Yesterday I had a television taping on a local channel here in Philadelphia. In my career I have had many to this date. However, I had to overcome several things to get to this point of feeling comfortable when doing a television show. When I first performed on television, I had someone tape it. When I eventually saw the tape, I did not like what I saw. I was playing with my head down through most of the filming, and I could not even tell who I was. At that point I realized I needed to change the way I played. It looked as though I was so shy that I couldn’t face the camera. When I was younger I do admit that I was “extremely” shy. In fact, many of the girls used to laugh at how shy I was (and rightfully so… I was a mess). I had to change this, so the very first thing I worked on was changing the “way” I played. I looked at film footage of other professional players and I noticed that most (if not all) learned how to play their instruments without having to look down at them. That means they could play and keep their heads up without making a mistake. I worked diligently on this and I eventually managed to conquer it. Now I can play my bass guitar while keeping my head up. In fact, I can sing and play, hold a conversation and play and even watch television while playing and not have to worry about missing a note. After this, I had to work on my own psychological state. I had to look confident onstage, which meant that I had to feel confident in order to look confident. For this I also watched how other performers acted onstage. You can learn a lot from watching others. I took it all in. It finally got to the point where I just imagined myself being superior to the audience (not in an overconfident way) and addressing the crowd as though I actually had the advantage. It worked, and now I can honestly say that I am much more comfortable performing in front of 3 hundred thousand people than I am performing in front of 3. I “love” large crowds now, and if there are television crews filming us I will gladly be the “first one” to stick my face in the camera. When I did the touring thing the stage crew gave me my own riser platform where I could do anything I wanted while playing. I would often jump up and down, dance around and make faces with people in the audience. Yes, I was a mess (but a happy one). I still love the stage and huge audiences. Michael Jackson once said that performing onstage is the best feeling in the world (and I would have to say that he was right). When I performed years ago for the Republican National convention the (then) speaker of the house (Trent Lott) told me that I was about to perform in front of 10.5 million people. He then asked me if I as nervous. My response to him was “No… are you?”). I love music, and I love the stage, and I love television. My shyness isn’t gone altogether, but onstage it is no longer an issue. Confidence can go a long way… once you incorporate it.. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Legendary blues singer Bonnie Raitt in concert with Brett Jolly on bass