Hermione Granger didn't go back to Hogwarts for her last year of studies. Naturally, she didn't graduate either. No one knew where she went, what she was doing or had any information about her. I did overhear some concerned Gryffindors approach the Harry and Ron to enquire about her. But even the infamous Gryffindork could not answer those questions. Where has Granger gone to? This question plagues us all. Some cares less than others, but the topic comes up every now and again in our 7th year.
Personally, I don't think I like her very much. Despite that, she intrigues me. The person that she portrays is too… good. Smart, pretty and kind? That is just too much. Good thing she is annoying as hell, if not I would think she was an angel that lost her way while journeying to heaven. It's disgusting.
After graduation, I set up a record label. I didn't know what I want to do and I have enough money to last me for the next 200 years if I don't die. So I just put money into something that I can maybe develop a liking for. And if that doesn't work out, I will throw money into something and start over. Right now, I have been running this label for almost four years. Being 21 and owning a record label must be many people's dream. In spite of that, I am not feeling it. What is 'it'? 'It' is the feeling you get when you discover a voice that is out of this world! A voice so unique and so versatile that no one can imitate. A voice like it has descended from heaven and hailed from hell at the same time. Maybe. I don't know what I am looking for but I believe that I will know 'it' the moment I hear it.
In the course of these four years, I have auditioned many aspiring bands that want to sign with my label. Of course I did sign with a few and they are doing pretty well in the industry. Come on, a Malfoy with a good business mind is like… a given. Still, there's no one quite like the band I once heard in my drunken state at the graduation celebration that was held in a bar in godknowswhere. That voice, I will remember for all my life. I think it is as close to 'it' as I can ever get. I can't really recall the events that transpired that night, so I can't really say that that voice was 'it'. I'd love to hear it again. So much. Then I can know if it really is as good as I remembered or if I had dreamt that whole thing up. Maybe that's why I set up a record label, to find that voice and if given the chance, I want to record it so it will never be lost again.
Today, a new band is coming to audition. One of my scouts heard them when he was live-house scouting. He got wind that this band has quite a following underground and made a quite a name for themselves. But they are not very interested in signing for a label. So my scout stalked them out for a while and they finally agreed to come listen to what we might have to say. My scout's exact words were "You won't believe such a voice can exist!" I would love to know what kind of voice should not exist.
My secretary knocks on my door and opens it a crack. Enough for her to stick her head in and announce the arrival of the "legendary" band. I got up from my chair and make my way to the meeting room. When I open the door and lay eyes on the woman that sits quietly amongst her band mates, I could hardly believe that is true. Hermione Granger. The woman that has eluded us for the past four years, is just sitting there. She looks up at me with a face devoid of expression. Does she recognize me or not? I decided to play it cool. My scout introduces me to the band and they in turn told me their names. Nick the drummer. Mike the guitarist. Kev the keyboardist. Oli the bassist. Rox the vocalist. Wait a minute. Did she just say her name was Rox? No, her name is Granger! Anyway, I played it cool. If she says she is Rox, then Rox it is.
"Rox? As in short or Roxy or Roxanne?" I enquire.
"Just Rox," she says. Expressionless and unenthused. Like our conversation is the epitome of boredom.
They are a stark contrast from the bands that grace this meeting room. My label specializes in metal music. Nothing too radio friendly, maybe the occasional mainstream rock. Though I cannot really bring myself to like girl-power rock bands much. That's why very little female vocalists catch my attention. Except for Hayley Williams. I like her. The contrast between Rox's band and the other bands that come here is that they don't give off the feeling that they are a metal band. Not one clue. The women are always heavily made up and most of the men would at least have eyeliner on. This is discounting the visual bands. They are a league of their own. Tattoos are a given. And facial piercings too. They would at the very least, dye they hair in a creative way. Rox's band? Nothing. No lip ring, no blue hair, no visible tattoos and not even a trace of makeup. Not even Rox. Just fresh-faced and bored. They even looked like they showered in the morning before coming here. You would not believe how many people don't shower before coming here. The possibility is slightly more than half.
I listen to their reservations about signing with a label, creative limitations, freedom of expression and all that usual stuff. I nod my head to show that I am listening but I really am just checking Rox out. There is not mistake. It is her. Even twins won't be that much alike. I have a knack for telling twins apart and she is definitely Granger. I fight the urge to shine a table lamp in her face and interrogate her until I am satisfied. When the blabbering stopped, I said, "Don't worry too much about the details. Every one of our artistes here signs a tailor-made contract. Which means we can come out with terms we can both agree own. Of course, it has to benefit both sides, but we will try to accommodate as much as possible. Would you guys mind to sing a couple songs first?"
They seem hesitant.
"It is just a formality," I encouraged.
They look at each other and finally agree to do one song. So we all file into a recording booth. They take their positions behind their instruments and me and my scout sits outside with the sound engineer. He gives them a go ahead to start whenever they are ready.
The drummer gives the beat and the guitar starts. Soon after, Rox's voice fills the headphones I have on. A clear, haunting and effortless sound. A little Amy Lee-ish. I am hearing nothing too special right now. Then the pitch of the voice rises into a soprano range. Here, her abilities start to shine a little more. The voice does sound like it has descended from heaven. Like Charlotte Church in her golden years, the 'Voice of an angel' era. By this time the bassist has also started playing, but I can't focus on him at all. The voice is captivating! The strangest thing is that she is just singing a melody to the sound of the alphabet "A" and she already got me hooked. The intro ends and she goes into her first verse, dropping into a Taylor Momsen-ish sound.
I did it on purpose
To catch your attention
Just label me used
I like the abuse.
The lights of the night
Kids out for a fight
Take me along
Let's get lost in neon
Her scratchy, rough voice turns smooth and low for the prechrous.
Nights like this bring trouble
Girls like me are terrible
Maintaining that low register, she increases the decibels and brings the sound to a growl for the chorus.
Call my name
I'm the devil's advocate
Personified, seven deadly sins
If you are Adam, I'll be Eve
Have an apple, my dear
Light us up in hell fire
Such brutal words from a once innocent mouth. She is like Pandora's box. Everything that is bad, dark or wrong in this world is flowing out of that mouth. Encoded in music and lyrics. The song loops back to the first verse, prechorus and then chorus. Then it goes to the bridge.
I am everything that is wrong
I am Pandora's box
Do pardon my thoughts
I was abandoned by God
She begins to scream in the instrumental interlude. Raw and powerful. I have heard female scream before. They always look to be trying too hard to get the balance of the voice strain right. She, on the other hand, seems to be born with that ability. This is truly a screamer that has hailed from hell.
Another round of the chorus and she rounds up her ending by pulling her voice back to from hell and transport it back to heaven. I felt like I have gone to heaven, dropped back to earth, crawled through the sewer and free fall into hell before going back up to heaven again. This cycle going round and round as her voice rise and fall. My scout was right. Her voice is larger than life.
Did Granger always have this potential to be so dark? Her voice can sound like an angel and in a split second turn to something dirty and abused. And those lyrics! Did she write them? How can she let something so sinister pass those lips? She used to lecture Harry and Ron just for cussing. Then it struck me. Her voice is the voice I heard in that dingy bar. I want her voice. I want her voice!
When they are done, I gave them a standing ovation. I bend down to speak into the mike so they can hear me from inside the booth.
"You guys are great. My label will be honored to sign with you," I say.
"No," she replies. Her speaking voice is the same as four years ago.
"We can discuss any terms. Creative freedom, funding, anything, just name it," I generously offer.
She band members seem to be a bit more interested now. Who can resist an offer like this? It is like we are stupidly throwing in money for them to do whatever they want. Even if they don't want to do anything at all. Her band mates huddle around her to discuss amongst themselves in hush tones. I think they finally convinced her to at least engage in discussion because Kev spoke into the mike and said, "Let's talk."
Review and let me know how you want the story to go and I will try to make it happen.