“Good evening lovely people!” Charlie shouted as the audience cheered as loud as they possibly could.
“How are you all doing? To start us off I’d just like to say thank you for your never-ending support. Here’s a song I wrote when I was a mere beggar in the streets. Without you, I wouldn’t be here today.”
The audience cheered even louder. The energy was amazing and everyone was excited. Charlie sang a song titled Paradise. He finished off saying that he wrote the song while he was a beggar years ago. It was a manifestation of the life that he hoped to live one day.
You see, Charlie had come from far. His life had not always been a bed of roses. Anyone who heard of his story would admire just how much he had worked to get where he was today. He was just about to sign a contract with the Universal Music Group, and his life served as an inspiration to very many people out there.
Charlie’s father passed away when he was just two months old. He had drowned accidentally in the river. Once his father died, Charlie’s paternal family chased him and his mother away claiming that his mother was responsible for the death.
The problem was that Charlie’s mother had nothing to her name. With no option left, she carried her few belongings and went to the market to beg the people on the streets. At the time Charlie was still very young and she needed to eat more to produce enough breast milk for the infant. When she was lucky, passers-by would drop enough money for her to survive through two days. At night they stayed in a small makeshift structure within the market. One of the sellers allowed her to stay in her shack when night came provided she paid a fee of 300 shillings per month. So each month she hoped against hope that she would make enough, and surprisingly it worked.
Charlie and his mother lived this kind of life for years. A few years later she had invested some of the little money that she got and started a small business where she sold tomatoes. This enabled her to make enough money to comfortably pay the monthly rent.
When he was about four years old, Charlie’s mother noticed that he had a strong inclination to music. Among the things that she had carried from her husband’s home was an adeudeu which was a musical instrument that produced beautiful sound. Charlie had tried to use it and was making progress day after day. He would sing along to the songs on the radio and even try to learn the lyrics. She realised that his voice was also exceptionally strong. So she decided not to let this talent go to waste. Charlie started to play the instruments on the street and some good Samaritans would drop a few coins for him.
Things seemed to be going great. They had enough money to put food on the table every day and luckily they had a shelter to stay in. They were grateful. When Charlie was 8 he composed the song Paradise. He was thankful for the little that they had. He had imagined a perfect life where they had a comfortable place to rest and a compound to play. He imagined himself in school learning how to read and write. In his song paradise was a very simple concept and he prayed they would get there one day.
One afternoon, however, Charlie’s mother felt a sharp pain in her chest. She experienced anxiety that was out of the norm and within no time she was struggling to breathe.
“Help us! Help! Someone, anyone!” Charlie screamed, and a few people started to run towards him.
“What’s happening?” A man asked.
“I don’t…I don’t know,” Charlie said, his voice now starting to sound raspy.
Suddenly a car stopped right next to her.
“What’s the problem?” a man asked. The car had three other people inside.
“She’s struggling to breathe. She needs to see a doctor,” someone responded.
They carried her into the car and since they couldn’t all fit Charlie had to be left behind.
He sat in a corner waiting anxiously for someone to come back and give him feedback. The rains started pouring, but Charlie remained in the same spot. He didn’t even realise that it was raining.
Three hours had passed by the time by the time the car that had gone with his mother came back. He started to run in that direction.
“Where is she? How is she doing? Can I go and see her?” He asked as soon as the car stopped.
A lady came out of the car and walked in the rain towards him. Charlie could see that she was crying and he didn’t understand why. She went closer to him and hugged him tightly.
“I don’t know if you remember me. My name is Lydia…I’m so sorry.” She said.
“Sorry? About what? It’s okay I can get to the hospital by myself don’t worry…”
“She… she didn’t make it.”
“What do you mean? Where is she? Where is my mother?”
Eventually, she broke the news to him. His mother was unconscious when they were taking her to the hospital and she was not breathing by the time they got to the hospital. The hospital tried to help her but she died. The doctor said it was a heart attack. Lydia insisted that Charlie entered the car with her. She said that she was going to take him somewhere safe where he could process the news.
Charlie carried his few belongings and entered the car. After all, he had nothing left to lose. The lady was accompanied by two other men. Thirty minutes later they drove into a huge compound with a bungalow. He found out that the people in the car were a family. They gave him food to eat and a place to rest. He was trying to process what had happened. He could not sleep and he hardly ate the food that had been placed before him. He turned to music. He took out his adeudeu and started to play in the middle of the night. He sang the song he had composed as a way of consoling himself, but then again he wondered if he would ever get to paradise. What good was it without his mother?
“What song is that?” He turned to find Lydia at the job.
“It’s a song I wrote called Paradise, but it doesn’t have much meaning anymore,” he responded.
“Your voice is out of this world. Did anyone ever tell you that?” She asked, and he nodded in response.
They managed to give Charlie’s mother a decent burial at a public cemetery a few days later. Once they were done they drove back to the house, and Charlie wondered what their plan was with him. He wondered if they would eventually let him go back to the streets.
“Charlie, please have a seat,” the man said. His name was Tom.
“We want to take you to school. You should get an education so that you can get a proper job,” he said.
“I…I have always wanted to go to school,” he responded.
Charlie eventually joined a nearby school and began his studies. It was a high-end school, compared to the others in the area. He initially wondered how he would fit in. He was way behind his agemates by the time he started school. But that didn’t stop him. He worked hard and passed all his tests.
He joined the school choir and became the leader of the group. One day, when he was in his final year, a music group came to visit the school. Charlie was asked to do a solo performance. He impressed the entire audience and earned himself a standing ovation. At the end of it all, he was asked to go to the headmaster’s office immediately. He thought that he was in trouble, but little did he know that he was going to receive the best news of his life.
He knocked on the door anxious and agitated.
“Hello Sir,” he said.
“Hello. Say hello to our visitors and have a seat,” the headmaster responded.
After greeting the visitors’ Charlie sat down. The headmaster looked at Charlie.
“They have an offer for you. They would like to train you on how to sing and help you to grow musically.” He said.
Charlie stood there and tears started rolling down his eyes. He cried out loud and they didn’t understand why. Finally, he gathered enough courage to be able to respond.
“Yes I would love to, but I can’t leave my family.” He said.
“That shouldn’t be a problem. We will pay for your transport back home every two weeks. You can join a university closer to town and continue with your studies.”
Charlie took a lot of time before making a decision. He discussed it with his family. They had adopted him and he just didn’t see how he could leave them. Eventually, they convinced him to take up the offer, and he did.
Slowly by slowly, Charlie’s reputation grew. He started by performing as a backup artist and eventually, he joined the group. They trained him as he continued his studies at the University. The group eventually broke up and he knew that he had to start his own thing, but the good thing was that he already had an audience.
One thing led to another and before he knew it, Charlie had a worldwide audience. He was making millions from his music and his concerts. Everyone knew his name and many people loved his music. His story was an inspiration to many. However, he could not forget his family that took him in when he had nothing. He attributed all of his success to them. If they hadn’t cared about him he would probably still be on the streets begging.
“As I finish off Nairobi, I have a big announcement,” Charlie said at the end of his performance.
“I will be joining the Universal Music Group for my next productions. I’m thankful for this great opportunity and excited to begin this great journey. Thank you to every one of you and most especially thank you to Tom, Lydia and the rest of the family.”
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