Ever find yourself not connecting with a song? Unable to deliver a great performance? Distracted by how you're doing? You can let go of all that shizzle just like these pros.
I only have to watch KD Lang (above) for 5 seconds and I start getting a lump in my throat. She hides behind nothing, no make up, cleavage, clothes or even gender expectation. I have no more words - just watch it and you'll catch my drift.
Watch Lady Gaga's total commitment to the song with her entire being. I've often thought that Gaga's songs are not really that great but the commitment to every single word she produces captivates me. It's not what she sings, it's how she sings it! Also, see how relaxed her tongue and jaw are. She engages in the right places and relaxes in the right places.
Thom York is a very emotive singer and like Dylan doesn't have an acrobatic voice. Actually some of his songs could be described as a bit 'dull' especially if you don't know the background. But that's not the point, Thom York is totally IN THE MOMENT when he sings. So much so, that sometimes he goes into 'catatonic meltdown' after a show!
I recently came across Tara Brach who is a mindfulness teacher. Her book is called Radical Acceptance. It prompted me to write this note.
We all process the world around us differently. Some of us SEE things clearly, some of us HEAR things clearly and some of FEEL things sharply. Feeling things as your primary way of processing the world can be useful for performing but it does have it drawbacks. (See Thom York). If you are not a kineasethic processor you can train yourself to be (to a degree), you can also develop your connection to your feelings through practice.
The word authentic is bandied around quite readily with regard to seeing a performer 'be themselves'. We say "oo aren't they authentic! They are just being themselves." True authenticity is displayed by the bucket load in the artists to the left. I feel it is a rare thing to come by as it takes courage, maturity and yes, practice. Being authentic, like REALLY authentic means going to dark places with every fibre of your being and fully accepting what you're feeling without blaming it on anyone else. It's going to the places of shame, guilt, envy and greed and consenting to them whole heartedly. (See Lady Gaga's collaboration with Marina Abramovic!) It's naked, it's vulnerable, it's ugly. But in touching that, when there's nothing left to reveal, there YOU are in all your glory.
Knowing yourself doesn't just meaning knowing how you might react in a certain situation. It is something much deeper than that and it comes with a certain level of maturity that in turn comes with self inquiry and deep self investigation. Most of us are unconscious to the fact that we have erected defences in order to avoid feeling stuff. As a performer this is not good. We must take a hammer to them and get radically real about how we are feeling. No more hiding. Tell the truth. The radical over bearing truth, that encompasses all darkness as well as light. The shadow side, if ignored turns into frustration and stress at best and depression and mental/physical illness at it's worst. The gift of performing authentically allows us to express ALL emotions, yes at the risk of upsetting others (see Gaga) but by not giving a rip and doing it anyway, it allows others to radically be themselves too (see Gaga).
Feeling everything is uncomfortable and as humans we naturally edge away from pain, but you can train yourself to sit with it (see Buddhism). And on that note, here's a song that I wrote called Sit and Stay.... it's a darkie.