I recently had the pleasure of seeing Erin Rabitcheff sing live at the Take Me to the River Festival in Hastings-on-Hudson. She told me afterwards that she had overcome terrible stage fright to be there and I was bowled over because you never would have guessed by her soulful, playful performance. I asked her to share her story because it epitomizes the spirit of the #SomeNerve Challenge – facing a fear in order to live life more fully. Or in Erin’s case, to soar onstage. Take a look:
Singing My Way From Fear To Fun!
I was a closet singer/songwriter for a long time so performing at the Take Me To The River! music festival yesterday was a big event in my life. I had to overcome the following fears:
- inviting people to my show
- playing my original songs so people could actually hear them – OMG!
- playing with other musicians – rather than alone – and risking that they may not be perfect
- performing in front of friends and strangers, ugh!
The worst moment I have ever had in performing was going on an audition for a jingle commercial and when I was asked to play one of my songs, my fear was so great, that my hands froze and I couldn’t play. It was a terrible feeling however, it probably couldn’t get worst.
So yesterday, I did it! I performed with my band. My favorite moments were when I was singing my last two songs. I just let go. I felt safe enough to do that. I had learned from showing up at many open mics during the last couple of years that the more I stay present, the better I feel and the better the performance.
One of the major benefits I have received in this process of moving from fear to action is a sense of trust that I haven’t had before. I actually trusted that not everything had to be perfect in order for it to be good or enjoyable yesterday. There were some initial sound problems but rather than let discomfort take over, I kept playing my instrument and singing my song.
There are many elements that come together to make a performance. I am happily finding out that a mistake here and there or a sound problem doesn’t ruin an audience’s experience. The audience doesn’t give up that easily. They want to have a good time and so they are willing to be forgiving if you just keep giving. And for that, I was rewarded with seeing people dancing, smiling and bopping their heads–something that could not have happened had I remained in my closet singing for myself.The feeling of soaring during a song when the band is in sync with you is like no other. Having that feeling and coming down off of it, I just want to do it again. I do music because I have to. I write songs because they literally need to come out and if they don‘t, I don’t feel right with the world. I realized yesterday that singing and performing the songs is fun too. Fun has an important place in our lives and it is definitely OK to value that. I have fun when I play music. Wow, what a concept!
Inspired to face your own fear? Join the #SomeNerve Challenge and you could be featured on Facing Forty Upside Down!