Another A-hole with an opinion, volume 14! Performing

After our last show at Pianos, I started thinking about live performance in general. When I was growing up, I was incredibly shy and had trouble interacting with anyone but my friends. I even struggled being myself around my family. On the flip side, I remember being really comfortable whenever I was performing for people. I wasn't exactly an "entertainer/child prodigy" type, but I was really into break-dancing and performed at a few Bar Mitzvah's, weddings, etc for money. I had absolutely no trouble getting up in front of people and doing my thing. When I was a little older, a friend and I created a duo called "Emma & Gahildali" - a comedy sketch based on two old lady characters who were modeled after the "I've fallen and I can't get up" commercial. In our 7th grade English class, we would get in front of the entire class and perform as this duo and our classmates loved it. When my parents heard about this, they were like "What? Dan? Really?!" They couldn't believe I could break out of my shell and have the self-assuredness (a.k.a balls) to do this.

As I got a little older, I really started to get into music and began piano lessons. I was actually pretty good and at the time I knew how to read music. I did a few piano recitals and I remember not having any nerves and performing the songs perfectly. I also played the drums briefly, but I never stuck with either instrument. In college I picked up the guitar and started writing songs, but it wasn't until around 2004 that I played my first open mic. If I tried to explain the sheer terror I experienced performing in front of people, it still wouldn't encapsulate how bad it was. For at least a year or two, simply playing a couple songs in front of a small audience had me on the verge of panic - I was sweating, my voice cracking, my hands shaking. Fucking awful. I couldn't believe the paralyzing fear that overtook me - and how different I felt as an adult performing as opposed to a child. But the bottom line is - kids are fearless, the idea of having anything to lose doesn't even enter your mind. As an adult you're an insecure, neurotic mess (ok, I was a neurotic mess). It took me years of open mics and full band shows to get to a point where at the end of the set I didn't simply feel a sense of relief, like "Fuck I'm glad that's over."

I didn't enjoy performing for years, but within the last year or two I've started to become more and more comfortable. There's always a crazy adrenaline rush that comes along with the completion of a performance, similar to the high of your favorite speed of choice (or for you "high on life" peeps, like drinking 10 espressos). But recently the actual performance part has become really enjoyable to me. I'd heard all the time from other performers that they felt more comfortable on stage than in their everyday lives, but I'd never actually felt it. But in the last few shows it's finally hit me, and I've really felt it. I'm still learning and growing as a performer, but I'm getting there. It's an incredible feeling to get back to loving what you do, as opposed to it being a chore.

I guess the main point of this long-winded shpiel is that if you love something, set it freeeee. No no, don't do that. If you love something or even if you're just interested in trying something, DO IT. Life's too fuckin short and the end result is way too rewarding to pass up. There's an incredible feeling that comes along with conquering your fear and achieving your goal. We all experience various degrees of fear every day of our lives, and the idea of putting yourself out there for criticism or ridicule has gotta be at the top of the list of fears. But it's also one of the most important things we as human beings can do to grow. (The more you know, mutha fuckas! lol)

And that's my .00000000002 for the day.

As always, thanks for the support! New shows and tunes coming your way soon.


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