Last weekend, right before the Words United show, I was backstage seriously nervous. We had been on break for about a month & a half so I haven't performed for awhile. And when you get back on stage after a long break, it's easy to stumble over your poems no matter how well you know them. The week before I stumbled very badly at one of my features so now I was really nervous.
Then I had a conversation with my friend and colleague Lizz Straight before the show & we talked about how the work has to always supersede the artist. In other words, sometimes we get so caught up in our persona- we get caught up in "who we are" & the image we portray- that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to maintain that image when we hit the stage.
However, if we can only remember that we are simply messengers of art- that our work is really the spotlight- then we can get on stage & just let the work do its thing.
So many artists are caught up in who they are that they forget the work is what people came out to see. They want the praise. They want the recognition. And when they have it they have to maintain it but when the work no longer matches the persona, they realize quickly that fame is fleeting like a motherfucker.
Me, I don't want that anymore. I don't want someone saying, "You are awesome! I'm a huge fan of you." Instead, I would rather hear, "I'm a huge fan of your work. Your work has gotten me through some hard times." That's really what's important, you know?
Maybe if we focused on the work & not how we look delivering the work, then perhaps we wouldn't be so nervous.
Yeah, that show turned out to be awesome.
See you all on the road...