|Charm Bracelet: The Untold Story
Author: SirJoshizzle PM
Charm Bracelet Side story: Zelda tells all in the most intimate and personal interview of her music history making career. Present AU, Oneshot, Zelda's POV.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor - Zelda - Words: 10,125 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 3 - Published: 07-30-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3692076
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Now before you get all excited—THIS IS NOT A SEQUEL TO CHARM BRACELET And if you're still wondering, there isn't going to be a sequel. This is more of a "spin-off" of sorts.
But for lack of a better term, this is a "lost chapter" (similar to how television shows have a "lost episode"). I was in kind of a predicament deciding how to go about with CB chapter 26. I had two ideas for that chapter—one was a tell-all interview with Zelda, and the other was her having a concert at the HCT Metrodome. If you've read up to chapter 26 (which all of you should have done if you're reading this), you'd know that the concert chapter won. But the idea of this chapter is just too good to be passed on like how it was, and I don't want to include it in CB proper because it will disrupt the Zelda-Link-Zelda-Link POV flow I've kept consistent with the last 26 chapters (if I add this, it would be chapter 28 and it would mean chapter 27 would be a filler chapter; the last thing I need so late in the story is filler). So I'm making it its own story with its own identity.
As said before, this is the chapter 26 that never happened—a tell-all interview with Zelda where she reveals every detail about her career. Most information from CB will be carried on, but some of it is really stuff that was never revealed in any of Zelda's chapters. The things that are carry-ons from CB are explained in much more detail. I've kept the minds of Link and Zelda to a minimum in CB because I could only say so much in one chapter, but in this, Zelda really gets down to the nitty gritty. In layman's terms, this is Zelda retelling her entire career, only in her own words.
The setting of this story takes place sometime after chapter 26, but before the events that have yet to happen in chapter 27. But it doesn't necessarily occur before chapter 27. There are some spoilers for the next chapter, but it's nothing to have a seizure over, and if you have Zelda's discography and number one singles chart, you'd know this stuff by now.
Needless to say, this is told from Zelda's POV.
I don't know The Legend of Zelda, but I do own Charm Bracelet. AND, I own YOU.
Charm Bracelet: The Untold Story
GATEWAY WARD—ZELDA'S HOUSE- ENTERTAINMENT ROOM: AUGUST 4, 2010; 11:34 AM HYLIAN TIME
I walk back from the kitchen in the back of the room, glass of ice water in hand, over to the sofas. I set it on one of the ottomans that double as coffee tables and take my seat on the sofa, facing Medli Valoo.
"Your water is over there," I gesture to the glass, and she looks up from her paperwork, and she flashes me a quick smile, thanking me softly.
Medli Valoo is a Rito, one of the races native to the Great Sea Archipelago. She's journalist for Hylian Magazine, the most influential, read and subscribed magazine in the country. She called me a few days ago, asking me if I would do an interview, and I gladly accepted, and well, here we are.
Medli pulls out her tape recorder and checks it quickly before setting it on the seat cushion between us.
"Okay," she says as she presses the record button. "Are you ready?"
"Whenever you are," I smile.
"Alright," she nods. "We'll start out with a little fun questionnaire… It's how we all start our celebrity interviews at Hylian Magazine, and then we'll get right to business."
"Okay then," I tuck a few stands of hair behind me ear.
"Where were you born?"
"I was born here in Castle Town," I reply. "Actually here in the Gateway Ward… I was born and grew up in a gated community called Eastlake, which isn't too far from here."
"Really?" She raises an eyebrow.
"Yeah," I nod. "Probably about five minutes by car… provided no congestion for anything."
We both chuckle softly.
"Who is your favorite band or singer? …Favorite music artist?"
"Umm…" I furrow my brow. "The people I've collaborated with over the years… Jay-T, Marin—believe it or not, Raven… Definitely The Indigo-Go's. I've been their fan before I got my contract, and being able to collaborate with them was a dream come true… And Link too, I love his voice."
"I bet you do," she smiles, and we both laugh at that. "When was the last time you took a shower?"
I raise my eyebrow at that. "Have you been getting these questions off of Myspace surveys?"
"I will not reveal my sources," she shakes her head. "But yes."
I giggle at her answer. "I expected that… But to answer your question, it was just a few minutes before you came over. That kind of explains why my hair looks a little damp," I run my hand through my hair.
"When was the last time you saw someone from high school?"
"…Last time I saw someone from school… Oh! This morning actually," I shift in place a little. "I share this house with four girlfriends that I've been best friends with in junior high and high school."
"When was the last time you cried?"
"Last time I cried…" I whisper the question. "…A little while back. I think it was last year at Mikau's funeral, Mikau from The Indigo-Go's. It was really sad. Each of the member's gave their own eulogy, and Lulu, his wife and the band's singer, broke down right there on the stage and cried in the middle of hers."
"If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who with?"
"…Rauru," I nod. "Rauru, the old Hylia Music CEO."
"Are you serious?" Her heyebrows shoot up, and I nod again.
"Yes, we have quite a few things that we left… unsettled. And I think it would be nice that we just… tied up loose ends and settled our unfinished arguments," I smile weakly.
"I see… Boxers or briefs on a man?"
I can't help but break out into a smile at the question. "…I don't know! I could go either way."
"Okay, let me rephrase the question: boxers or briefs on Link?" She smirks naughtily, and I break out into laughter, swatting her playfully.
"I don't know, I really don't," I shake my head. "I… I don't know! Briefs, maybe."
"It outlines his package?" She grins slyly.
"Are you putting this in the magazine!?"
"I don't know yet," she shakes her head. "Only if I like the answer I get."
I give her a playful scolding look, and she shakes her head. "Just kidding."
"Okay, okay, in light on your remark about my answer, I'll just say this…" I wave my hands in front of me. "Boxers when he's not in the mood, briefs when he is. How's that?"
Medli holds up her notepad, covering her face as she laughs loudly, and I cover mine with a pillow, laughing out loud.
"Okay! I think that's enough for the questionnaire!" She shakes her head, taking a drink of her water.
I sigh, my laughter dying down and I fan myself with my hand. "Fine by me!"
She flips a few pages in the notepad and we both put our serious faces on.
"Alright," she starts. "Now Zelda… You grew up in an affluent lifestyle…"
"More or less," I shrug. "It was more of an upper middle class neighborhood than it was affluent."
"Okay," she nods. "But anyway, how would you describe your life before you moved out of the house and went on to become the superstar you are now?"
"…Well…" I run my hand through my hair. "It was… uneventful."
"What do you mean by 'uneventful'?"
"I mean that nothing really exciting happened," I reply. "Because I grew up in a gated community, there was very little room for something out of the ordinary to occur. It was the same old routine everyday for the first eighteen years of my life… I'll even go as far as to say that I was sheltered… Everything I ever really needed was inside the community—the church, the supermarket, the malls, the parks, the schools—they were all inside the neighborhood. I never really went outside the gates, so I think that's why I was so shocked when I moved out into inner Castle Town… Moving from a place where everything was so predictable to the fast lane like Castle Town Core, where things literally come out of left field, was a big culture shock for me."
"I see…" She looks down at her notepad. "You've said before that music has played a really big part in your childhood and through your teenage years… How so?"
I look up to the ceiling, pondering the question. "…Well, I grew up literally surrounded by music. Everyone in my family was somehow related to it, so it was pretty inevitable that I become interested in music as well. A lot of my relatives did things like dance and play instruments… My thing was singing, obviously. I started singing basically when I started talking, and I pretty much went from there. I'd sing every chance I'd get—in my room, in the shower, at church, I'd sing inside my head during tests at school…" I chuckle. "There would always be karaoke at parties, and I'd always be the first in line to sing."
"Were you enrolled in vocal lessons at any point in your life?"
"To be honest, no I haven't."
Her eyes widen at my answer. I don't blame her, though. You'd think I would be, right?
"I've had vocal coaches, but that was all after I landed my record deal. Before then, I pretty much taught myself how to sing. I based my singing styles off the divas and the ballad queens and songbirds of the 80s and 90s. In a sense, the radio was my vocal coach. When she'd hit that high note, I'd mimic and mimic until I got it right."
I smile to myself. "My family would call me a human parrot at times."
She chuckles and leans in. "A human parrot?"
"Yeah," I nod. "They said that I could easily imitate any sound I heard. A vocal coach I had a few months before I released my first album said that I was 'pitch perfect'… Whether that's true or not, I don't know but hey, she was the professional…"
We both laugh softly, and she reads the next question off her notepad.
"So for the first sixteen or so years of your life, you'd be doing nothing but singing?" I nod in reply. "Why did it take so long before you landed a record deal?"
"Okay," I start. "I started the whole recording studio thing at a really early age, probably twelve or thirteen. Ever since then, I've been recording songs for demos because it's been a goal since I was a child that I get a record deal and make it big. When I was fifteen, that's when I really began handing them out to record labels, but I was turned down every single time… They said they like my voice, but they 'just don't hear the magic'."
"Well it's Hylia Music's gain and their loss because you've proved time and again that your voice and music are indeed magic," she smiles, and I thank her for the compliment. "Now that you're so successful, do you have anything to say to the people that turned you down?"
"…I don't know, like what?" I raise an eyebrow.
"Like 'In your face!' or anything like that?"
"…You'd think I would," I shrug. "But really, I don't think I have anything to say to them… Call me boring, but that's just how I am."
"Took the words right out of my mouth," she mumbles, and I chuckle lightly.
"Now about your discovery… How did that work out?"
"You mean how did it happen?" I ask, and she nods in response. "Okay… It happened a few months after I moved out of the house and into Castle Town. I was working at the McDonald's in Hylia Square, and one day I decided to cover for a friend who was sick. So I was at the register, and then this blonde man walked inside. That man was… Link Avalon. I thought he was pretty cute," I giggle at the memory from almost seven years ago. "So I took his order and gave him his food, and a few minutes later I was on break, right? We were sitting across the room from each other, and we'd steal glances at one another. He was eating his food and I was listening to my iPod that was loaded with songs I recorded in the studio."
Medli smiles and leans in, intrigued.
"But then my boss comes in and says, 'Zelda, you look tired, so why don't you go home and rest?'" I mimic my old boss' deep, baritone voice. "So I happily accepted his offer. I checked out, ran out the door, and I was gone…" I point my thumb over my shoulder. "On the bus home, the driver was playing some horrid yodeling music, so I reach for my iPod inside my purse… Only to find out that I had left it on the table I was sitting at back at the restaurant… So I was without my iPod for a few weeks, but then there was a knock at my door one day, so I answered it… Surprise-surprise, the person standing in front of me was none other than Link Avalon with my iPod in his hand. He said to me, 'I'm sorry miss, is this yours?' …It's very Cinderella when you think about it."
A few moments of silence fall between us, and Medli gasps. "It is like Cinderella! But how did he find you?"
"I had my phone number and address taped on the back. Anyway, for the two weeks before he found me, he's been leaving messages on the answering machine at the apartment I was living in at the time. It was the same thing over and over—'Link Avalon from Rarity Records, call me back'." I make the shape of a phone with my hand and hold it to me ear, mimicking Link's voice. I then break out into soft laughter a second later. "It was so funny because the way he sounded in his messages… He sounded kind of nervous."
"Because of the voice mail message on the machine," I laugh. "It was the most psychotic message ever. My girlfriends that I shared the apartment with—the same girls I live with now—we all got together and recorded this crazy voice mail about how we had no food and no money and how we've set the stove on fire how-many-times because we couldn't cook or some other mess… And all he would say was," I make the phone shape with my hand and deepen my voice like Link's again, "'Link Avalon from Rarity Records… I, uh, don't know if I have the right number, but call me back…'"
Medli laughs along with me. "Oh, I can imagine how he must have sounded."
"I think I saved that answering machine," I tell her. "With the tape inside it and everything. I didn't delete the messages, I'll look for it in storage and we can listen to it later."
"I'd like that," she nods. "Alright… So after your Cinderella encounter with Link…"
"He told me he listened to the songs on my iPod, and he liked my voice and my music very much," I went on with the story. "He explained that he'd been looking around for a singer to sign to his label. He said that his job depended on it… So since I was in need of a contract just as bad as he needed someone to sign, I came with him. He took the girls and me to Hylia Music's headquarters, and that's where I met Rauru. He explained the terms of the contract he was offering me, and I accepted… The rest is music history, I guess."
"So the Cinderella story came to a happy ending?" She asks. I just sigh slowly and look around, my smile gradually fading. "You'd think it would be a happy ending, but if you fully understood what was going on behind the scenes, it was really anything but… Especially after the second album."
"…You mean Rauru?"
I look down at my lap. "…Yeah."
"Do you mind talking about it?" She asks tentatively, knowing that it's a touchy subject.
I shake my head and look back up at her. "Looking back… I think trouble began brewing… before I even had my contract."
She gives me a questioning look.
"When he was explaining the contract to me, he said he hired professional songwriters and producers for me. That instantly turned me off because I wanted to take part in the entire production of the album. I flat out told him that if I don't get songwriting and production rights, then we had no deal."
"Seriously?" Her eyes widen. "But that was your chance at a record deal! You were going to take that risk?"
I smile smartly. "I had a strong feeling that they needed me much more than I needed them. That was my security, that's what made me so confident when I gave him my terms. Link explained his situation to me in the car ride to the office. Hylia Music at the time was losing market share and influence over the music industry because they had no leading act… Even I could see that they saw me as their "ace in the hole" of sorts… The fact that they went crazy over my voice only reinforced that. I knew that they knew that they'd find no other singer like me, especially since Link's been traveling all over Hyrule for someone with a voice… It was either my terms or they get ready to file for bankruptcy."
"So needless to say, they did give in," Medli nods. "Otherwise you wouldn't be here."
"That's right," I smile. "But even though Rauru said he trusted my judgement when he agreed to my ultimatum, I could see some doubt in his eyes…"
"So from there, as far as relations with the company were concerned, everything began going downhill?"
"…Ahh, well…" I shrug. She repeats me with the same tone, and we both chuckle.
"So while your relationship with Rauru was slowly weakening…" She writes a few things down, "Your relationship with Link was quickly strengthening…"
"…I guess you can put it that way," I shrug. But really, she couldn't be more right.
"How would you explain that?" She asks me.
"Well it took a little time before my relationship with Rauru went sour," I start. "My relationship with Link grew much faster… At first we were just co-songwriters and co-producers. We were really good friends, so I think it was only natural that something more than friendship come out of that… But what was holding me back was the fact that he was, simply put, my boss. He ran the label I was signed under, and we worked together with the man who ran the company… Plus, I wasn't even twenty at the time and he was already pushing thirty," I smile.
"So age difference played a factor at the beginning as well?"
"Right," I nod. "Link was undeniably handsome—and he still is—but he's was more experienced than me… Not only in intimacy, but in every way possible… I thought that any romance with Link—or anyone inside the company, for that matter—would complicate things should something have gone wrong in my relationship with the company as a whole… It would be likely that if I were to break up with someone involved with them, they'd be in the mind to sabotage my career for revenge."
"And things went just like that," she asks, and I nod.
"Minus the part with revenge," I add quickly. "I didn't stay around long enough for that to happen."
"Yet after all of that, you still got together with Link," she furrows her brow. "What, did you change your mind or something?"
"No, no," I shake my head. "See, that was all Link's doing!"
We both laugh at my reply. "How was it his fault?"
"It was my 20th birthday," I think back. "In Termina, anyway. I was promoting Emerald over there. It was a few hours before we all flew back here in Hyrule for the Hylian release. Anyway, I was in my hotel room, and Link came up to my room. He's like, "Zelda, it's your birthday, and I want to take you somewhere special." So I went along, and he took me to the Great Bay Coast, a little ways off from Zora Hall. We spent probably an hour walking along the beach, just talking, and then we ended on the pier by nightfall. We were sitting on the edge, looking out to the ocean… We had our first kiss there."
"And that's where it all started?" She raises an eyebrow, and I nod in reply. "That's when we officially began going out."
"I see," she writes something down on her notepad. "Now about Rauru… If you don't mind, that is."
"Of course not," I shake my head. "…It was a few months after Link and I began going out… Mid-November I think it was. Rauru called everyone over to his office for a special meeting. I thought it was something about the company itself… Turns out it was to discuss record sales—my record sales."
"Ooh…" She leans in, taking a drink of her water.
"He went on a tangent about how Emerald wasn't selling as well as Eponymous had… And I have to admit that looking back, he had a few valid points to back up his claims."
"He brought up the genre of music the album falls in," I reply. "Eponymous was more pop with R&B undertones. Emerald was basically the exact opposite. He said that pop is more popular on the charts and with the public than R&B and hip-hop were. All my pop singles like "Sensations" or "The Only One" spent more weeks at number one than the hip-hop oriented ones like "Homewrecker and "You Make Me Want to Love You"… He then talked about how the album Marin released during my debut was more urban and therefore didn't sell as well… The next album she released, which was a month after Emerald, followed more in the footsteps of Eponymous: more pop, with R&B undertones. According to Hylian Blazing, she outsold me by a rather noticeable margin back in 2006."
"I remember reading that article," Medli rubs her chin. "So Rauru was implying…"
"That urban music doesn't sell," I finish her sentence, shaking my head. "And as a result, Emerald suffered lackluster sales compared to the first album.."
"So what was he really trying to say to you?" She asks me. "I mean, it was only a matter of what kind of music you made, right?"
"Exactly," I shrug, shifting in my seat a little. "And that's what he was trying to say: I was in the wrong music genre. With all of his corporate jargon and what-not, he was pretty much getting in my face that I'm not in the money with R&B and hip-hop. He made it pretty clear that from the third album on, I was to do only pop and adult contemporary."
"Because according to the charts, that's what the public wanted," she whispers, and I nod affirmatively.
"But ironically, I released a pretty adult contemporary sounding single after that meeting," I chuckle, "and it broke my chain of number one hits that Rauru was so set on keeping flawless."
Medli writes a few things down and quickly leans over to the tape recorder to check it. "You were stopped by Marin, right?"
"Yeah," I nod.
"…About you and Marin," she taps both ends of her pencil on her paper rapidly. "At the beginning of your career, you two were made out to be rivaling pop divas bitterly fighting for the number one spot."
I can't help but laugh softly at the way she put our situation into words.
"And come the time to release your third album Jukebox, you were suddenly best friends or something… What happened? I mean, yes you two sang a song together, but…"
"Okay," I pull my legs closer to my body and hold out my hands in front of me. "This is what happened. During the production of Jukebox, I got this letter from Marin's publicist. He said that Marin was called in by Ordona Pictures to record the theme song for that blockbuster The Ocarina of Time. It was going to be some big, power ballad about not giving up and believing. Hell, it was going to be orchestrated and everything…" I smile softly. "So naturally it sounded like my kind of record given that's the kind of stuff I started out doing," I add quickly.
Medli laughs slightly at the last part. "Alright."
"So then he goes on about how Marin thought that it was a perfect song for us to sing together," I swallow quickly before continuing. "And then Link instantly starts pointing his finger everywhere, 'Tell that wench you refuse!'"
"Oh, because they went out prior to you being signed?" She asks me, and I nod in response.
"Plus, according to him, their relationship ended on bad terms… He doesn't even acknowledge the fact that their whole thing even happened, so you know something bad caused their romance to end," I pull my hair back to keep it away from my face. "Anyway, I told him that I'd just hear her out and listen to her story. Then Link threw this temper tantrum and stormed out the room… So then I meet with Marin, and then she tells me everything."
"Now what do you mean by everything?" she smiles slightly.
"I mean everything," I shake my head, drawing out the last word. "She told me why she acted towards me the way she acted towards me. Link told me that long after they broke up, she's been leaving crazy 'lets get back together' messages on his phone, so she told me why she was doing that… Turns out it was just Ganondorf influencing her."
"Ganondorf?" She raises an eyebrow slowly. "You mean her boss and boyfriend?"
"Ex-boss and ex-boyfriend," I correct her with a smile. "Link and Ganondorf were never on good terms. He was always jealous that Link had more success in his professional career than he did… More importantly, he was jealous that before he dated Marin, she dated Link. So forcing Marin to drive Link crazy with stalker messages and to literally slander me blind was all just to rub Link the wrong way. Marin was essentially his puppet."
"And she didn't do anything to stop that?"
"What could she have done?" I shrug with a cocked eyebrow. "He was her boss. If she didn't do what he said, there went her music career."
"…So you two recorded the song, obviously," her eyes scan her notepad rapidly. "…How did Link react to this?"
"Remember the way Ganondorf reacted to it?" I ask her. "How he let all Hell loose and made so many death threats that I had a police escort for weeks?"
Medli nods, giggling softly.
"Link's reaction was a welcome with open arms compared to that," I laugh.
"Okay, okay," she shakes her head between giggles. "So he got mad."
"Yeah," I nod. "And that was really the only time in the seven years I've known him that he acted like the devil… At that time, he was really no better than Rauru. He was demanding that I call off the record and that she just re-record it alone. I tried telling him what Marin told me, but he would have any of it. It was all just BS to him."
"But the record was released anyway," her laughing fades away. "So what happened to your relationship after that?"
"It took a little U-turn," I twirl a few strands of hair around my right index finger. "Marin wanted to write a few more songs with me for the album since we weren't done with it just yet. I knew that Link and Marin in the studio at the same time would be Hell, I told Link flat out that I didn't want to work with him for the remainder of the album, and we had a long ways to go. Marin took his place as my co-writer and co-producer… For just that one time, anyway. Romantically, we were kind of in the same situation. I was always in the studio working… to the point that I'd even sleep overnight on the sofas. But because Marin was in there practically whenever I was, Link wouldn't come in."
"So your relationship with your boyfriend… and your boss were on decline," Medli nods slightly.
"Well…" I think about her statement for a little bit. "For a few months, it was kind of in reverse. Marin and I were recording all these pop tracks with just the subtlest hint of R&B—the kind of music I wanted to do—so that obviously made Rauru happy… I think the only song he was iffy with was "The Love Attack" with Jay-T."
"Because it was a collaboration with a rapper?"
"Exactly," I nod. "The melody was fun and admittedly more pop than I would have liked it to be. That, Rauru had no problem with. When he found out that a rapper would be appearing on it, he looked at me like I was on drugs or something… The lyrics also made him a little uncomfortable."
"Ahh…" She quickly scribbles something down. "I happen to have a copy of the lyrics with me…" She reaches for a stack of papers on the coffee table and pulls out a piece of white paper. "When I scan over these lyrics, they are a bit… risque."
"But they aren't that deep!" I laugh incredulously, not wanting her to get the wrong idea like so many have before. "It was just a song with some—I will admit—suggestive lyrics!"
"I'm sorry Zelda," she shakes her head with an accusing smile, "but isn't it you that said every song you've ever written is some way autobiographical?"
"You're taking it way out of context," I chuckle. "My lyrics are metaphors for the autobiographical moment."
"So when you say 'Fasten up your seatbelt baby, 'cause this will be one wild ride', you're implying…" Her eyes slowly widen, letting out a horrific gasp. "Bondage sex!?"
My jaw drops and I instinctively take the pillow I'm hugging and hurl it at her. "NO! Farore, next question!"
"But that's it, isn't it!?" She grins, pulling the pillow off her and tossing it back at me.
"Next question!" I shake my head defiantly, catching the round pillow and holding it to my chest.
"Fine," she rolls her eyes, tucking the lyrics sheet into her notepad, and I just roll my eyes back at her, chuckling lighty. "…Anyway, we got through the your first album, your second album, the Marin incident, the Jay-T scandal…"
I just sigh exasperatedly, shaking my head at the last part.
"Now on to your performance on HBC …Acoustic," she checks something off on her notepad, and I gradually break out into a nostalgic smile."That concert was a really good moment in time…" I sigh happily.
"How so?" She raises an eyebrow.
"Because…" I stop myself. "Okay, let me tell the backstory. On a plane ride back to Castle Town from Termina to do the Hylian release of Emerald, Link showed me this Terminian magazine with a review for the album… It was some critic going on about how I had a good voice… But then at times it was just too good to be real. Basically, he was implying that anything that came out of my mouth during a song was made by studio technology. From then on, I've been getting reviews and hearing people talk about me, saying more or less the same thing. That was what caused me to take a different direction with Jukebox."
"Different direction?" She repeats after me, giving me a look of confusion.
"Yeah," I clear my throat. "Vocally, anyway. If you listen to the songs on Jukebox compared to the first two albums, you can tell that there's less of the upper register. I mean it's there, it's just not in your face like it's been for the first two years of my career."
"…Oh," she says.
"Anyway," I go on. "That decision sparked some rumors that I did that on the third album because my voice had been "shot" after oversinging for the last two years prior to that… So either way, there were rumors about my voice. So I decided that it was time I put an end to it. I signed on to do a concert on …Acoustic for that. I chose that show because artists performing are only allowed to use an acoustic ensemble. Therefore, it left little room for all of that technological stuff… Just the piano, the drums, acoustic guitars, maybe a synth keyboard or two. The point is, I was unplugged, and so was my 'studio voice'."
"That atmosphere forced you to actually sing live," she speaks, "Not that you haven't been before," and I nod affirmatively.
"So I sang all the songs through that night. Thankfully, nothing wrong happened…" I brush my bangs out of my face after they came loose from behind my ear. "And I got all of these rave reviews about how any doubts about my voice were killed, things like that… But that wasn't what made it one of the highlights of my career."
"It was that duet with Link," I smile softly. ""Love We Share". Definitely one of my favorite songs by me."
"That's the song that you wrote for the concert, right?" She asks me. "They wanted you to do a concert-specific song, and that was it."
"Right!" I chuckle. "We wrote the song together the night right before the show… But that's not really why I love it so much… That it was a last minute song and then it went on to be so successful commercially."
"Then why is it?"
"Because we wrote it at a time in our relationship that I thought was a really bad time," I tell her. "We had a horrible disagreement over the album, and as a result he wasn't allowed to write or produce any more of it. I was all over the world singing "I Still Believe" with Marin, and he'd be back here in Hyrule, doing some secondary promotional work for me. We really hadn't seen much of each other since the argument over "I Still Believe"… So to finally work together on a song—just the two of us—that's what makes the song so special to me… And the message of the song."
"…Message?" She raises an eyebrow again.
"We both wrote that song with each other in mind," I giggle. "We looked back at the last couple of months before that night and we asked ourselves, 'What happened to us?' So we were at the piano, and we worked around that question. The result… "Love We Share"."
"Oh, I see…" She picks up her pencil and begins writing something down. "When I think about it, critics weren't just talking about how well you performed…"
"Oh?" Both my eyebrows go up.
"That saucy little number you wore caused quite a stir," she smiles slyly.
"It wasn't that bad," I laugh. "Just a miniskirt and a tube top."
"Zelda," she laughs. "There's a difference between a miniskirt and tube top…" She lifts a few pages from her notepad up and takes a photo out. "And what you wore." She hands me the picture and I scan it up and down. It's a picture of me performing that night from the audience. From the angle, it looks like the front row. It looks straight up me, and I concentrate my eyes on the skirt. I look closer, and I see that my panties are clearly visible from the angle the picture is taken from.
"A panty shot!?" My eyes go wide.
"That's what I meant," she snickers.
"I didn't know it was that short…" I mumble. She seems to have heard me, because she gives me a "Come on, now" look.
"Alright," I sigh in defeat. "But I will say this: when I tried that outfit on and looked at it straight in the mirror, it didn't seem to be a problem… But what I didn't know was that when it was angled a certain way, you got a little more of a view…"
"Whatever!" She scoffs at me through her giggles. "Did you not notice that Jay-T and Link were totally poppin' a few that night!? Nayru, those things were visible even from the cheap seats in the back of the house!"
I shoot her a glare, but I'm unable to sustain it, as I break out into laughter seconds later. "Whatever! The point is, I had fun… And I'm happy that the boys did, too! Hey, I'm a fun loving girl…"
"With outfits like that I bet you are," she snickers again.
I just roll my eyes. "But that was the last time in a long time that I smiled with such happiness," the soft beam on my face slowly fades away, "because after that, things between Rauru and me really began going sour."
"Your hospitalization?" She furrows her brows, and I nod.
"After the concert, people were raving about how much they loved the song. Rauru saw the lucrative potential it had and he released the live recording as a single. It went on to become more popular than ever, and he scheduled this two-month long promotional thing where Link and I would appear and perform on every television show he could book and every awards show we were invited to. It was really tough because we were already busy enough. From mid-August to late September I've been doing nothing but work and sing."
"But that's what you've been always doing."
I shake my head. "Not to the same extent as that time period. I usually take a few days off in between performances to rest up my voice because singing my songs is no easy task. But because we were under so much crunch time, I wasn't able to take those rests in between. I didn't sleep, so singing became more challenging. It became so hard on my voice that Rauru actually suggested that I lip-sync."
"It was that bad!?" She cried out in disbelief.
"It was worse," I shake my head. "I refused to lip sync because I felt that it's betraying the fans who come to see me sing live. What I did was I lowered the key of all the upper-tier songs that called for belting. For songs that called for me to sing in that high whistling voice, I just skipped through it, replacing it with head voice or falsetto, like "Gateway to Freedom" for example… On songs where I just couldn't do it, I decided not to sing it altogether, like "Sensations"… I rely that much on sleep in order to sing my best," I finish.
"And on top of all the singing, you've had to deal with talking in interviews and album and autograph signings…" She starts.
"Oh yeah," I sigh. "Most of the time, I do quick interviews on talk shows before or after I perform, I've had to give speeches at award shows when I won something. When I did interviews, sometimes I'd stay at home and they'd come to me like I'm doing right now… But usually, it was me that had to travel back and forth between interviewers, and that was much harder on me. The whole time, it was literally a thing that when I wasn't on stage singing, I was answering questions for an interview. There were no breaks inbetween. During the day I'd drive over to a restaurant for lunch and an interview, drive to H-Wave Radio Station for another, head to the TV studio for a performance and do an interview there, and then at night I'd be at The Hit Factory singing and writing from ten at night to sometime at four in the morning. Sometime around seven AM, it started all over again. It went on like that endlessly for three months."
"Then came the breakdown…"
"Pretty much," I shrug. "Link and I were going over "It Will Happen" at athe studio sometime after midnight… Months after I started production on the fourth album, that was still the only song I had to work with since I had no time to actually write another song… Rauru came over to read me my Ocarina Award nominations for that year. He did it because he said I wouldn't be able to appear at the nomination readings in front of Hyrule Castle… He said to get ready, because he's booked dates for a cross-country concert tour, like, two days later."
Medli's eyes widen in shock, her jaw dropping to the ground.
"I don't really remember much because I hadn't slept literally in over a week, so naturally I was pretty dazed… But I remember Link and Rauru fighting over something, and before I knew it, I passed out right there."
"The news of that tour was the straw that broke the camel's back, then?"
I chuckle bitterly, shaking my head. "Medli, the camel's back broke weeks prior to that. I was barely keeping up with my schedule; the only thing fueling me was literally gallons of caffeine… That wasn't really helping my voice either, because it dried out my throat at times since I drank so much of it."
She smiles weakly at my answer. "So when did you wake up?"
"Probably a day after, maybe… I woke up in a room at the Naval Hospital in Emerald Ward… I guess Link took me there since his dad was in the Navy and Rauru doesn't have a military ID… Right after I woke up, Link told me to take it easy from then on… No matter how much work Rauru made me do, don't overexert myself. He put me on vocal rest from that day on until I officially checked out of the hospital, which was a couple of weeks."
"What's that?" She asks me.
"Vocal rest is basically what its name implies. I don't use my voice at all for a day at least to prepare myself for performances."
"A whole day!?"
"At least," I repeat myself, smiling. "Remember that concert at the Metrodome I had a few weeks ago? I was resting for three days prior to that… I was in my room, drinking pitchers of hot tea, watching TV… while Link and the girls played Castle Town, living it up…"
"Ahh…" She chuckles, nodding her head. "So it's pretty boring?"
"Yeah, but absolutely necessary…" I answer. "Jeez, those three days passed by so slowly… Thinking back to those two or three weeks not talking at all in the hospital was Hell…"
"But what about the tour?"
"Cancelled," I say simply. "I hate to think about how many fans I disappointed… But what could I have done?"
"I see… So after you checked out…" Medli checks the tape recorder again to make sure it's still recording.
"I did exactly as Link said," I reply. "I toned things down. I significantly limited how many interviews and performances I took to one or two every two weeks… Even after I checked out of the hospital, I took vocal rests on my own time. I think that's why I sounded better than I had in months when I performed with Marin at the Ocarina Awards two years ago."
"Was upset when he found out how I wasn't getting enough done after the hospital debacle…" I smile slightly. "He kept calling me on my cell phone—"Are you working on the album?" "You only have a few months before release!" "On break!? Get back to work!"" I groan softly. "Late March of 2008 was when I decided I'd had enough. I wanted to be famous and to be a singer, but not if I wasn't even allowed to enjoy it. Early April, two weeks before the fourth album was released, Rauru called a meeting. I refused to record the album, so he was forced to release a compilation to make the dead line. The meeting he called was about the compilation album. But before he could say anything, that's when I told him…"
"You resigned from Hylia Music…" She whispers darkly.
I nod in response. "There was a clause in my contract that after two studio albums were recorded and released, I could leave anytime I wanted. All I had to do was pay back the company what was left of my contract, release a compilation album, and I was free to do whatever I want."
"So how much did you end up paying them?"
"Twenty million Rupees," I shrug. "Each album was worth ten million. I still owed them two albums, and the compilation didn't count since I was obligated by contract."
"That compilation album was Ichiban, correct?" She asks.
"Yeah. A compilation of my thirteen number one singles up to that point, plus "It Will Happen". That's the only song I recorded for the album that never happened. I loved that song when I finished it, and I thought it was a waste of a good song, so I included it."
She writes on her paper as I speak, putting her pencil down when I stop.
"You also broke up with Link," she looks up at me from her notepad.
"I wanted to break all my ties with anyone associated with Hylia Music," I tell her as I nod. "That meant the band, the backup singers, my publicist, my assistants, and as much as I didn't want to… Link. If they could reach me, then Rauru could too. He was the last person in the world I wanted to be in contact with."
"But last year, the one year anniversary of Ichiban's release…" She speaks softly.
"He passed away," I finish for her. "Looking back, I really wish things hadn't turned out the way they did… I wish that I at least went back to him and tried to settle things… Probably make a compromise and I could go back to Hylia Music… To be honest, that day, I was really considering it…" I sniffle softly, feeling the water works coming on. "…But then Link showed up at the door and told me that he died that morning."
"Too little, too late, maybe?" Medli smiles weakly. She reaches into her purse and pulls out a tissue paper, handing it to me. I accept it, thanking her, and I quickly dab the sides of my eyes.
"Yeah…" I reply. "At the funeral, I didn't cry at all… I think I was the only person there who didn't shed so much as a single tear."
She stares at me blankly.
"Not that I wasn't sad," I add quickly. "It just didn't hit me until after the service was over. Then at the reading of his will, he left me an office inside Hylia Music's headquarters… As if he predicted that I would come back."
"Link's office, no less," I smile at the memory of the will reading, especially his family. I wish that Rauru showed me his family before. They seemed like fun. "And he left Link his office…"
"That's when Link found out he was the new CEO?" Medli raises an eyebrow.
"Yeah," I smile. "He was so shocked when he found out… I don't think he's still gotten over it, even now."
"So after he was officially crowned CEO…"
"I signed back with Hylia Music and Link and I got back together," I grin. "Work immediately started on my fifth album."
"Wouldn't it be your fourth album?" She furrows her brow. "Since Ichiban was a contractual agreement?"
"It's offcially the fourth," I explain. "It's the fourth on the contract, but when I resigned, that became both the contractual obligation and the compilation album by default… It was already decided that it wouldn't be a studio album, but when I told them I wanted out, it became a little of both…"
"I think I kind of get it…" She says, rubbing her chin. "But anyway, work started on the fifth album."
"Yeah," I nod. "Link had a plan that to ensure my 'comeback' was as big as possible, that no one except anyone involved with the project was to talk about it in public… But to make sure that it worked, he scheduled the duet between Raven and me. That went on to be "Whenever I Look In Your Eyes". It was a song that the three of us wrote and produced specifically to hint at the new album without giving too much away. That's why we went with the decision that I sing only backup."
"Ahh…" She nods her head, smiling widely. "And your album was officially announced by Link during the Hylia Music press conference at World Music Show."
"Yeah," I brush my hand through my hair. "We revealed all the general details there."
"The album—Charm Bracelet—was released April 25, the same day as Eponymous… Was that your idea or was it Link's?"
"That was my idea," I tell her. "It was also my idea to have the concert in Hylia Square on release day. Link had an idea of going back to basics with the music; something reminiscent of the first album and the demos on the iPod. I took it a step further with the release date and the showcase concert."
"And about the concert at the Metrodome?"
"My idea as well," I nod. "I wanted to do something to show my thanks to the fans. They're the ones that made this album so successful. So I held a special concert at HCT Metrodome and it was packed. Sold out, I think it was."
"It was," she grins. "It was the cover story of the Union Tribune… One thing about that concert puzzled me, and it still does…"
"Your outfit," she furrows her brows. "It wasn't as hoochie coochie mama as what you wore on …Acoustic."
I can't help but laugh at how she referred to the …Acoustic outfit. "I wore that white outfit and that black dress because those are the ensembles I was wearing during the album's photoshoot. If you look at the jacket insert, there are photos of me, and I'm wearing that same dress and that same pants and jacket."
"Oh, I thought your attire had gone back to basics as well!"
"Does it look like it's gone back to basics!?" I smile as I chuckle. I gesture to my white tanktop and my light blue denim miniskirt.
"That's because you're at home," she shoots back through giggles.
"I'll have you know that I wear this stuff when I go out as well!"
"Okay, okay!" She holds up her hands defensively, and I simply roll my eyes. "…Zelda, do you know just how successful the album is?"
"The last time I was given the figures was the night of the concert," I reply. "Four million in Hyrule and eight million worldwide."
"They've gone way up since then," she smirks. She flips the page of her notepad and begins reading off it. "As of July 31—that's the last Saturday the Blazing charts were updated—Charm Bracelet has sold seven million copies in Hyrule and thirteen million copies worldwide. It just ended its fifteenth non-consecutive week at number one on the Blazing 200. It spawned two number one singles—the first one, "Daydream", debuted at number one and held the spot for eight consecutive weeks. It's second number one, released on July 29, was "Never too Far", your duet with The Indigo-Go's. It also debuted at number one and its on its first week at the top spot."
"I know!" I grin widely. "My sweet sixteen!"
"…Oh yeah!" Her eyes light up. "Your sixteenth number one!"
"One of these days, I'm going to have a sweet sixteen party for that record," I gush girlishly, and she laughs at me. "I'm serious! That song hitting number one was a really big deal for me. I got to sing it with my favorite band, and we wrote it about people who meant a lot to us."
"Yeah," I nod. "They wrote it for Mikau and I wrote it for Rauru."
"Hey," I chuckle. "He may not have been my favorite person, but he guided me to success despite how he did it. I owe a lot to him."
"Ohh," she finishes the last of her water. "Is that your favorite song off the album?"
"It's one of them," I answer. "My number one favorite is "Starry Night"."
"Really?" Her eyebrows go up. "Why?"
"It has this really soft, downhome R&B feel to it. It's very reminiscent of the 70s when I listen to it, and the bassline is so infectious…" I gush. "But what I love the most about it is the message. I wrote it with Link in mind… It's basically retelling our first kiss four years ago."
Part of it is also about our first night on my 21st birthday and our first anniversary… But I don't think that's appropriate for the interview.
"I see," she nods. "I bet you're happy with this album and the success, right?"
"I am happy," I beam. "I haven't been this happy about an album since…" I pause for a second. "To be honest, this is the first album I'm truly happy with… Moreso, I think this is my only successful album."
"Really?" Her jaw drops. "This is the first album?"
I nod. "The last albums, no matter how successful, I always wanted more… I don't like saying that, because I don't want to sound ungrateful. I am grateful. I can never properly explain how grateful I am that I've sold all these albums and had all these number one singles… The thing that I've wanted from the last three or four albums I never got, but I finally got it with this one."
"…And what's that?" She scoots next to me, practically begging me to get to the point.
"Self-satisfaction… All the other albums were under time constraints… I was always working to meet the deadline at the end, so I didn't have as much time to listen through all the tracks to make sure I was fully satisfied, and I especially didn't have enough time to enjoy myself since time didn't allow for it. When I hear my old songs on the radio or when I play them back on the computer, I always think, 'If only I did that differently', or 'I wish I didn't sing that note'... Things like that. But I was really free on this one. I didn't have a deadline glaring at me the whole time. Link didn't pressure me into working faster. He gave me as much time as I wanted… For the first time, I'm truly satisfied."
"This album was all about the music," I smile proudly. "And the fans that would be listening to it. They're the ones who keep me going. When I'm feeling sad, I look through their scrapbooks and letters they send me, telling me how much they love my music and how it cheers them up when they're feeling sad. When I go out and perform, I can't help but smile at them as they sing the lyrics I wrote back to me. When I first started out, success and satisfaction was seeing my albums and records soar to the top of the charts. Success and satisfaction was winning all of the music awards… Now, to me, success and satisfaction is meeting the fans and hearing their stories and telling me how much they love my music. Success and satisfaction is now hearing the fans sing my songs—the songs that I wrote from the heart—back to me as I sing it to them. That is now my motivation, my success, and my satisfaction."
Medli beams brightly at me, nodding in approval. "Zelda, I think you'll be just fine from now on."
We both laugh softly, quickly embracing.
"So Zelda," she says. "What's next for you?"
I just smirk and shrug my shoulders. "I don't know. I've decided to focus on right now instead of the future… But what I do know is that for all I care, my next album could sell millions of copies or even just one! …I know Link won't feel the same way…"
We both chuckle light-heartedly, and I shake my head. "Regardless of how much it sells or how many number ones it spawns, as long as the fans are there to support me, then I'll be satisfied."
I'll be seeing you guys back on Charm Bracelet come August 8! I hope you all had an awesome July, and here's to hoping that August will be good to you all.
Enjoy Life and Smile.