I went hiking with a friend and a bunch of strangers last year near Seattle. I awkwardly made friends with some of them as we stopped by some waterfalls, took pictures and exchanged some customary niceties. When it was lunch time, we found a space that could accomodate about twelve people and made sandwiches. As I was munching on my lunch, one of the guys that I had "befriended" asked me about my interests. Of course, singing came up and he immediately asked me to sing something for him. Right there. In the mountain. In the middle of all these strangers.
This happens to singers ALL. THE. TIME. Singers get asked to sing at dinner tables when people discover their identity. Or in a car ride, or at a shopping mall. And I get annoyed by it as most singers do.
Over the years, I have developed a way of deflecting the awkward moment and cleverly rejecting the request. "You want me to sing? Get me a stage and a Steinway. Then, I'll sing." Mind you, you have to say this with certain flair and humor as not to be mistaken as a snob. So with humor and primadonna charm, I successfully deflected the opportunity to bust out a "Quando men vo."
A few moments later, as we were in deep conversation about nothing important, I heard a beautiful voice singing in Persian. I looked over and one of the Iranian girls in our group was singing like an angel looking completely comfortable and enjoying herself. I had a brain-freeze. For the first time, I saw how okay it was to sing in an awkward situation and not make it awkward. Hearing her sing was like an unexpected mini-concert in the woodland.
This changed my paradigm of singing in unexpected places. What if singers did sing during those dinner parties, or game nights or in a car ride? Yes, it's awkward and embarrassing. But what if this was considered a marketing tool or a tease to your next performance? It's like you are a live Youtube channel or a Tweeting bird or a Face with a mouth. As long as you are comfortable with it, the audience will love it. They asked for it, didn't they?
I have yet to try this myself and as much as I am dreading it, I am open to trying it. And when I do, rest assured, you will be hearing all about it on my blog.
So, let's get our pipes warmed up!