I got a call today from a fellow musician from Danville VA. A mutual friend of ours referred him to me. He called to ask for advice on how to handle his upcoming audition for NBC’s The Voice. After we chatted for a bit, it got me reflecting on my time on the show. It’s obviously one of the highlights of my musical career so far, and I am very grateful for the experience. However, my time on the show taught me a very very valuable lesson. BE YOURSELF!
In my minimal advice to my fellow intentionally unnamed musician from Danville VA, this was the one piece of advice I emphasized. I had battled my nerves during my blind audition to make it into the show. The occasion was overwhelming as I met celebrity judges like Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine, got interviewed by people I had only seen on TV like Carson Daily, and I was promised the opportunity and illusion of the musical career I’d always dreamed of. As my battle rounds crept up, I figured I’d give the people what they want. I forgot everything I’d done to place myself in that position. I forgot to BE MYSELF.
To cut the long story shot, I did a ton of vocal acrobatics during my battle round because I figured that was what America and the judges wanted to see. I forgot that I am more of a painter/story teller. Truth be told, I’m happy I never progressed past the battle rounds. Why? Loosing was never the tragedy for me, but continuing to progress while loosing myself in the process would have been just that. Nowadays I perform all over the country as my truest self. I’m a story telling, always joking, usually goofy, and quite seldom serious performer. I’m a successful touring musician these days with the biggest smile on my face because I’m finally BEING MYSELF
I sometimes feel guilty when I travel to exotic places under the guise of a touring musician. Something about enjoying what you do, and living life in a constant vacation feels…so right. I’ve always said that music is my passport to travel the world, and that sentiment holds very true in my current west coast tour.
Prior to the picture above me, which was by far my favorite, I had played two fantastic Oregon venues (Edgefield Winery and Grand Lodge garage door) to packed rooms. It’s humbling to know that I travel from the east coast to the west, play for a packed room, and some people in the audiences are singing back the lyrics to my ORIGINAL songs. The crowds here have been so warm and refreshingly generous. I brought enough merchandize to last for 10 shows, but I sold out at show number 4.
The picture above is of me with a lovely father and daughter combo whom I had met about a year prior. Apparently they had enjoyed themselves soooo much at that show that they came back for seconds, and this time bearing gifts. Yes, the made me a painting of b-boys, cos b-boys are cool and they think I’m cool. Even though I give my all and more at the shows, I feel like I’ve been getting back way more than I could ever put in at these west coast shows, and it’s instances like this that confirm that feeling.
This kid Daniel jumped on stage and wowed the crowd after his family told me he sang and played guitar at the Edgefield show. I had to get him off the stage quickly before he stole my thunder and tip jar. He had me on Edge 😉
This is mr Mike Jones, who has the coolest rapper name, and looks like santa claus. He told me dirty and bordeline racist jokes all night after the show at Leavenworth…it was worth it 😉
This is the family I lodged with (missing one very special person in this pic) while in Ellensburg. I consider them family. The black guy is me, the dog is Banjo (cool dude that drinks from toilet bowls), and the white guy is Oliver (who almost embarrassed me in basketball, but luckily I know how to cheat).
I’m off to Conway WA for a show tonight at The Conway Muse. So the adventure continues…