rom Rick Hill, President

It took me a long time to figure out that, no matter how good a singer, songwriter or guitarist I was, there was still something missing. When I saw groups like Robin and Linda Williams, Kim and Reggie Harris, Arlo Guthrie and others I began to see that there was much more to a performance than simply presenting some songs. A good performer will create an experience for the audience. The audience will leave that performance feeling changed – uplifted, challenged, energized, etc. For a performer that means more than just putting out some fancy guitar licks, or hitting each note perfectly. It means really connecting with the audience. That connection is through eye contact, conversation, or singing aboout shared experiences.

All of that is no easy feat. It takes practice – in front of an audience. It can be practiced at open mics, showcases, music circles, etc. It means breaking down what theater people call the fourth wall and interacting with yoour audience. For every performer it will be different. Some tell jokes, some tell stories, some walk into the audience and engage them that way. One time I was performing with the Barefoot Boys and Rich Bala, our lead singer, couldn’t decide what song to sing next. So he sent the set list out into the audience and let them decide what song we shoould sing next. It was hilarious! And it really got the audience engaged! They had a great time, we had a grreat time.

If you are a new performer, work hard at making eye contact with folks in the audience. Be friendly, engaging, approachable. It will make a huge difference in your show!