Fast track to August 2006. I visit my mum and friends in Australia, one of my dearest being Ross, an old mate from my uni days. I ask him to come over and as he is and always has been a prolific songwriter and great musician, I ask him to bring his guitar and sing me some of his stuff. So he starts strumming and singing away and then asks me if I’d ever heard of a singer called Eva Cassidy. I said, nah, never heard of her. So he plays a couple of her songs and then plays one song from the “Love Actually” soundtrack called “Songbird”. As I had the soundtrack at home and knew the song by heart, I started singing along. Then he plays some other tunes I know and we have a right sing-a-long, like a couple of campers round the fire. And it was during that evening that I decided, man, I miss this, I miss singing, it’s time to take the singing career out of the formaldehyde. So when I returned to Croatia and went back to work, I “Googled” for singing courses. I literally typed in “tečaj pjevanja Zagreb” (singing courses Zagreb) and the first result that popped up was my (now) very dear teacher Baldo Mikulic.

And so the avalanche began. I first of all attended his weekend course. Then started taking weekly private lessons. And then he told me about a choir he had. So I thought, I want to sing as much as possible, why not. For about two and a half years I attended choir when one night, an astounding bearded creature entered the room. He was a bearded creature the likes of I had never seen before. A totally captivating and charismatic creature who filled the room with electricity. Baldo introduced him as Dubravko Lapaine, a didgeridoo player from Zagreb. Cool, I thought, a didge player, just like the folks back home, oh yeah. But I didn’t make too much contact, just a sporadic hi! and full stop. One night he approaches me and starts a conversation with me which went something like this:

“Hi Mary, how are you? I’m Dubravko” and extends his hand to me.

“Hi”, I say

“So, what do you do in life, Mary?”
“Well, I work at ‘The Firm’ as a marketing manager, but it’s not really what I want to do.”
“And, what exactly is it you want to do?”
“This is a bit embarrassing, at my age and having the evidently dream job I have, but what I want to do more than anything is sing.”
(I laugh, embarrassed) “Yeah, sing.”
And with absolutely no qualms he says “Then we have to record you.”

And the rest, as they say is history.

Yeah, funny that wheel of fortune, isn’t it? I often wonder, what if there had never been a piano at my mum’s job? Would I have later taken it up? What if we hadn’t had a record player at home? Or that I’d never seen The Three Tenors’ concert? What if Ross hadn’t sung “Songbird” by Eva Cassidy, who would later become my absolute favourite singer? What if Google had come up with another teacher? And what if Dubravko had never been drawn to chat to me, for absolutely no particular reason at all, that evening? But at the end of the day, these questions are of no importance whatsoever. They belong in a parallel universe, a universe not nearly as lovely as this one that I live in right now.