Today, I'd like to share my recent experience of returning to the stage to perform only my songs. I was unexpectedly invited to play at the Danny Kyle Open Stage in Glasgow, Scotland, and it turned out to be a fabulous experience.
With music, no matter how much you practice and try to keep some of your songs in mind, going on stage sporadically can make the experience quite challenging. This time, I decided to perform mainly pieces that I've never played live before, which added an extra layer of difficulty. This wouldn't be an issue if you could dedicate your entire life to music, waking up in the morning to practice, write new songs, or spend time in the studio producing and arranging music before going on stage most nights.
That was my original plan when I was 12, and although I got close to that lifestyle a few times in my life, it unfortunately didn't stick. Since moving to the UK, I've continued to play live, mainly for private events once or twice a month, incorporating some of my original songs into the repertoire. However, in this context, the audience isn't necessarily focused on you all the time, so the level of tension is much less. You're mainly concerned about making sure all your equipment functions perfectly when you turn it on.
Then, three weeks ago, I received an invitation for a 20-minute slot located almost 8 hours away from London, performing in front of an audience of 300 people. The prospect was both intimidating and exhilarating. Rather than opting for the safe route, I chose to embrace the challenge, taking risks that quickened my heartbeat and provided me with a broader perspective. This decision included the daring choice to perform songs I had never played before, adding an extra layer of excitement and uncertainty to the experience. So, I took my guitar, put it in the boot of my car, and drove 400 miles to get to Scotland. It had been almost 20 years since the last time I explored that beautiful country, and Glasgow turned out to be an unexpected surprise—a beautiful and friendly city where I would love to return, perhaps to play a full concert.
Going back to the battle plan, I compressed six songs into 20 minutes, which meant jumping on stage, plugging in the guitar, playing, and not talking too much. The initial challenge? Finding time for a comprehensive rehearsal proved elusive. Practicing mostly at night to avoid disturbing neighbours left me uncertain about how the new songs would resonate when amplified.
The second significant challenge unfolded upon arrival – the realization that the four acts sharing the stage with me that afternoon were exceptionally skilled. Rather than providing a calming perspective, this unexpected discovery injected an additional surge of adrenaline into the already charged atmosphere.
Curious about how it went? Actually quite well, considering, with a few mistakes and an amazing audience that seemed to enjoy all the songs. I can't say if they were being polite or genuinely appreciated the performance, but I felt great energy coming from them, and I loved every minute on that stage. So, thanks to Liz Clark for giving me this opportunity, the fantastic team of technicians for their help, and the wonderful Glaswegians!
Below, you can watch an extract of the performance. I hope you enjoy it, and who knows, maybe one day I'll be able to play these songs live for you!
Songs order: Saltimbanco - Make it Right - Snow - Fragile - Haze - A Better Place