So, we're about a week into the release of The Sellout and the response has been amazing. The comments have all been so, so very encouraging and showed Love beyond expectation.
I love the project and really feel like it best represents the type of artist I am at this stage of my life, and also stands as a culmination of a lot of work I've put into writing and overall artistic sharpening. I felt a good vibe and a true sense of comfort working in studio with the artists, sound engineer, producers, and everyone else in my inner sanctum of feedback. However, a very real moment of truth comes when you perform live.
Last weekend, I was given an opportunity to perform some joints from the project for the first time, and it definitely didn't go very well. It happens. Some lyrics drifted to the sea of forgetfulness, some cottonmouth overtook my tongue, and crowd connectivity was shaky. It sucked because it was the exact audience and live setting I envisioned rocking music from The Sellout for. For all the audio excellence I am truly proud of as a studio product, I find myself now rediscovering the art of live performance.
I used to love performing live. Pre-married, no kids, single, the elevationists would travel frequently to do events for massive and intimate crowds alike. The stage was home--the easiest part of the day away from event logistics and travel arrangements. What I found out is that I need to again reach for that love of the moment, because I've found myself approaching opportunities with the opposite view and letting outside circumstances ruffle my preparation. Where I would typically feed off awkwardness, sound issues, and spur of the moment changes, I'm fighting through being bothered by them. Internally, too much focus is on me and the way I'd be perceived. *Yuck.
I find myself on a familiar journey, but the first step is a conversation with my Father. I'm determined to start with an intentional focus on trusting His pleasure with the music I make, His help with energy and charisma, and His ability to make it sound beautiful. He has always been my primary audience, applying the least amount of pressure because of His great Love, while enveloping me with His joy to give me strength. I can't avoid the ministerial application in music if I'm to revive what I once relished in. He's the reason, and He's worth it.
So, in whipping myself back into live performance shape, I'm at the right starting point. I don't want to be the dude who makes great music, yet can't bring an in-person presentation of great artistic value. I won't be. I've shaken myself off and I'm excited for the next opportunity.
Ahoy there, you rapper-minister you! I'll see you again soon :)
*shameless plug for Slingshot's new single "Yuck." Check out slingshotmovement.com