A couple months back I was playing disc golf with my buddy Justin in Derby. Afterwards he brought me over to check out the Madison Avenue Central Park and said that the city of Derby was going to have their first art fair and farmers market there, with local vendors, food trucks, and the whole sha-bang! Then he mentioned they were looking for musicians to play throughout the day. I was excited but hesitant to say yes at first because the last year has been pretty rough for number of different health and personal reasons and I also hadn’t played a show in a really long time.
Finding the fire
But my dad once told me that one of the most important questions you have to ask yourself is, “are you putting yourself out there?” Are you doing what you love and are passionate about despite any hurdles you’ve faced or struggles you are facing. So I told Justin to refer me to play at the Derby event, despite not really feeling up to it. I knew that booking the show would push my ass into gear and help pull me out of the funk I was in, so I said yes.
The weeks leading up to the show sucked and I dreaded it. I felt like shit health wise, which has been the main issue over the past year. I’ve dealt with a host of serious symptoms and ailments, and the struggles have made everything harder. So, it was a real challenge preparing for the show, but I knew that if I could put one foot in front of the other and do just a little each day, practicing and rehearsing songs, that it would all pay of once I was up on stage.
Rejecting the fear
The day of the show I woke up and and meditated for a few minutes about the day in front of me, and just thought about being comfortable up on stage sharing my own songs that are very meaningful to me and hoping I could convey that meaningfulness to everyone else at the show.
I arrived a little early to catch the end of my friend Jordan Dee Minnis’s set who was playing before me. We chatted briefly when she was done and then I setup my gear. I felt a little antsy but once I was all setup and plugged in, everything fell into place.
I started playing and a peacefulness came over my anxiety, and suddenly I was alone on stage playing my heart out, no longer worried about anybody else or what they thought. Just playing from the heart for no other reason that my own fulfillment and the need to express the songs that come through me. I locked in and played though my set, feeling awesome the whole time.
All of the health concerns and issues and depression faded away and I was fully in the moment. The show was wonderful and I truly had a great time sharing my songs. The audience was attentive and a real joy to play for. Many people took business cards and chatted with me briefly after the show, expressing their love of my performance. I was overjoyed with the response I got and felt really good about my own performance too, which is sometimes rare as an artist. We always think about what we could’ve done better, or how that part should been this way, and blah blah blah.
Just show up and play
In the end, it’s about preparing and showing up. Sometimes it’s a battle to beat the fear demons in order to do just that, but I saw this video with Will Smith in it where he was talking about skydiving and at one point he said, “on the other side of fear, are the best things in life”, and that really resonated with me. The fear will almost always arise, but gaining the ability to transform the fear into something good or pushing past it is the only way to reach the places you want to reach in life. Thanks for reading. Here’s a song clip from the show!