Last weekend I went to Playlist Live in Orlando, Florida. It was my second time going to this event, the first being in 2014. It was at a different venue and immediately felt bigger and scarier – but in a good way.
I’m usually really good at combatting jet lag but on my first morning in Orlando I was wide awake so early that I’d gone for a run and done yoga all before 8am. Needless to say, that was the last time that happened over weekend. As soon as Playlist Live began I was in ‘convention time-zone’. It’s a thing: three hours sleep each night; on your feet all day; forgetting to eat; lots of alcohol; dancing and napping.
Woken up from my nap with makeup all over my face pic.twitter.com/pTrkUFeqVv
— Hannah Witton (@hannahwitton) April 23, 2016
So my voice. This is a big deal for me – I didn’t lose my voice! If you know me or have ever met me at a convention you’ll know that by the end of day one I have no voice. And I don’t just mean a strained voice like everyone else. No. Voice. Can’t. Speak. I would also just lose my voice from nights out or being in loud bars.
Anyway, I decided that enough was enough and I went to my doctor about it. They referred me to ENT (ears, nose, throat) and had a tube shoved up my nose and down my throat to check it out and low and behold! there was swelling, irritation and soreness. They speculated that I might have a cyst or nodes. Although this sucks I was actually really happy that there was really something wrong with me because a lot of my friends just said I lost my voice because I was loud and talked a lot.
I was referred to therapy, I had a few sessions over a couple months and did my voice exercises every day. I went back to have another tube up my nose (really unpleasant btw) and they noticed improvement! I knew that I could feel I was speaking differently but I was so happy and shocked that they could see visible improvement. BUT nothing was real until I’d put my voice to the test and Playlist Live was going to be that test. AND MY VOICE SURVIVED. Yes it was strained but so was everyone else’s voices! By the end of a long weekend talking constantly, meeting people and partying I could still speak.
You might be wondering why I’m telling you this but you have no idea how much this means to me. Losing my voice would make me feel really down about myself and it made me feel like I couldn’t do my job properly. So yeah, that’s my big news from Playlist Live. Obviously lots of other cool stuff happened too so I’m just going to list them here and add some of the few pictures I took.
(side note: if you were wondering all my appointments, therapy and tubes down my throat were free on the NHS #SaveOurNHS)
- Four hour meet up – it was so cool meeting some of you! I was running on three hours sleep but your energy gave me energy. Also, was wearing the same outfit I wore at the party the night before and spilt beer in my hair that I hadn’t washed out. Evan said it was very “on brand”.
- Panels! I spoke on 2 panels, ‘Crossing Over’ and ‘YouTube as a Resume’ and I moderated another that was on a big stage! (I wasn’t expecting that, I was very very nervous before hand) about ‘Growing up as a YouTuber’. I love talking on panels, it’s definitely on my favourite things about my job. Please ask me questions about my job that I love! I have so many answers!
- Busy busy – I had a very packed out schedule at Playlist Live and it was one of the first times at a convention that I felt like I was actually working (it’s your job, Hannah, you should feel like you’re working all the time). But I realise how privileged I am that I do this as my main source of income.
- Disney and Universal! Before Playlist Live I went to Disney World with friends and it was amazing. I hadn’t been in 20 years and I barely remember that first time. Next year I definitely want to go back and do more days at Disney. And on the final night of Playlist Live they opened up Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios for guests. We had the whole park to ourselves and there were no queues. It was incredible. I’m spoilt now. I’ll never be able to queue for a ride ever again.
Thanks for an amazing weekend, Playlist Live! The next convention I’m going to is VidCon so hopefully see some of you there and *fingers crossed* my voice stays again! Let me know which conventions you’ve been to and what are your favourites.