Sometimes You Only Get One Song

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“You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” You have probably heard many versions of this quote before, and in my experience, I believe it can ring true as our first impressions can be very powerful. It takes some time to get others to see who you really are if their first impression did not cast you in a good light. I believe it’s also true with artists performing their music. Lately I have noticed how long it takes for me to get really comfortable on stage. I usually start to feel more at ease by the 3rd or 4th song. This is a huge step for me, as at the beginning of my playing out in front of people regularly, it would take me even longer; but lately I have been doing some shows where you only get a few songs, or sometimes just one! Regardless of whether I have longer shows and more time to become comfortable-I don’t have a “first pancake” song-or two, or three to “throw away” before I get really comfortable and start performing to my full potential. What happens to me when I get nervous is my voice goes out and I literally cannot sing that well. Sometimes if I am very nervous, my voice does its own thing and I can sing off key which is embarrassing…that is not the impression I want to make to the audiences I am trying to build up and have return. Again, I have come a long way in feeling more at ease on stage and with myself as a performer, but how can one feel more at ease when you only have one song to make an impression? How can we take that nervous energy that we always consider to be negative, and transform it into something positive?

 In the past, my whole day would be ruined as I tried to lessen the thoughts I had about performing in the evening. Slowly, I got to where I would get half as nervous, then just nervous maybe an hour before a show-but wouldn’t it be great to just be able to walk out on a stage and right away feel comfortable?

 How can we take that “negative” energy and transform it into something more beautiful and positive? I have found that dealing with emotions is a process that is ever changing. Music is such an EMOTIONAL thing, and if you continue to push your boundaries and put yourself out there more and more-it DOES get easier, but there will still be plenty of unpredictable times where nerves will really hit. When you only have that one song-take a moment on stage perhaps to say a few things about the song, center yourself, and take a deep breath; a mini meditation can be helpful. Know that almost all performers go through this, and give yourself a break. Recently, a friend reminded me that a performance is about THE SONG-not you. How can you do this song justice? Put your focus back on the song and not on yourself….

 —-For those folks attending the Far West Folk Alliance conference in Woodland Hills soon- and performing at the Milsaps Coffee House where you only get ONE song-make it a song you know and are really comfortable with! This will automatically eradicate a lot of the “only one song” nerves…


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More writings from Music Emerging:

A Simple Wish

Age is Just a Number: Aging in the Music Industry

Your Music’s Not Literal Enough: Story Songs vs. Poetic Songs

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