Category

just do it

Imperfect

By | just do it, little epiphanies, music, performance, the pursuit | 4 Comments

 

Over the years Ive had a weird and unhealthy relationship with performing. I always felt like i never chose this life. It chose me. And because I ‘didnt have a choice’ I felt unqualified to make music b/c I hadnt been trained traditionally. My biggest fear was (and is) playing in front of other musicians b/c it was the one place people would listen to me with critical ears and I would ultimately be exposed for being an imposter – someone who has no idea whether shes playing a Gsus or G7 or Gwhatever. Someone who is faking it until she makes it.

Its a weird feeling thinking of all the doors that have opened up over the past year – wondering how it happened and worrying whether or not I will mess it up. These days I have learned to ask myself a very important question when I get off stage after a bad set: “What do I think happened and what actually happened?“ Reality and perception are two very different things, and often we confuse them and make them the same. This question has really helped to steer me away from those moments when all I wanna do is rip myself apart and say “YOU SUCK! You shouldnt be here. They only clapped b/c thats what theyre supposed to do“. If there is one thing I know now, its that musicians make mistakes…all the time. They just get better at hiding them :) If there is anything else I know, its that the more you practice, the better you get. These are two facts that I wish the 21-year old version of me knew 11 years ago, although to be honest, Im not sure it would have saved me from any of my episodes of self-deprecation.

Ive also begun to tell myself one other thing (this time before I get on stage): “this show is not about you. you are simply the messenger delivering the message. Someone needs to be encouraged. Someone else needs to access a buried emotion. Someone else just really needs to have a good time tonight. Help them do that with your music.“ Reminding myself of this keeps me from wallowing in self pity, constantly apologizing on stage for my imperfections, and making awkward comments to distract people from the fact that I’m very uncomfortable. Over the years, I’ve frozen up on stage out of the fear that I wouldn’t perform flawlessly (ironic), I’ve kept to myself b/c I felt I wasn’t good enough to associate with certain people of a higher musical caliber, I’ve made one apology after another after another.

So you played a song and you hit a wrong note…or two…or three. It’s ok. Now they all know you’re human.  When it comes down to it, music makes people happy, it enriches their lives. And it’s your gift to give to the world. Don’t hoard it. Everybody already knows you’re not perfect, but it finally becomes fun when you accept it.

When You Don’t Know Anybody and Nobody Knows You

By | just do it, year of no fear | No Comments

Week 2, Open Mic 1. The goal was to visit 1 Open Mic every day (Monday thru Thursday) for a month to begin learning the music scene in Philly. But I already know I won’t be accomplishing this because I’m on the road for 1/2 of this month and because I really just don’t want to go to an open mic every single night. when I’m in town. That gets tiring.

As soon as I walked into Second State Lounge (formerly Lickety Split) I nearly walked out. I hate going places by myself…even though that’s essentially what i do for a living. But there’s nothing more sucky than sitting in the back of a bar by yourself drinking a glass of water ( i don’t drink) and then talking to no one…and also avoiding your phone because there is 1% battery left and you wouldn’t be doing anything on it anyhow except pretending that you don’t care you’re by yourself! Haha!

BUT tonight was successful! In hindsight Id like to think of it as an exercise in extrovertism (#fakeword). Hehe. Upon arriving I found a chick named Lisa who hosted the night. I got there signed up for a slot, which was originally for 12:15. Did I really want to sit for 2 hours by myself just to play 3 songs after midnight? No. But I drove a long way. Well…it wasnt really a long way, but it felt like it because there was traffic – ridiculous amounts of traffic on the way and the trip took near 40 minutes when it should have only been 20 (my disapproval of Philly traffic is another rant for another time).  But just as I was signing up, another songwriter came up, said she was leaving, and scratched her name off the list. I got her 11pm slot thus reducing my 2-hours of angsty aloneness to only 1!!! :)

The set went well. Just a few songs that i normally play at shows.  But playing on stage is funny because its sort of the time when you’re allowed to be an extrovert…even if you’re not one. Rules of the game, I guess. And it opens the door for holding conversations after you get off stage. So i basically talked about coming to Philly, being new, being shy, and wanting to know of places to play. After my set I got a chance to talk to alot of people, pass out a few business cards, book an Open Mic featured spot, and learn about a few locals that i should get in contact with. Thanks to Lisa who was sooooo nice and made the night better. I’m telling you – its all about the host. They always set the tone of the night and Lisa did a great job!

The whole night I was thinking of a post I just put up on my Music Marketing blog this week. It was a contributed post by my friend Jerzy Jung. She says this:

My ultimate goal involves success, but lately I’m thinking that my small goals every day should all involve feeling scared and unsure and sucky. But breathlessly, thrillingly sucky, because at least I had the balls to move, to act, and to do my part to create the momentum I want.

I would rather feel scared and unsure and sucky while making an effort to reach my crazy goals than feel accomplished because I did the same old safe thing that will get me absolutely nowhere.  [read Jerzys whole post here]

I love her words because it made me think about how Open Mic in and of itself is arguably a waste of time. But every good thing must start small and in order to make the progress you want you have to start from the ground up – which means going to Open Mic after Open Mic, meeting people, learning how things works, and taking the time to invest in the future by preparing for it now.

Anyhow, Ill be hitting up 2 other open mics this week and I’m looking forward to meeting more people and connecting with the scene a bit more! Maybe another blog will come out of it :)

the end.

 

 

 

#83 Just Do It!

By | just do it, Uncategorized | No Comments

Pick up the phone and act like you belong and have done it a million times and talk to Anybody, with confidence. Don’t let me down!

This is an email I got from a supporter today. I had given him one of those “I don’t think I’m good enough” spiels b/c I was really feeling it. He wasn’t hearin’ it and he totally straight-talked me. I need more people like this person.