Day 2 of The Singer-Songwriter Retreat:
One of the most powerful tools an artist has is Vulnerability. It's the reason why the audience shows up: to get to experience themselves emotionally and viscerally through our performance. Most people in our world don't have access to this part of themselves, so they come to see our live shows, listen to our music in their cars, go to museums, movies, and plays… in order to tap-in to themselves and feel again. This is an invaluable resource that we as artists provide to our communities.
When vulnerability is missing from your performance, your producer will try to add a cool filter to your voice, the sound guy will turn up the reverb, the drummer will play a little bit louder… They're doing their best (consciously or subconsciously) to create the 'feeling' of vulnerability and connection. The audience can tell the difference. It feels phony, fake, inauthentic. You can't imitate real. It can't be reproduced or 'added later in the mix.' It's the performer's responsibility to bring the heart of the piece to life.
Q: How do you bring out the vulnerability in your performance?
The stakes of the song must be higher than the stakes of the performer. As performers, we all get nervous, anxious, and/or in our heads: Perhaps we're working with a new producer or we're at a great venue we've been dying to play at or there's someone in the audience we'd love to impress. These are all very real things that every performer experiences, but they have NOTHING to do with the song. So the stakes of the song must be higher than the stakes of the moment. The audience didn't come to see our anxiety or our ego. They came to enter the dream world, to be taken on a ride, to feel themselves deeply. That’s our job as artists and it must come first. (*Read the full post on Vulnerability in the comments below*)