I’ve been a semi-professional musician from the age of about 17 for most of my life although I have taken breaks due to the demands of career and life. I usually play bass guitar although I have played rhythm guitar as well. I’ve played just about every style of music from pop through “proper” swing to original music to acoustic.
I’ve played in 10-piece bands and a duo as well as the more usual group sizes. But, I’ve never sang and played solo until recently and it was a real monkey on my back which needed to be got rid of. As I’m going self-employed, I also figured it might be another potential revenue stream to supplement any money I make from playing in my band. So, I learnt a few songs, screwed up my courage and headed off to an open mic night at Loughborough Acoustic Club along with my trusty Ovation Balladeer.
Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of performing on your own. All there is are you, a mic and and a guitar. Plus sheer terror mixed with panic and a gallon of adrenaline coursing through the bloodstream which, by the time you step on stage, has reached a pressure of about 1000 over 300.
I kicked off with “One Too Many Mornings” which is a Dylan song I’ve always loved. About a verse into the song I realised my nerves were ebbing fast and I was beginning to enjoy myself. I ploughed on with the song and did a few more. Before I knew it, my fifteen minutes were up. By then, I didn’t want to stop! I’ll think I will do it again and I might even do a song or two that I’ve written.
If you are thinking of doing your first solo performance my advice would be to pick songs which are easy to play AND suit your voice. It really isn’t a good idea to choose demanding songs because you’ll cock up the chords or turn the higher notes into strangled squeaks because you will be nervous. The songs that work best are ones that everybody knows-if you’re lucky the audience will sing along with you. I’d also recommend relaxing as much as possible and just go for it!