Updated: Feb 25, 2020
I had two shows tonight, one was a writer's round at the Commodore Grill and another was at Live Oak, two venues on my "hit list" that I was playing at for the first time. Two places where for the most part, the audience actually pays attention, which is always fun. As the venues get bigger and you more prominent, however, the less worthy of being there I can feel sometimes. It doesn’t happen all the time but tonight was one of those times, and in these times I begin to feel like everything I do is incredibly awkward, and I feel like everyone thinks I look incredibly awkward. I don’t think it really comes across that way on the outside, but that’s how I feel inside.
I got through the Commodore performance. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy myself, because the crowd was awesome, very responsive and I love that. I just couldn’t shake the uneasiness. I almost felt naked up there because I was the only one without a guitar. I feel like it makes me automatically seem like less of a legitimate writer (which isn’t true because I hear an entire orchestra in my head when I write.) Normally it doesn’t bother me that much, but when the other three up there know each other’s songs and are picking and singing along, it can be hard not to feel like you’re sticking out, and not in a good way.
I tried to shake it off for my second performance but the feeling lingered. When I was sound checking I accidentally pointed the mic at the monitor and blew all of our ears out. Seconds later I was starting the show.
However, things changed during that show. Ethan Bell (the show's headliner) had a lot of fans and friends in town from the Chicago area, and they were very enthusiastic. When I mentioned Chicago they all cheered wildly and one girl even ran up and gave me a high five. It gave me a positive boost I needed so badly, and they didn’t even realize it. So the next time you go to a show as an audience member, I hope you know you literally have the power to make the performer's day. I appreciate a good crowd so much, and it truly allowed me to get out of my own head and not just get through the performance, but be in the moment and have fun with everyone. It can be so easy to think, "okay, what am I doing with my body right now, please move your body for the love of God so you don't look like an awkward statue" or "oh, that high note is coming, don't crack, don't crack, don't crack" and not even feel like you're in the room. Just a little bit of reassurance on the front end can change all that, and it did.
My family had flown in from Chicago that weekend and having them there was extremely special. My nerves melted away as I sang my song Rome. It was really special to sing the line about talking to my mom on the phone with her in the room. It was the first time she'd heard it live. I didn’t expect to get emotional, but as I was singing I was having actual flashbacks of my entire year leading up to this. Being in my new place alone, working at the ice cream shop, struggling and making small progress each day to finally being on music row playing in front of a great crowd with my family who has supported and encouraged me from the start. I want to make it for them just as bad as I want to for myself.