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Sunday Jitters

Who knew? Stage fright…

I was reading a review of Nora Jones’ new CD recently. Say what you will about her, and many of us have said plenty…there is no denying she is a good musician who has written some powerful songs. And, not knowing her personally, I can’t help but feel she is an authentic human being with integrity and passion for what she does. I’m a natural cynic and no huge fan of pop music but even the cynic in me must admit: I like Nora Jones.

A few weeks ago she played an unannounced show of her new material at The Living Room, a NYC, Lower East Side venue that I visit often when I’m in the City (it’s usually free). Obviously she has no problem filling the place…even when it’s “unannounced” and word of mouth promotion…what Nora had to say about the show and  performing new material live really got me to thinking.

Nora Jones is hardly an unknown artist. She has sold millions of records and has played 100’s of shows…but she was quoted in the review, relating just how hard it was to perform her new, unknown material in front of what could only be described as die hard Nora Jones fans. This puzzled me. What’s so hard about playing new songs to people who already love your music? Nice people, like Nora, right? What are they going to do? Boo her? I mean it’s not like she’s  Slayer or some teenaged angst metal band…whose fans might actually do them physical bodily harm if they didn’t like the new material…or if they strayed from the metal formula…witness the Metalica/Lou Reed record…

The more I started thinking about Ms. Jones being apprehensive and worried about whether her fans would like her new music, a big star like Nora Jones!…the more I started thinking about how hard it is for an unknown musician to get up and play their new music in front of strangers, strangers who have no idea who they might be…strangers who in most likelihood popped in to the club or bar just for a drink or to see the headliner, only to come face to face with some unknown singer songwriter! The horror! I have been that stranger! I know you all have been that stranger…you walk into a music joint and bam! some singer songwriter you never heard of  is on stage whining about someone who left them, or the sunset reflecting off the cherry red lips of their first true love…

And singer songwriter? What’s that mean? Anyone can call them self a singer songwriter…never much liked that label…Troubadour…New Troubadour…asshole with a guitar…annoying asshole with a guitar…getting off track here but I do have a point…

I play guitar and write songs. But, I was in a band for so many years I never had to call myself a singer songwriter. I was always  “in a band”, I was the “singer in a band”…I was able to avoid the singer songwriter cliche and now…now…I don’t have a band. I’m a…singer songwriter. I have  a CD coming out next month, and you will hear a drummer, and bass player, and another guitar player…and some really cool cowbell and percussion, and a really cool Hammond B3 sound percolating here and there… listening to the CD you would think I have a band, but I don’t. I am just a bandless, singer songwriter.

A solo, balding, bandless, singer songwriter…If Nora is apprehensive, nervous, or guarded about showcasing her new material, the thought of me playing live, showcasing my new material is suddenly leaving me absolutely terrified! Panic mode. Before reading the Nora Jones article, I would have never thought twice about performing new stuff live, in a club, living room or public place…sure… a bit of the nerves, butterflies, but I’ve spent a lot of hours playing live…with a band, in front of people…now? I have a giant case of what can only be called stage fright.

Stage fright…who knew? As this last year and 1/2 of writing, recording…shamelessly self promoting myself on Face Book, won’t you be my friend?, Twitter @rayosomusic , this Blog!  My Personal Mess rayosomusic.wordpress.com, my website rayosomusic.com, as this last year of  excitement and passion and dreams winds down….I’m left with just one last task….I have to actually play the songs, live, in front of people, solo…I have to perform…I have to deliver the goods…and I have stage fright.

So there you have it…Sunday jitters on a glorious day…I will practice my set list, memorize lyrics, let my fingers walk up and down the fretboard, become one with the music, slip in and out at of that place I go when I’m playing guitar…and await the judgement of friends, acquaintances, and people I will never know…and why? Well, why not? I’m a singer songwriter…

and remember…if you don’t like the music, go out and make some of your own…

see you all soon!

RV

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About My Personal Mess

Musician Songwriter

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