Grace Potter appeared on stage with a ghostly energy Sunday night at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She moved about like a wraith as she belted out her heart. The music was good, but that isn’t what kept me watching. Her energetic flailing while lights blasted from behind created a spectacle that enhanced the experience and gave someone like me who had never heard her music before something to enjoy while creating a fan in the process.
Today, I am talking about performance if you couldn’t already tell from the opening paragraph and title. I’m not just talking about stage performance and targeting this post to all you lead singers and music artists out there (and I know there are a lot of you) I am speaking in the broad sense that while your product, joke, song, book, article, or whatever else it is that you have may be great, no one will want to consume it if it is not presented well. Sure you will have a few fans of your work no matter what it is, but to gain and build an audience you have to throw a little glitter on it and name it “Precious.”
Some of you may be reading this and are saying, “Well you don’t have a big audience, so why should I listen to a word you say,” and you are wise to ask that. However, I enjoy writing about what I am currently experiencing and what I have found is that when I package and produce my work in a more consumable and generally appealing why as well as retaining my own creative voice my reach and work grow larger.
This past week I played on the successes of three things with my weekly Friday post to Instagram by combining the success I found with the joke format seen in my “Subway of Silence” sketch, which was shared multiple times and praised by my die hard fans and others alike. The second was continuing the punch line of using Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” to sell my emotion, a sound that has regained popularity with a cover by Disturbed (which I think is garbage) and the viral success of videos of a sad Ben Affleck reacting to news that “Batman v Superman” was a general letdown. The third was playing up the fandom of the HBO series “Game of Thrones” and using the character drama of the show to fuel my joke. All of these things combined resulted in my largest play count in twenty-four hours to date with a total over 400 views on Instagram. (It has now reached over 500)
Again you are probably thinking, “400 views is nothing!” and again I will say that this isn’t about how famous and successful I am now, it is about changing the way I present my jokes in order to harbor a greater reaction and engagement with my audience. Grace Potter could have just stood on stage and sang her songs and left, but she knew the importance of stage presence and performance and how everything we do we should do it big so that everyone, even if you’re not a fan, has to look.