The Hall & Oates Song That Paid My Rent When I Was Broke

Today’s Hall & Oates song is special to me because once upon a time I ended up making a bit of money from it. A friend of mine always told me that to really make it as a broadcaster (and probably as a man as well) I would have to risk everything I had, go off overseas and one day find myself walking down the street not knowing how I was going to pay the rent. As much as a love travelling, the having no money aspect of the challenge seemed a little less fun.

October, 2010, I’d been travelling for 6 months and the job hunt in Canada was proving a fraction tricky. So tricky, indeed, that I’d swallowed my pride and given myself a spectacular lesson in humility in working at HMV’s megastore in downtown Vancouver. It’s a month in my life I don’t dwell on too much and I’d like to say it paid the bills, but that overstates what the few remaining music stores on this planet pay their staff.

So there I was, walking down the street, not knowing how I was going to pay the rent. This wasn’t part of the plan! Or maybe it was. Regardless, financial woes still don’t keep me from karaoke bars and me and some buddies entered a competition which was part draw, part talent, part rigged. Well….perhaps it was completely legit but really, who cares?

After I’d sung Sara Smile, a mid-70s Hall & Oates soul standard, we waited for the DJ/MC to announce the winner. For reasons unknown, I was certain I’d win. I had to! Or else I was on a plane back home. Certainty might be one thing in competitions, but you know it is irrational and if you are lucky enough to win, the previous certainty doesn’t prevent whopping celebrations.  S celebrate we did! Some of the best white-man high-fives of 2010 was the rumour.

$500, right then and there and in the hand. And even if it left my hand pretty quickly into the hand of my buddy who looked after paying the rent at our flat, it still felt pretty good. Definitely not a party song and arguably a strange-ish choice to sing at a karaoke bar, Sara Smile was always a favourite for me, but since it saved the OE (overseas experience if you’re not a Kiwi) and kept me on the road for almost another year of adventures before returning to New Zealand, it now means even more.

DON’T FORGET! Hall & Oates in New Zealand this weekend, Saturday night in Napier at Church Road, Sunday night in Auckland at Villa Maria.

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