My bucket list has one less item. Last month, I played two songs at the West Coast Songwriters competition, held monthly at Whirlow's on the Miracle Mile.
I must admit that some items on my bucket list will likely never get checked off. I always thought that playing the guitar and singing in front of people, strangers, would be one of them.
I have no fear of public speaking. I also enjoy playing the guitar, and as long as there is no one else in the room, I even enjoy singing. But playing and singing is nothing like speaking or making a presentation. It is terrifying!
Many months ago, Dawn and I started going to the monthly competition to watch our friend Tom play. The competition is an open-mic styled format where members perform original songs and are judged on their songs and overall performance. Dawn and I have known Tom for many years - longer than we've known each other. We used to love to watch his band perform around town. We emptied our living room out many years ago and spent a fun weekend recording his band. I have played the guitar in front of Tom and his band-mates and even played lead guitar on a couple of tracks we recorded. Also, I don't want to brag, but it was me that convinced Tom to play one of his classics, "Crackheads Crossing The Street" at a competition earlier this year. He played it and won best performance!
Every month, Tom tells me I need to sign up for West Coast Songwriters and just get up there and play. I respond the same way every time: "no way, Tom" and then give him a bunch of reasons I could never do it.
I can't sing. I'm not that good of a guitar player. I would freak out under the pressure of being on stage.
He persisted. And then he insisted. Without my knowledge, he signed me up, and paid the $90 annual membership for me. That was the motivation I needed.
Once I learned that he signed me up I bought new guitar strings and started to go through my song book. I haven't written a lot of songs so it didn't take long to narrow the list down to two originals I would be performing (in just over a month). I settled on "Find Your Way", a song I co-wrote with my sister (to which I recently discovered an original, yet never recorded, third verse) and "Are You For Real", a song I wrote in 2003.
Then, on October 12, I grabbed my guitar and headed to Whirlow's. Scared. To. Death. But I did it. And it was so much fun!
Video courtesy of Melissa Wyman - thank you Missy!!!
Sometimes we need help to accomplish our goals. I am grateful to my friend Tom for his help! I would likely have never done this without his encouragement.
And thank you so much to my friends and family that came out to support me that night. It felt wonderful having them out there cheering me on. They all made me feel like a rock star!!! I only told a few people about it - mostly because there was a part of me that thought I might back out at the last minute. The crazy thing is that everyone I told showed up. It was awesome!
I can't wait to do it again!