Saturday, June 9, 2012

Is Performance Important for a Songwriter?

That seems like a dumb question, and let me answer it by saying, "Today it is." The world of a singer/songwriter is really the world of performing songwriter, and those are two different things.
  1. I sing. I write songs.
  2. I am a performer who writes songs.
I know some perfectly good songwriters that are terrifically boring to listen to in a live setting. Therefore, I rarely go to their performances, and if I do, it's more about putting a few bucks in the tip jar to support their songwriting. I also know some amazing performers who write fantastic songs.

The Performing Songwriter

Jean Synodinos is a performing songwriter. 

Erika Luckett is a performing songwriter. 

Zoe Lewis is a performing songwriter.

What make these women (and many more) stand out is that there is an element of "theatrics" is their performances. It's not just two hours of story telling and singing. It's personal transformation into something that is partly a character of themselves... or the people they write about. Zoe throws in elements of vaudeville. Erika can throw off a sudden steam of conscious spoken word that would take Whitman to his knees is ecstasy. Jean seems to become the subject of the song, thus moving her performance to the edge of musical theater. 

These women define a subculture that quickens the pace of the craft, and therefore, they help bring their ilk out of obscurity. You don't have to know them or their music, but if you happen upon their shows, you won't forget them. It's magical fan making.

Yeah, So What?

Somewhere, on some blog, I've written about the ongoing challenge that songwriters face to get people to actually COME TO A SHOW.

A little theatrics

Otherwise, you better be the most charming person in town. You better be the master connector. If you aren't, then I suggest you explore the 4th wall idea and learn to perform. 

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, that's right. People are looking for extra ordinary entertainment; a combination of splendid songwriting and theatrical plays, to be specific. The combination of those two will definitely bring the crowd jumping out of their sit. Well, it depends on the type of concert, I suppose. Anyway, that is definitely true for the kind of audience today.

    Kimmy Ely