Sunday, July 15, 2007

What's missing with this songwriter?

We listened to a songwriter today who has the credentials, but for some reason we were unimpressed and the crowd didn't react. She has a great voice, great stage presence, and the music sounded good. So what was missing? Julie and I discussed this and came up with the following reasons (all small points but taken together...).

- The connection with the back-up band was missing. She was snapping her finger in time with a beat that we didn't feel. When I see someone visibly keeping time, I want to feel that time.
- All song introductions started with "this is a song I wrote." She was introduced as a songwriter, so why cover it again? After hearing it for the second and third time, it sounded self-serving.

- There seemed to be a mismatch between her presence, performance, and the songs. Between her credentials, dynamic stage personality, strong voice, and powerful delivery, our expectations were raised pretty high. Yet the songs she was singing weren't that dynamic. For example, poor contrast between the verses and chorus. Phrases had the same length and speed of delivery. With high expectations, we were expecting amazing songs.

She obviously was very talented, so I assume that we caught her on an off day. It could have been the new back-up band or just the mood of the room. However, to me this was a great example of things that I need to be aware.

It was also a reminder that I need to look at the expectations that I create in the audience. So far this has worked in my favor, they expect me to suck, so if I do halfway OK, I've exceeded their expectations.

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