Viewing: Open mic performances - View all posts

My great start to 2022! 

Happy new year! How has 2022 started off for you? 

It's been an awesome start for me. First of all, I'm 5 months sober today!! 🥳 I really didn't think that I would be able to do it. But I have. And even though I have my moments when I hate it, I have to admit that the benefits of sobriety are worth it. 

Secondly, I've booked some shows for you! You can check them out here. There are a couple shows left for January. MAKE SURE YOU PUT THEM IN YOUR CALENDAR!! I've left some space open in February because I want to go home. I'll take my piano with me so I might add some shows in Cape Town and online ones.

August is when I decide whether to stay in London or go back home to my beloved South Africa and I want to make sure that I've given it everything I have. So I'm putting myself out there and it's paying off in bookings and exposure! 

I'm also a lot more confident as a songwriter (thanks to sobriety). And with this new found confidence, I've been reworking an old song called Oliver. I am so happy with the result. I'm in the editing phase now, so it should be ready to send out in the next couple weeks. You'll hear the difference. Trust me. 

I've finished the scratch track for Too Many Pieces, which is gonna be my next song for Songlines. I'm going to test out at open mics and am doing my first one tonight. I did a quick sound check of it before I performed at the Midnight Magic Festival on Thursday. You can check out the sound check here.​

Even Paul McCartney gets stage fright 

“Even Paul McCartney used to get stage fright!” My friend told me. I didn’t talk much about it to her, but I could see that she could see I was upset. Another disappointing performance. How many more must I go through?! 

I struggle with stage fright. You wouldn’t think it, but I do. Most people are confused when I tell them about how much I struggle with it. I am clearly extremely good at masking my nerves. it’s the same thing every time before I go on stage: my mind tries to run through the music, which is difficult to do this without an instrument at hand. And when I invariably can’t do it, I start panicking that I will forget the music. Panic takes hold and tensions builds in my forearms. Will my fingers remember what to do??? I try and stop myself from going down that thought experiment but it’s no use. My mind is battling itself. 

A few years ago, I played Take 5 at a music recital. It’s demanding jazz piece. At home, I could play it at double speed without looking at the keyboard. There were about 200 people in the audience that night. 400 eyes were looking at ME. Pianos are savage beasts. Don’t be fooled by them. YOU have to learn to ride them, not the other way around. And you have to make peace with the fact that, at some point, they will throw you off.    

I knew I was going to forget what to do when I got to the climax of the piece. Started playing. Things were going well. Grace and speed. Finger ballet! The invisible audience in my head were not impressed by this dance I put on for them and were setting a trap for me. Tension was building in me as I worked my way to the midsection. 

It happened. I fell. I knew it. Obviously it happened. I blanked out and could not for the life of me remember what to do. The keyboard was a jumble of black and white rectangles that I could no longer read. Imagine not being able to read these words anymore. I must have sat for about 5 seconds in shock and confusion before I turned to the audience and sheepishly said “I’m so sorry, I’ve completely forgotten the music.” 

Cornflake Boy 

Live music is not about perfection, it’s about connection. All your technical skill and prowess is secondary to the connection you have in that moment with the audience. When I turned to the audience and explained what was happening, they understood and started clapping. You see, I was connected to them. Part of my performance that night was to freeze and tell the audience what happened. It could have been anything else…I could have sung the next part of the song and started clapping. Anything. 

Mistakes are inevitable and are chances for you to connect with people. 

Next time, this Cornflake Boy will keep performing. Live performance is one big fucking mistake made beautiful. It’s about preparation and then surrender to the moment. Surrender to the moment is where the magic happens. 

Once your art is ‘out there,’ it is no longer yours. You don’t own or control it anymore. It belongs to the Furies. 

Pandora 

Sometimes I wish that I had never come to London. I miss that version of myself that didn’t know anything about living outside of South Africa. 

How could I ever go back home and forget about what life in London offered? Would I be constantly comparing my life here to that in South Africa? Where is home for me now? If my parents come back to the UK, would I still go home? Where will I be buried when I die? These are where my thoughts are. 

I was taught to play guitar by a legendary South African musician, Syd Kitchen. I admire Syd (he’s passed away now). I admire his commitment to what he wanted to do. He forgo the temptations of opportunities that brightly lit cities offers highly skilled musicians and stayed in eThekwini. 

I look at so many South African artists with envy who are doing what they love from Mnzansi. At what point do I choose happiness over opportunity? I know that happiness is paramount and I made the choice to leave home with eyes wide open. 

Fake Spirituality 

Alcohol made me feel intensely and deeply. I was constantly chasing that sense of connection. To what? I have no idea. I now see that it prevented me from feeling very much when I wasn’t having a drink. Alcohol gives fake spiritual experiences. I use “spiritual” with some discomfort. I can’t find a word to describe the category of feelings. But make no mistake, it has nothing to do with god. 

I have very little desire to drink these days. I am very glad that it’s out of my life for now and I don’t even think about it that much anymore. I have so much catching up to do and healing from the damage that it did to me. Alcohol takes everything from you and gives nothing back. 

Last but not least… 

…I have been booked for my first ticketed and paid-for performance! OMG. I am thrilled and terrified at the same time. It’s at Moustache Bar in London on 5 December. I’m working on some new songs to play and I will throw in a couple old ones. I have 25 minute set and will be performing for reals in front of about 100 people! 

So things are finally kicking off for me!

I'm revamping and performing! 

Hey! 

How are you doing? I hope that you’ve been well since the last time we spoke! 

I’m doing really well and I want to share some of that goodness with you ❤️ 

All credit goes to my sobriety. Aside from a slip about a month ago, I haven’t been drinking alcohol since 20 May. I’m also trying to kick coffee, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish 🐠🐡 

How has sobriety helped me? Well, no more anxiety! I sleep so well! My moods are more even! My brain is focused like a laser beam! And all of these have helped me begin carving out a place for myself as a musician and develop the focus I need. Because of that, I have been able to write the kind of music that is meaningful to me. 

So here’s what I’ve been up to: 

A revamped Oliver 

I’ve revamped an old song of mine, Oliver, which is also my favorite. Prior to rewriting it, it was half sketched and that was irritating me immensely because I couldn’t build the necessary muscle memory to improvise or help me out when I blanked out mid performance. I am so, so, so proud of Oliver and what I’ve been able to do with it. I’m busy practicing it at the moment to record and hopefully will have it released in the next couple weeks.

I'm getting myself out there 🧜🏽‍♂️🕺🏾🎤 

I’m also able to focus my wee brain on performing and getting myself out there now that the lockdown has pretty much gone in the UK. I’ve done quite a few open mics over the past few weeks. I bought a keyboard that I can take to gigs and that has meant I can get to A LOT more performing opportunities. So I’ve dove right in. 

Some of my open mics have gone extremely well. I did a performance a couple weeks ago where several people came up to me to congratulate me. I’m doing a collaboration performance in the next few weeks with one of the other performers from an open mic I played at a few weeks ago. I am so chuffed with myself. I’m still doing mostly covers as I build my confidence , which is my focus for now. I’m going to start doing more of my own material so that I can start building a performance strategy. 

I did a performance at a queer music night, which was quite a learning experience. The lesson I learned is that I need to start checking out audiences before I perform so that I can make sure what I do resonates with them. For example, I played a Tori Amos song at this night and it was soooooo not the right audience. This was an audience that came to see LOUD, FIERCE queens, which Im not. Don’t get me wrong, people appreciated it, but I could tell that this was the wrong audience. Aside from that though, it was ALOT of fun. 

Back to Songlines -- Too Many Pieces 🎼🎹 

I’ve also gotten back to Too Many Pieces (part of my Songlines album). Thank the lord! It’s quite a fun song about a topic that I think will resonate with a lot of people — giving too much of yourself away to others. I’m taking it easy with this song because Oliver was quite an intense writing experience. I’m planning to have a recording ready to start playing at open mics. From there I’ll see how it’s received and take it further. 

So that’s me. I just wanted to let you know what I’ve been up to and see how you’re doing. 

Have a great day! 😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😘😘😘 

Sibuor

My first post-lockdown performance 

so my performance last night went soooooooo well. I’m so happy about it. I’m actually typing this after coming off stage from an impromptu performance in Camden town 😝 

I performed at the 21 June Acoustify open mic night at the Hope & Anchor in Brixton. I played Elton John's "Your Song" and Tori Amos' "Cornflake Girl." I was super nervous but it was a very supportive crowd and I had a great time. Unfortunately my camera didn’t record the video for some reason, argh! At one point I looked up and ther were like four photographers in my face….my megastar moment 😂 here are some of the photos.

Never was a cornflake girl!

Thought it was a good solution, hanging with the raisin girls.

And you can tell everybody

This is your song.