Please, Sir, can I have some more?
Hello young lovers,
Well, the show is now over. And in my 'never satisfied' fashion, I want more! It was so much fun and I'm ready to do it all over again. I'm experiencing a little bit of the 'show's over' blues. Anyone who has ever done theater or worked hard looking towards a one night affair knows what I mean. There is a big build up of anticipation and preparation - it culminates in a night of adrenalin and fun - and then you crash. Your body, mind, and emotional self are exhausted and you lay like a catatonic on a couch watching "American Pie". So...that already happened.
This morning I was able to get myself up and going, knowing that it is a brand new day - there are more projects to work on - more contacts to make - more songs to write- and more gigs to book! The time for laying about in mourning for the last show is over. I do think that after a week of playing catch up with e-mails and projects I have put to the side - I am going to take that trip up to the big trees. It is time. I'm going to look at it as a journey - a writing exercise, etc. I"m going to bring my guitar and see what happens. I might end up checking out San Francisco as well. I think it will give me some new fodder for songs and also just jumpstart my energy again!
So here is a break down of the show on Saturday. The room was absolutely beautiful! When we showed up, a very talented jazz guitarist was playing on stage and singing old standards. It calmed me right down and Jared and I sat at the bar and went deep in convo for awhile until people started showing up. I did not feel nervous. I felt 'ON.' I felt prepared and professional and ready to kick some ass. Earlier in the week I had realized that there are two very different approaches I take when performing and they lend to very different results.
One approach is to indulge in a great desire I have to have people like me - to impress - and to be perfect. I obsess about each little detail - who is in the house - how they might react to each little thing, etc. In this state I also get overwhelmed with they way I feel in my body. As I'm performing I can feel each twitch in my eye - I'm aware of every movement my mouth makes - or what my hands are doing - it's a self-conscious awareness - and it sucks. I can feel every eye looking at me - and as I'm singing it makes me want to hide. I sing out of a place of emptiness - hoping that the applause and attention will fill me up. This is how I felt the first time I ever performed my songs out live in 2006 at the Lizard Lounge. I had horrible stage fright - and I did not enjoy the experience of performing. That is one of the reasons why it has taken me this long to perform an entire show of my own songs again.
The other approach works about a million-ge-zillion times better and it is the one I took on Saturday. I prepare for the performance. A lot. When I think I have practiced enough and I am now getting to the point that I'm practicing out of fear - I stop. Then I surrender the night to God - to the Universe - to the air - to music - ect. I say - here are my songs, here is my voice, here is my body - use it tonight! And then I know that my only job is to enjoy myself. I know that any mistake or mishap will be handled with grace and is meant to be. I give over control - and get back an overwhelming sense of freedom to enjoy singing and playing music!
I've been learning this for awhile now - that people enjoy performances and music when the performers are enjoying themselves. When music is coming out of a place of joy or love - the vibrations affect everyone in the room and the collective energy rises higher. I know we've all experienced this before. I've experienced it most powerfully when singing with or hearing gospel choirs. They sing and praise and smile with every inch of their bodies and their collective joy permeates the entire room and raises through the ceiling! Even the non-believers can't help but smile and tap their foot! My college group Essence of Joy would find the whitest most tight-lipped, stuck up audiences completely melt into the spirit during a concert! Rising to their feet, clapping, laughing, and smiling. The music was that powerful - because it was not coming out of ego or self-consciousness or selfish desires. It was coming out of a place of pure joy - in my opinion - it was coming out of where God abides. That is the purpose of music to me. To uplift - to love - to bring joy.
So anyway - I HAD A BALL. And because I had a ball - I think my audience did too. We were laughing and smiling and feeling things together. They were with me the whole time and it felt like a really intimate and beautiful night. Each song stood on it's own and I had a great time indulging the little nugget of truth that it expressed with complete abandon. Jared - my adorable companion - did a marvelous job for his first gig EVER! He was funny and poised and played beautifully. We had a few 'clams', as my friend Dave calls them. Little slip ups that where actually kind of big slip ups - but you know what, the best part was that we rolled with it. We laughed and joked about it and moved on. I could feel the audience sighing a breath of relief. There is nothing worse than pretending something really dumb didn't just happen. Use it! It's almost 100% of the time going to get a big laugh.
Another great thing was the response the the music. Every time the audience clapped I felt surprised! I was like, really? You liked it that much? It was awesome! It's so weird when you finally let your art out in public. You worry and worry that people will not like it - but you forget that it is art and that it came from truth. People respond to truth! They love it. Anyway, the other great thing was that each person I talked to after the show had a different favorite song. I found that so delightful! Almost no one mentioned the same song. It made me realize that every ear is different. Everyone in the audience is coming with a different experience, different musical tastes, different preferences. You cannot assume that just because three people love one song - that everyone will favor it. It made me realize that I should put the same value on each of my songs. Each song represents a moment and an emotion - and should stand as a piece of music - on its own - to be enjoyed. Just because one song might be a 'hit' - it does not mean that that is the song that is going to draw a fan in. I actually have found very often that it is the intimate, unknown tracks of artists that make me love them. Their hits are too general - to generic. They draw in a universal ear - but they do not touch my heart. Those are not the songs that made me worship them as artists. So anyway, I learned to value my 'B' sides just as much as my 'A' sides.
25 people came out to see the show - exactly my goal. The promoter had told me that if I got 25 people out - I would get cash money. And so I did. He also loved the set and wants to book me again ASAP!!! So there you have it. I will be talking with Mitch today about my next gig at Room 5. STAY TUNED! It's just going to get better and better. I'm just getting started, baby, and it feels so good.
THANK YOU to everyone who came out on Saturday night. It meant soooo much to me to have a room full of love and support. Special thanks to Jared for all of your hard work, humor, spirit, and sweet sweet guitar playing - to West for video taping the show - to Amanda for snapping photos and giving me a white rose - to Jesse for bringing all your Brooks buddies and loving me- to Nicole for being 'merch' girl on the fly AND offering to promote my next show (you rock) - to Scott for making an amazing poster (you're doing the next one) -to my Italy friends for showering me with love - to Suzanne Kiechle for your guidance, hard work, and support (not sure I could have done this without you) - to Bernie for some last minute guitar support - to Mitch for booking me - and to my extended East Coast family for supporting me from afar!
Friends from Italy: Giselle Wolf, me, Irina Maleeva, Mary Zehnpfennig, and my voice coach, Suzanne Kiechle.
My brother and I. He was late - the cause of my spontaneous cursing on the mic (whoops). Damn Barry Manilo traffic by the Hollywood Bowl!
Nicole Mayne - my friend and new quasi-PR/merchgirl!!!!
Everyone stay tuned for the good looking profesh photos and video clips as well as the next show date!!!
Lots and lots and lots of love. - f
"Sir Duke" - Stevie Wonder
"If you think, you stink" - my former Mary Kay director (yes I sold Mary Kay once.)