I was leaving the restroom of a local watering hole about a week ago when I was stopped by a woman asking where she knew me from. I didn’t know her (at least I didn’t think I did). After a couple of seconds it came to her. I was a singer songwriter that she saw a few weeks ago at the wonderful Tramontane Cafe in Utica, NY. This was true. I did do an acoustic show there a couple weeks ago and had a great time.
Great crowd, great sound..all in all a perfect evening. This particular person apparently was just at the cafe and had no intention of staying – but ended up having a great time and enjoyed the music and stories (I tend to tell lots of stories when I play listening room shows).
And then she called me out. She started poking me in the chest and said that I needed to not ever apologize for taking my time between tunes and telling stories. That I need to look more people in the eye when I’m singing. The poking continued as she repeated back to me details of the stories behind the songs:
- Spanish woman smoking Lucky Strikes
- Ambassador to the U.N. buying tequila
- Why I enjoy putting names of cities and weather in songs
This was both awesome and scary at the same time. There is definitely a part of me that doesn’t think people are listening in the first place-that thinks that what I have to say isn’t funny relevant or real-that doesn’t want to share a story, because of the inherent vulnerability that presents. But it’s that transparency that also allows people to connect, to have a laugh, or just to relate.
And so I guess what I learned first hand from that experience was that people do listen. Maybe not all people all the time, but whether you’re a musician, a salesman, a business owner, or someone just looking for connection…. it’s the stories we tell to each other (and tell ourselves), verbally and non verbally, that define us. Own Your Story. Give people a reason to connect with your art, your business or just you. Even more important, give others a reason to share their stories with you. I think you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find.
So…. what’s your story?