Tonight I got to sing on stage for an open mic night with the awesome band I joined, The Crash Recovery. There's so much I want to share, and I can't decide on making a video or writing a book! But bottom line is, I am very grateful to be a part of this project, everything we've done so far is just amazing to me.
We did the open mic night to test out set up and break down and sound for the May 13th show. Good thing we did so because there were issues we were able to recognize and fix. Once we got everything squared away, we performed 1 original song and one cover. The original song is "Burning Slowly", a sort of love song. The cover was "Creep" by Radio Head, which if you've been to Karaoke, you know I love singing that bridge line and I really shine through vocally for it.
Consider it was an open mic night and we were a very very different sound, although the last time I sang there acoustically with my previous band mates the result was pretty much the same... So when I started singing it was all eyes on us. I can have a very soothing voice to the right music, and that's how I sound with this band, soothing, calming... The name "Syren" is appropriate for this type of singing from me.
I don't like to make eye contact when singing, which is funny because I am all about eye contact with everything else like conversation and listening to others, etc... But when singing, I'm showing a vulnerable side of myself, I am sharing something personal whether it is my lyrical content or not, because everything I sing I live when I sing it, I feel it... and so it's hard for me to be a performer when I just want to sing but not necessarily entertain... and yet I did it, I performed, as I have many times.
As I glanced around during the songs I noticed I was being watched. Eye contact happened. This is not uncommon in Open Mics anyway, but I expected more people buried in their phones, this was not the case at all.
I remembered when I was young, teen years, or before... I used to be pushed into singing for events I was in, and I did not want to, unlike tonight of course... But the reason I didn't want to always came back at me...
I would sing and everyone who was just moments before insisting I sing, begging me to sing, urging me, praising me... they made me background noise to their conversations. I didn't want to be ambient music, if I am asked to share something so personal of mine, then yes, it's nerve wrecking when I am left alone even with a room full of people. It's not that they didn't like my singing, that was never a doubt, but perhaps I was missing something before that perhaps I found now... presence?
Is it that I no longer care? I still feel a little awkward standing on stage in the moments when I am waiting for set up. I don't like to talk much on stage, again, opposite when one on one... So I was mostly quiet at first tonight when we were figuring things out, and then I felt it go away, the nervousness of nothing happening. I talked to the sound guy, I made comments to the audience.
When we were up and running, I exclaimed "Hurray! The Crash Recovery" and they all laughed because they new that was our name and they liked my wit at the moment. I followed up with, "A round of water on AJ!" and again they laughed at the silly idea that we were sorry but a round of free water was what was offered.
The music began, I didn't move the way I had planned but it didn't feel right to for some reason... I decided to keep it toned down. I began to sing, and I suppose, without losing my tone of humility, the audience was somewhat mesmerized or entranced... at least they appeared to be. We weren't an exciting up beat sound like the cabaret singer we too enjoyed several acts prior, which the audience cheered for tremendously from amusement over her witty songs... No we were mellow, ambient, soothing, and yet strong...
I know better than to think it was my vocals alone. Yes I get complimented a lot, but not like this. What was different this time when the compliments came my way with, "You have a beautiful voice, I absolutely loved your singing..." The difference was the band. I can be heard and am not being drowned out by loud guitars. And the music, let's be real, is more appealing to a wider spectrum of people. So the music paired with my voice caused an effect which left people wanting us back there again.
After we finished the original song, I engaged more with the audience. I said, "Oh let me introduce us! We are The Crash Recovery. I am Syren. And behind me here are 'Ora-01403' and over here is '404 Not Found'..." the audience laughed because they new that was not his really his name as the band was originally introduced as AJs Crash Recovery, then corrected. The audience found it clever, I was told later, that we were playing into the tech side of everything even with the names... I continued, "And not with us tonight is 'Lady Potsticker' and she's a cute little pup, you'd love her! She is in charge of technologies which is why we had technical difficulties..." and I heard someone say that with me, "... because she isn't here!"
And that simple interaction with them has got to be my most successful audience interaction by myself. I wasn't a performer, we were all friends having a good time together!
I introduced the next song and we performed our version of it. I sing it sweeter until the bridge where I really boom the note. It's always been impressive... I don't even need a microphone at that point. And we ended and of course were applauded, and genuinely so. Memories of high school music classes and our teacher, Mr. Kover, telling us," You don't want pity applause." No... we certainly do not.
So it was a success... two songs for an open mic and it was very rewarding. We got off the stage as fast as we could so others could perform and stayed to support everyone. The coffee shop owner, Rebecca, complimented each one of us individually. She liked The Crash Recovery's Facebook page. She gave be free hard boiled eggs... I know random, but they had them and I was going to buy some to eat as a snack. We gave her band stickers and she was happy about it. I am super glad she enjoyed our art and hope to sing for her many times.
We networked with others. I had given my business card to the cabaret singer, I believe her name was Anna, but I am embarrassed that I might be terribly off on that. But she was awesome!!! I gave her my business card for my photography services, Syren Franco Photography, inside of a felt carrot, I happened to have this felt carrot thing in my purse. It was Easter basket accessories from when I was at my last job. There was another plastic carrot I stuffed into the felt carrot wrapped with my business card and a note that read, "I loved your performance, I'd love to photograph you or even help you make a video!" She appreciated it, but I was so shy after handing it to her, I kept wanting to run off. She kept calling me back asking my name etc. I just didn't want to interfere between her and her friend or perhaps girlfriend is all. And I sensed maybe I was interfering, but alas, mission accomplished and she can call if she needs photos.
Another singer, Tristan, who sings in "Everything Undone" came over to exchange info and exchange shows. We told him we just started. I told him I loved his singing. I had earlier when getting off the stage pointed out we matched as he was wearing red and black and I was wearing my Harley Quinn dress from my ebay store, Nerdy Sweets Boutique.
I talked to a few other singer song writers, all very talented. I am glad they enjoyed and I am glad I got to compliment them on their talent as well!
The Crash Recovery is definitely going to return to Rebecca's Coffee House in San Diego, and maybe we can work something out where we perform there semi regularly for a couple hours at a time... if all goes well and we can bring people out.
On the drive home, my band mates texted me, "Thank you for being an awesome band mate!" The truth is, they are the awesome ones. All I am doing in this project is showing up and singing! They are setting things up and I am just doing whatever they need me to do for them. In Blackwater Prophecy I was met with a lot of resistance from at least one band mate every line up. And no one wanted or was able to perhaps do what it takes financially but I was, again, met with resistance when I would offer to finance it all myself, even though it is my project anymore. But that's neither here nor there and a completely other story I don't care much to vent out.
That's my point... I came across The Crash Recovery without knowing their band name. I auditioned via wave file and they loved it. I found out the name of the song writer is the same as my grandfather who passed away when I was five but is the main reason I am a musician, a singer, at all. And I found out the band name... after last year I feel this band is my crash recovery. After a couple weeks we already had several songs written. Within a month we were recording with a producer, who happened to win a Grammy, which is cool, but what was impressive was his ear for music and vocals! We booked a show at the House of Blues within that same month. We've only been together a month in a half and we're already a heck of a lot further along than I was with any other band in the same time frame!
There is no drama, there is no stress over rehearsals. We just work on our songs, casually even, not that we don't make sure we're playing our parts right, but it feels like there is absolutely no ego and just pure appreciation for each other. And I must wonder... should I even bother resurrecting Blackwater Prophecy? What for? But I will have to eventually, because there is so much music that doesn't fit TCR and I have to get it out of me and on sound waves and not just my thoughts. It's simply not going to be any time soon because I have other things to focus on is all.
The Crash Recovery has a show May 13, Friday, at the House Of Blues. I am excited. I am so excited to be on stage with them as much as we can. I hope to better document our performances by videoing us. But we'll see.
For now, I am so grateful for tonight.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!