Up until this point, I hadn't really performed my own music for anyone outside my family and circle of friends. That weekend was the first time I had ever played my own songs for strangers. I remember two things very vividly…1. that it was ridiculously hot outside, and 2. that I was absolutely terrified.
It is a strange experience playing on the street. The whole time, I was hoping that people would walk by and maybe listen for a while, but at the same exact time, the moment anyone would get within ear shot, I would instantly get nervous. I pushed through the building jitters though, and played my heart out. I think I only sold two Cd's that weekend, and handed out about 400 cards, but it was the experience of putting myself out there(and surviving! ha!) that was the most rewarding!
I have been playing live shows pretty consistently since that hot weekend in September. It has taught me a lot about myself, my music, and other people. Here are a few of the lessons I've learned this last year of performing…
1. Don't let anything stop you from doing what you love. It doesn't matter if it seems like no one is listening to your music, or if you screw up the lyrics or hit a wrong chord. It doesn't matter if you don't sell a single CD that night, or if you have an audience of two. The important thing about performing is to BE IN THE MOMENT. As the artist, if you can be in the moment, and enjoy the process of playing songs you are passionate about, then everything else can just fade away.
2. Coffee is one of the greatest creations in all of the lands. The amount of coffee I have consumed in the last year would astound you, but I honestly just can't seem to find a bad time to drink it. (A few times, I have gotten home from a gig, after drinking a couple cups of coffee, feeling like I can take on the world, so I stayed up far too late to write a song. Those are always really good nights!)
3. Never stop improving. I think one of the most important things I have learned from performing is to always strive to make the next show ten times better than the last one. I am a strong believer in the idea that you should give your all every time you perform. I'm not just doing this thing for me. I write and perform to move, to inspire, to encourage other people, and to share with you all a little about my life. This is what I know I have been called to do. So, I will give you everything I've got, every time. That's a promise.