How important is self esteem to your audience? I’ve been pondering this question quite a lot since last Tuesday…when a couple of producers who were interested in perhaps featuring me and my music in a TV series that they’re shooting in different cities around the world came to the show. I was very nervous of course, and to add a little more pressure I had planned a mostly looping set including a total a Capella improv piece. Due to nervousness, I did what I normally do…which is to make self-deprecating jokes.
At the end of the show, it seems that both producers really liked the music, but one in particular didn’t like my stage presence at all. The self-deprecation was annoying to him and he felt that it just wasn’t what he needed for the show. (this is what I gathered after chatting with the other producer/filmmaker that stayed) To be fair, there is a difference in how I perform to a room full of mates (which this show certainly was, and how I perform on a large stage to hundreds (or thousands) of people whom I don’t know.
There’s certainly a lesson to be learned here. Music is the one thing in my life that I am confident about. So why do I feel the need to apologise for myself on stage if I make a mistake? Am I spending precious time internally focused when I should be spending time connecting with my audience? I do know one thing for sure; when I open up and talk about myself and explain what my songs mean to me, I sell a lot more CDs and people stay to chat after the show. If I can’t show the audience that I believe that I’m worth the six squids they just spent to see me, or the time they took to travel to the venue…do you think they’re going to think I am worth it?
The audience has no idea how long I’ve been writing songs, or busting my ass to make a living in this business and probably most of them don’t really care. They came out to be entertained…to a PERFORMANCE, and me being apologetic about dropping a D chord on the 2nd verse of Morgantown and Montreal isn’t nearly as interesting to them as me telling the story of what the song is about. About the last night I spent with my friend before he was in a horrible car accident, and the guilt associated with moving on with your life and having to leave people you love behind. How life moves on after you do and people who were once your whole world get hurt….people are born, people die, and you can’t stop any of it. A lot more interesting eh?
The truth is, I’m always going to be a little awkward on stage; I’m awkward in person. I’ve spent enough time in my life trying to force myself into roles that don’t fit…trying to be things I’m not. I’m not going to change everything I do based on the opinion of someone I don’t know who has seen me perform one time. But I can learn from the experience and keep in it mind in the future. The whole reason I perform is to share little snippets of my life. I’ve created little snow globes out of experiences and I shake ’em all up once in a while for you to see. The next time I do this, I’ll try and tell you more stories about the snow, I promise.