Back in my NYC days, in the mid 1990s, I answered an ad in Backstage in which a songwriter was looking for a singer for a demo recording. There was no pay, but the singer would get a copy of the demo and a credit on the recording. I thought, Why not? I'll meet people, get my name out there, and get a demo tape out of it. What a great stepping stone moment. This will be great! I called, got the address and time for my audition, and showed up on the appointed day with my instrument warmed up and ready to go.
The songwriter was a gay man in his mid to late thirties. I was a gay man in my early to mid twenties. I was also a gay man in his black vinyl pants that left little to the imagination. I thought I had the gig in the bag the minute I walked through the door. Still, the songwriter asked me to sing his song. A mere formality, I was sure. He played it through once on the piano, while explaining that it was a theatrical number that had pop crossover potential in the vein of Sondheim, Gershwin, or Alice in Chains. I assured him that I understood what he wanted and we took it from the top.
When I finished singing the songwriter paused, looked me up and down, and then said, "I'm sorry, but I don't think you're right for this. But you know what you should do? You remind me of a male Sandra Bernhard. You could be her little brother. You should sing back-up for her."
Funny. That job never showed up on my 8th grade career assessment test.
"I'll get right on that. Thank you for your time," I said and left.