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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Human


I'm going to admit something, that every performer goes through at one point or another, and it's this: I'm frustrated with my stage confidence.

I've somehow temporarily misplaced my ovaries, and lately on stage I feel so awkward and I know it's because I am not performing enough.

Then, I feel like the compliments I get afterwards are just out of a pity. I know that's not true, but that's how it feels at times. Ahhhh... the performance life.

I went from performing all the time with my bands, or solo stuff, or theater work, then Disney was 5 shows a day/5 days a week, and then back to Canada doing several 30 minutes to 3-hour gigs every month, and now I perform a song or two every couple of months. It's so uncomfortable! It's kind of like riding a bike - or something less pure - but doing it only once a year, and not being warmed up enough. I need my gig to give me a massage or make out with me first ;-)

Certain things like not having a proper sound check, not feeling comfortable with the mic or monitors, can totally throw you off your game as well. "Can you hear me okay?" goes through my mind. Sometimes performing for a huge room of strangers is much easier than a smaller crowd of people you know. Sometimes it's the nicest feeling to look out and see all your friends smiling up at you. Do I really know or remember the lyrics? Or the notes!? Or the script? The choreography? Oh great, my hand won't stop shaking and this cold is giving me a weird inner ear echo thing...

Doing a song or two doesn't give you much time to warm up, but then a gig I recently did that was 30 minutes also wasn't enough. I could have used another 15-30 minutes to have felt natural. Or maybe... I've mutated into a robot performer, and what I'm experiencing now is all too human for me. Pumping out shows (no pun intended) day after day, or for several hours has your muscle memory working for you, and your mind is at ease to be playful with the crowd.

I crave that feeling I've had so many times in the past where I can get lost in the music and relax and not have it be so much about being a 'personality', and that my persona will just form from the music I'm enjoying while producing it live. Performing solo is tricky too. On one hand, you have total control, on the other hand - you're all alone and it's all on you. Wah!


I have some gigs lined up to perform with a friend, and I look forward to this. Performing with others is quite nice, except for when they're late for the gig and don't remember the songs, or are too stoned or drunk to perform.

On the flip-side, I find this all very strange since I have absolutely no problem taking it all off to pose for life-drawing classes. But then again, it does make sense. I literally have nothing to hide, it's just me, this is what I have to offer. Performing a skill like playing an instrument, or singing, or acting, sharing your creation leaves you feeling more vulnerable than having no clothes on. Crazy, no?

This comes and goes for me. I wasn't nervous at all when I first arrived in Berlin. I'd say this didn't really start happening until right before my gigs this past March. I had this pretty bad back in Canada, after returning from Florida, but it went away with just the usual, common 'minutes leading up to the moment of' type of nerves.


The important thing is to just keep going. Immer geradeaus - Always straight ahead. Push through it, because of course it's there inside, we just all have awkward patches to fight through and work out. Human.

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