Last week at VoiceLab a new insight came to me with regard to stage fright and how to handle it:
6. Let YOURSELF be there. You can be onstage and still not be present. Be in the present moment, in the present location, right down to the bad acoustics and the cracks in the floor. Accept yourself where you are. Don’t go to your “happy place” or else pretend to be somewhere (or someone) else. Now, granted, you may be singing something designed to stimulate the imagination, or something that requires you to play a role. That’s okay. What you do is bring that experience into the present, into the very space you’re in. You’re not the one escaping reality; you are giving the audience a chance to escape from the humdrum of life and experience something only you can provide.
And there may be only two people in the audience, or as many as ten thousand. You still have to give them the VIP treatment regardless. The conditions will never be perfect, and neither will you. You may have put on the wrong shoes, or you might have gotten up too late this morning, or there’s a snafu with the sound system. But it’s okay, because you allow it to be. You are whole, complete and perfect right where you are, even if it’s behind chicken wire in the seediest honky-tonk in Alabama. Let everything be as it is, especially yourself.