Well, I finally performed at an Open Mic last night.
It was inevitable. My good friend Tap hosts Open Mic nights most Friday nights at a coffee shop where he lives. He performs a lot. My brother has already performed at an Open Mic. Clearly, it was my turn to do it.
I was very nervous – I mean, just a little over a year ago, I wouldn’t let anyone hear my voice. I just sang in my shower. But Tap was always encouraging me to do more with music and to have more confidence with my voice. It is not a great voice by any means, but I realized that singing and playing music is something that makes me happy. And that’s all that matters.
It’s not my first time performing in front of people. Tap and I last performed together at his birthday party in February. I played drums and sang “Bad Romance.” But that’s different – you know the people you are performing in front of, and it’s a relaxed, familiar atmosphere. Most importantly, I wasn’t sober. After four Vodka and Cokes, you’re ready to sing in front of Madison Square Garden. But today was different. Since I had to drive back to my city that same night (an hour and a half drive), I could not rely on liquid courage to get me through my performance.
The evening did not start off auspiciously. I nearly got into ANOTHER WRECK right outside of the coffee shop. Some dude cut me off very badly when I was in a median. I’ve never slammed on my brakes so hard. Thankfully, a collision was avoided and I shakily walked into the shop. I fell asleep on the couch while waiting for Tap. He showed up, and we started rehearsing for the show.
Once the event started, Tap performed solo for the first twenty or thirty minutes. While he was performing, I was really pumped to see one of my oldest blogging friends, Lilibeth, show up with her boyfriend. I’ve known Lilibeth from my Livejournal days and we’ve been online friends for about six years now. But we’ve never met in person! Just like when I met Christina, I was struck by how easily conversation flowed and how awesome Lilibeth is. It was like we’d hung out dozens of times before. I was really happy to meet her after all these years of sharing secrets I feel very fortunate that two of my blogging friends have turned out to be awesome people in real life.
Finally, Tap called me onstage. I was VERY nervous, but also excited. We opened with a duet on “Burning Down the House.” We had only done a half-assed rehearsal of it, so we messed up. But we were laughing so much with our screw-up that it made me feel much more relaxed. I sang “Bitter Heart” by Zee Avi, “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, “Paper Bag” by Fiona Apple, “Heaven Beside You” by Alice in Chains (which Tap and I did as a duet), and “Big Me” by Foo Fighters (you think I’d do my first Open Mic without an homage to my idol?)
I was struck how fast time went by when I was performing, and how much fun I was having. My brother was right – after the initial nervousness, it’s a blast. I can see why people get addicted to performing. I don’t think I was great, but nobody booed me offstage, so that’s all that matters. My friends were complimentary and very kind, which made me feel at ease.
One middle-aged man approached me at our table afterward and said, “So…you…were…the one singing?” I said, “Yes,” a little nervously. ”You did good,” he said. Then he stared at me. Not knowing what to do, I started babbling how Tap was the one who got me into music. He hung around a bit more, staring and muttering. He was clearly very intoxicated. It’s typical that my one groupie of the night would be a slightly creepy, middle-aged drunk man.
Afterward, I had a great time talking with everyone. Unfortunately, I had to leave at 10 pm, since I had a 20K run to do early the next morning. I’ll never forget this experience and I know it will not be my last Open Mic. I’m just so grateful to have the encouragement of my brother and wonderful friends. Maybe it’s not a big deal for most people, but I never thought I would be capable of doing something like this.
P.S. Tap hasn’t posted the videos yet. I need to watch them before I would ever share. In my mind, I didn’t bomb, but maybe the video will reveal otherwise