At a recent open mic, an old man reminded me of the importance of stage presence by doing an interpretive dance.
Yes, and he was the best act of the night.
We’ll call this old man Larry. After a few people with their guitars sang a few songs each, Larry got up and announced he’d be reading some of the lyrics he wrote because he forgot to bring his keyboard.
He glared at his notebook through the glasses sitting on his nose. He would read a sentence of lyrics, flip the page, read another sentence of lyrics, and so on.
“These are short,” he told us with a smirk.
He then announced he’d be showing off his dance moves. I had no idea what was about to happen.
After the crowd called the sound man out of the bathroom, he turned on an old R&B tune at Larry’s request.
Then the music took over Larry’s short and stout body. He started shaking his hips, waving his arms in the air, and lip-syncing to the song.
It was amazing to watch.
I was worried he might hurt himself. But he didn’t. No one else seemed worried because everyone was smiling and laughing, and he was too. With no instrument and a desire to have a good time, Larry was making everyone’s night, including his own.
When he finished his performance, everyone clapped and people shouted. He had solidified his position as Best Performance of the night.
And I learned two things about stage presence from watching his performance:
- Stop caring what people think
- Have fun
As a performer, your joy is contagious. People will see how much you don’t care and how much fun you’re having and they will follow suit.
More musicians (like myself) should be more like Larry. And we should all be more like this guy…