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Friday, February 29, 2008

EXCERPT: Double Platinum

Double Platinum
By Shelia M. Goss

To the world, R&B mega star Parris Mitchell has itall: fame, money, jewelry and several gold and platinum records to go along with it. But now, with her singing career declining, she struggles with depression. Her last few albums were disappointments not only to her record label because of low sales, but to her devoted fans.

Casper Johnson is one of the hottest and most soughtafter producers in the music industry. All of themedia attention has garnered "The Hit Maker" a playboy image. He's getting tired of the same old sound andhe's looking for the right voice to help take his career to the next level. Parris agrees to give Caspera chance to revive her career. When they get together, their working relationship quickly crosses the line and their drama from groupies and people from their past becomes the source of plenty of print for the paparazzi.

Website address - http://www.sheliagoss.com/

Chapter 1


“Parris, I hate to tell you this, but Archie has depleted almost all of your accounts,” Mark Beckham, my accountant, informed me nearly two years ago.

That was the peak of my personal and professional downward spiral. The media had a field day with the news of my loss. At thirty-two, I had been singing professionally since I was twenty-one and I had an on again off again love affair with the media. One day they loved you and the next, you’re thrown to the wolves.

I’ve been able to hide from the media I’m battling with depression. The tabloids would have a field day if they knew Parris Mitchell, media proclaimed R & B Diva, took anti-depressants. At first it was difficult dealing with Archie Walker, my ex-boyfriend and ex-manager, running away with my assistant Sylvia and my money.

Fortunately Archie didn’t have access to all of my accounts or I would be flat broke. During the time we were together, I trusted him and I allowed him access to not only my accounts, but my heart. After he left, I felt depleted in more ways than one. The authorities haven’t been able to locate him or his partner in crime.

Archie wasn’t all that cute, but it was something about him that drew me to him. With an average height and build, he never stepped out of the house without being immaculate dressed. Silly me, I ignored the rumors of him creeping with some of my backup dancers. I confronted him on numerous occasions about the rumors, but each time he convinced me that people were jealous of my success and our relationship.

He tried to pressure me to marry him on many occasions, but I declined due to my hectic touring schedule. Looking back on it, marriage to Archie never crossed my mind. I was content with the way things were. The tension between us grew with each turned down proposal. If he wasn’t my manager, I probably would have ended the relationship sooner and I wouldn’t be going through all of this now.

I found out in the newspaper of Archie and Sylvia’s marital bliss. Losing Archie hurt, but I was beyond shock to learn that the normally shy conservatively dressed Sylvia and Archie knew each other and had been playing me all along.

The last year of our relationship was some of the best months of sex I had ever experienced. Archie tried some things on me that I never knew existed. I was vulnerable and naïve. He could have asked me to sign over the rights to all of my songs and I would have. Instead he asked if I would give him full control over my accounts. Mark privately confronted me with his concerns. When a man was throwing it on you in the bedroom like Archie, you lose all sense of reasoning. I agreed to remove the two-signature clause from some of my accounts and things started going down hill.

I wish I would have never fired my first manager. Dexter Ringo believed in me from the moment he saw me perform in a high school musical. He kept in contact with me throughout my college years and he gave me my first shot at stardom. I wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t taken a chance and convinced me to move to Los Angeles a day after I graduated from college. He knew the ins and outs of the record industry and promised to make me a star. He did that and so much more. I owe him a lot. One day I plan to make it up to him.

Archie had me under his spell and I began believing the lies he whispered in my ear about Dexter. I fell for the lies and fired Dexter. Dexter was devastated not because of the money, but because to use his own words, “He’s a smooth operator, a snake in disguise. I hope he doesn’t end up hurting you.” His comments infuriated me and I vowed not to talk to Dexter again. A decision I regretted.

I did my best to ignore the critics, but it’s been difficult. After I fired Dexter, I only had one more hit CD. The critics have torn my last couple of albums to pieces. It wouldn’t have hurt so much if my fans didn’t agree. I cried when I read their messages on my website. Only my diehard fans have stood by me. To that I’m grateful, but I feel I failed them all by putting out mediocre stuff. Maybe for a new artist, it would have been good; but for me, my fans expected so much more.

“Parris, you have one more album left to meet your obligation; but I must warn you. If your next release doesn’t do well, we won’t be renewing your contract,” Nathan Rashid, the vice-president over the urban music division, stated over the phone a few days before I found out about Archie’s antics.

“What?” I asked confused. “I’ve been with you guys since I started singing. If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t be….”

Carmen interrupted, “Nathan, Parris will do her part. You just do yours.”

In less than a week, my whole world as I knew it began to crumble around me. First the record company and then the abandonment I felt when I came home one day to find all of Archie’s stuff gone. I was frantic and only my mother and Carmen could calm me down. Carmen was on the first plane back to Los Angeles as soon as she heard what happened.

I retreated into a shell, but with her help, I’ve been able to get my life back together. I agreed to let Carmen handle my business affairs. After the authorities tried tracking down Archie and Sylvia, but to no prevail, Carmen convinced me that I should not allow it to take over my life.

I listened and tried, but failed at first. It’s taken me two years to get past the anger, the hurt, disappointment and embarrassment of the whole situation. I think I’m finally ready to get some order back in my life. I’m a spiritual person and at first I didn’t want to take anti-depressants. After a few months of going back and forth with my doctor about it, the realization that God wouldn’t have given doctors the power of healing if it wasn’t meant to help me, I succumbed and admit it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Although I’m not completely off them yet, the dosage had been reduced.

As I sat on my couch reminiscing about my life and thumbing through the latest issue of Noir magazine, I realized I was ready to face the music. It’s time for me to get back out there and do what I was born to do—sing. There’s one more CD under my contract and I refused to fail the record company, my fans and most importantly, I couldn’t fail myself.

1 comment:

Vanessa A. Johnson said...

Congratulations, Shelia. One book to add to my growing list of Goss books.

Love & Peace,

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