I decided to go with that.

So, sometimes, when I’m performing, I kind of black out, so to speak. I mean, I’m still conscious, but not always completely aware of what’s going on around me. According to my friends, the next few minutes played out like a Lifetime movie. The people in the booth started hugging each other and pointing to me, telling the owner, “That’s our girl!” Meanwhile, I walked off the stage completely clueless and was blindsided when someone asked, “When can you start?” Start? Start what?

Apparently, “Open Mic Night” is some sort of music industry insider code for “audition for a job singing at our bar”. And here I was thinking I was just hanging out and celebrating my birthday with my friends!

Caroline Kraddick Job at Tootsies Nashville

And that’s how I accidentally got a job singing at Tootsie’s!



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