Still learning how to be me. In the comfort of my home, it’s pretty easy. But when I head toward the stage it becomes a daunting task, even after all these years. To be my truest self in front of a bunch of strangers is the most unsettling thing. I keep thinking it should get easier.
I stand up there with words and music that come from my soul, and put it before people I do not know, for their approval. What a bizarre activity when you really think about it. My deepest motivation has been to give something, to share something real, in the hopes that the audience and I might be transformed together. Lofty eh?
A fellow musician friend of mine shared with me why he stuck to doing cover songs. He said, ‘If I do covers and they don’t like it, who cares? But if I do my originals and they don’t like it, then they are rejecting me.’ Well put. That is how it feels.
For me it’s always been a crap shoot. Some nights I get lucky, I win because I didn’t get the better of myself, and other nights well, it’s a whole other story. I mess up my playing, I forget the words, I completely f*ck it all up. Why? Because I’m my own worst enemy. I am a believer in the power of our own thoughts and words to create our reality, apparently I still need to hone this skill!! Tuesday night, I created a heckler at Club Helsinki. No other performer heard from this guy but me. I opened my mouth to speak a bit before I played and from the shadows I hear, “just sing”. Yea. OK.
And I let it ruin my whole experience. I let it take what little confidence I had going in. I let it follow me home and take me down a dark road. Until I finally stopped it cold by realizing that this is what I let happen over and over and over again. Now that I’ve taken responsibility, I look forward to creating a new scenario for myself going forward.
Towne Crier Invitational Finals followup: Well, it was close but no cigar. It was a good crowd, receptive and attentive and I felt that I gave a good performance but I certainly did not go in like a competitor. That might have helped since it was a competition. I’ve never taken the attitude, “I’m the best”, because somewhere along the way I must have decided that would be ‘bad’, it wasn’t ‘nice’. I’m realizing now, that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with, “I’m the best me!”. Another lesson learned. It’s been a good week for that.
I’ve never fit in, and generally I’m ok with that, but when I make it matter, when I try to fit into someone else’s idea of who I should be, I crumble. I’m kind of like that Warner Brothers frog….
Ventured back to Infinity Hall in Norfolk CT on Wednesday. Once again the drive was exquisite. Tommy Emmanuel was playing a sold out show that night in the main hall while open mic went on in the bistro. There was definitely a buzz happening.
The folks at Infinity were kind enough to send a link to this video they took while I was playing Overlap by Ani DiFranco. I also debuted the newest version of Closer and played Amethyst.
It was really fun to see a few familiar faces on my second trip back and I also got to meet some cool new people. The open mic community has such a special vibe and it is where I get the room to experiment with new ideas and material. I will always be forever grateful for that space!
I have always enjoyed the conversations that come along with being a performer. I get to hear about other people’s hopes and dreams. Often around, but not limited to, music. Wednesday was no exception when I chatted briefly with a woman who said she was mustering her courage to do the open mic. I love to encourage people to just go for it!! It seemed that she was concerned about her age as well as her playing, and none of that matters, if something is calling you, you MUST do it! Your soul is requesting your cooperation. The means may not always be the end, what you find along the way, the one thing that leads to another is the stuff of what our life is made!! Don’t wait, don’t hesitate, the universe wants to lead you to your best self. Say YES!!!! And thank you!
If there’s one thing I love about music is that you can always keep learning. Marcus Miller says it well in this video. There is no such thing as a master, because that means you know everything, you’ve learned all you need to learn and that’s impossible.
I couldn’t agree more. I also love what he has to say about soloing. It’s a conversation, not a run-on sentence! It is really about the mindset behind the playing. Either you’re giving an experience to be shared or you’re playing only for yourself.