Why Singers Need To Do Live FB – Instagram – YouTube Shows NOW.

connecting through singing on live social platform shows
Former Disney Coach Jaime Babbitt deals with common excuses and gives motivation for doing live shows on social media

If you’re a performer in these trying times, it may feel like you’re living high up on a tightrope with no net below.

Money is scarce, gigs are cancelled (and continuing to cancel…I just got that call about a bunch of them yesterday, oyyyy) and it’s impossible to plan ahead. Who knows anything about anything? I’m grateful to live in New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo, a level-headed and intelligent leader, gives us a briefing/pep talk every day. So, I decided to channel my inner Cuomo and get real with everybody here.

We have no idea how our respective professional nightmares will shake out/resolve. We have no control over so many aspects of our lives right now. Since that’s the case, we must ask ourselves: what do we have control over? And that’s what we must hold onto, my esteemed friends. 

What You Can Control

We can always control our creative output, even in times of trouble. And that means we must take our spoons out of the Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream (for now) and choose to keep doing what we do, which is: Bringing. Our. Music. To. The. People.

Face it: we can only watch so much TV, cook so much food and read so many articles. 

Forget that you’re performers for a second; don’t you crave watching live entertainment? Think of all the amazing concerts we’re now privy to: The Metropolitan Opera, Bruce Springsteen and Broadway, etc. I’ve seen some great shows: Richard Thompson, Ashley McBryde, Post Malone….so, what are you waiting for? Watch your fair share and when you’re done, get out there and give us what we want!

The Way Forward

Sadly, here are the three main excuses I hear from my students who procrastinate:

1) “I can’t figure out all the logistics…”

My eyes just rolled so far back in my head I saw myself as a child listening to cassettes.

Please, people. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are completely self-explanatory; I don’t need to make this a how-to-give-a-concert-on-Facebook-Insta-blog. Since you’re all much more social media savvy than me (for everyone in the back, I grew up listening to cassettes…), I’ll take it that you have everything you need: instrument, amps, karaoke tracks, voice (and mic if needed), laptop/iPad. 

Plan things out.: make a set list, write your between-song-patter, choose your outfit, makeup, etc., make sure your lighting is ok, as is your sound. Then do one song and see how it looks and feels. THEN, PICK YOUR DATE and invite everyone. Of course you’ll feel overwhelmed if you don’t plan first! Plan, and feel…whelmed.

2) “But I need my band with me…”

Of course! Who doesn’t want their band with them? However, unless you’re fortunate enough to be sheltering in place with your band and all your equipment, you’re on your own, buckaroo. And how terrifying is that? Every bad note, every funny/silly face, every lame joke that comes out of your mouth in between songs is right there, for posterity, with no other sounds to distract anyone from…you! And, while it is terrifying, I hear you praying: “Please, in the name of all that is holy, show me a way that I could mitigate, reduce or ultimately eliminate the amount of boo-boos I make when playing solo…”. 

Poof! The Universe has answered you. Here:

P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E.  

Anticlimactic, yes, but also honest.

So, spend time getting your solo live chops together; since we all have nothing but time because all of our &%$#! gigs have been cancelled, this shouldn’t be a problem.  Notice I said, “do yourself a favor”. This is indeed a big favor because if you’re serious about improving…you will. Read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers: The Story of Success”, and learn about the 10,000 hour rule. (*No need to wait until you’ve put in 10,000 hours to do a live solo show, though. Just being on the path is all you need.)

Practice with video. Film yourself. See the good, bad and the ugly, accept it, do your best to change what you can and move on. Oh, and if you simply can’t bear to see it after you did it…  good news: you can remove your Facebook and live videos anytime! (And more good news: you can save the videos before you delete them, too, so you can chronicle how much you improve as time goes on and you keep practicing!)

An example of one of Singdaptive’s early attempts at an Instagram Live broadcast. It was an interview with two of the founders, Greg and Kathy. If Greg and Kathy can do it, so can you!

3) “What if nobody comes/Why would anybody want to hear little old me?”

These are the questions that I hear most often, and your trepidation is warranted. 

Firstly: Yes, Virginia, it’s possible that no one will show up. But I bet you that won’t happen. I’ll bet you have at least two people who will give you 30-40 minutes of their time during an afternoon/evening (who said you have to start with a long show?). Ask several people you know and trust that you need their help to make time for you. Ask them to ask some people. Learn to be okay asking for help. It can be done.

Do some funny stuff during your shows, like Yungblud, a very cool pop-punk UK artist did: include a short cooking lesson, or a drinking and/or trivia game (if you’re of age; hey, no one’s driving, right?). Take Q&A, do a sing-along…people need fun more than you know!

Secondly: Groucho Marx said, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member…” This, I believe, points to the deep, deep insecurity all performers hold deep, deep down inside, to one degree or another. I’ll postulate that the insecurity is what made us performers in the first place…pay attention to me! I know it did me. 

The Power of Your Music

I figured out a way to turn it around a bit, which I shared in my book, “Working With Your Voice”.  When my dad went to live in a nursing home, I wound up working there, singing for all the residents, both in concerts and at their bedsides. I saw firsthand how the power of music brought them so much joy that it changed the way I looked at performing. I decided to look at it as a healing profession. I decided to look at it as something I could do for others, instead of what it could do for me, to quell my own insecurities. So, I say, “It’s not about you and what you’re getting, it’s about them and what you’re giving.”

So, during this crisis, try to look at your performances as giving others a brief respite, a break from their worries, the news in their city or town, the illness or even death that may have affected them.  You know you need it; why wouldn’t they? And if you possess a talent that can be of service now, why would you withhold it? And my dear readers, this is the exact question I’m posing to myself right now.

(Sighs, walks over to guitar, starts to practice for my own show Don’t worry; I’ll let you know when it is.)

-Jaime

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