The Question

If you do something dope and no one is around to see it, is it still dope?

Playing on the age old ‘tree in the forest’ question of life. Does sound rely on someone to hear it?

Last night I found myself wanting to be alone. Drinking in the day through whiskey shots and bottles of cider. Reveling in the phenomenal music being performed that made the dark of night come alive.
I was at the Deli Magazine 10 year anniversary party at Brooklyn Fireproof. The first of 3 this month, in collaboration with the Brooklyn Wildlife crew, featured myself and a host of favorites.

I arrived at 10, approximately an hour before my 11:15pm set. Immediately heading to the back yard stage just in time for the ending of New Mexico transplant, Jenny Wren. She’s singing a. personal favorite, her smoothed out “Juicy” rendition.

Our host lets us know the night was running behind, and I couldn’t be more relieved. On the projected schedule I was listed perform [inside] at the same time as my favorite dancing band, Deathrow Tull. Happy, I engaged myself in the night. Reconnecting with fellow artists, and meeting many new ones as well. We dance. We drink. We’re merry. I find Chicago at the bar in the form of Ace’s Pear Cider. Then suddenly it is time for me to go on.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Brooklyn Fireproof, but that inside room is huge! The ceilings have to be at least 15 feet high. The walls are white from ceiling to the grey floor. No windows. It’s a formidable room from a performance standpoint.

So now I’m standing there, mic in hand, questioning if I should still do this. Laughing because plenty of people asked if I was performing and wanted to see me. Like I wanted to see them. But they are all outside, playing. And I am here, waiting to perform, hoping to compete. Mic in hand “So” I say. Deciding to show process instead of progress. “Fuck it.. I’m gonna rehearse some new stuff. Y’all mind?”

They didn’t.

Shane Maux steps up and offers up some beat box to accompany my set. We flow for ten or so minutes. It’s fun and I forget that barely anyone is there to see it. I got lost in the rhythm and rhyme. The few who did stay and listen were grooving along with out freestyle. After they gave compliments and thanks. I’m grateful to be reminded that at the end of the day, this is what’s important. Connection with the audience. No matter how big or how small, as an artist, my biggest compensation is the connection I have with the audience. No matter the size, it’s about the exchange of creative energy.

So why should I care if anyone sees it?

I shouldn’t right? We all do these things in public because we love it, right? Wrong. We perform because we’re all secretly in need of attention.

No matter how much we love what we do, we share ourselves with others publicly out of a need for validation, connection, love or whatever applies to that performer. For me, it’s connection and acceptance. In all my life, I’ve never felt as alive or understood as I am when I am on a stage. The bigger the audience, the greater the experience for me.

<em>But I am learning size doesn’t mater. At least, it shouldn’t. because otherwise why do I do this when no one is looking. And there in lies the answer.

Its connection that matters.


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