I recently had the amazing opportunity to open for Singer/Songwriter, TiffanyJ. She was hosting a live-stream concert and she was looking for an opening act. I was honestly shocked when she asked me though. Writing music, for me at least, isn't a way for me to be seen. I'm not trying to win a popularity contest or become a superstar. It's simply a way for me to voice my thoughts and opinions. So, when she messaged me about performing, I was genuinely surprised. We had met about three years ago when she was judging a music composition contest that I'd entered one of my original songs in. I ended up winning gold in that competition and she encouraged me to keep going. Little did I know, that three years later she would be asking me to open for her "Solbird Sessions: Songwriter Edition."
I learned three amazing things that night. The first being, "Be consistently yourself." When I met TiffanyJ three years ago, I was just beginning to understand who I was as an artist and as a person. I realized that every time I performed a song that I wrote, I was inviting my audience into my space. So when I performed for her in the contest, I sang the same way I would in my bedroom alone. I didn't try to do fancy runs or play crazy chords on the piano because that's not me. I sang my song, kept it simple, and focused on delivering the message. I was consistently myself, and my consistency and vulnerability showed her that I was genuine. People will never remember what you say unless you made them feel something when you said it. And three years later, she remembered.
The second thing that I learned was, "Be prepared." Preparation is key when it comes to successfully handling great opportunities. All it takes is one failed gig to ruin your name, so it's extremely important to keep your reputation intact. Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of procrastination, and this almost ruined my performance. As the event got closer, I had to be honest and acknowledge that I wasn't allowing myself enough time to properly prepare. I started taking ownership for my actions and changing them. I spent more time practicing and made preparing for the show a priority.
The third thing that I learned, and the most important in my opinion, was, "Be ready to learn." When you excel at something and receive accolades it feels good, but it can also stunt your growth. You can easily get caught up in how good you are and forget how great you could become. There's always room for growth. At TiffanyJ's event, I was reminded of this truth once again. It wasn't my first time performing or even my first time doing a live-stream, but I learned so much. I got a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to successfully pull off a live-stream event, and it takes a lot of work. I learned from the sound and lighting engineers, I learned from the band, I learned from the photographers and videographers, I learned from Tiffany's entourage, and I especially learned from Tiffany herself. I took it all in, and I didn't let my ignorance allow me to be intimidated. I was consistently myself, prepared, and ready to learn.