You Are Only As Good As Your Last Performance

You are only as good as your last performance…

Thats what my old vocal coach used to say.

I fondly remember performing at the International Festival at Bayside High School my sophomore year. I sang the Kelly Price rendition of “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow. ” This sharp dressed Sisqo loving Junior came up to me after seeing the rundown for the show and he said, “If you’re good enough to sing THAT song then you’re good enough to sing with me!” I loved the boldness and accepted the challenge.

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No limitations

The night of the International Festival we performed “We Can’t Be Friends” by Deborah Cox and RL. If I do say so myself,  we sounded AMAZING! The vocals, the riffs, the range, the strength and the talent was undeniable.  I remember my navy blue velvet form fitting dress.  I felt so confident.  When we were done, the accolades never stopped.  When I got to chorus that Monday,  my friend Tareaphe (who is now a music engineer) said, “Do the talent show.  No doubt you’d win!” I appreciated the vote of confidence.  I accepted the challenge.

I went to the auditions and I sang some Barbara Streisand song my mother made me do. No one knew it but they didn’t care. I guess it was an advantage because they didn’t know I messed up either. It sounded good so I made it through!  I was so excited. A senior on the football team whispered, “Yo, you’re going to beat the main broad this year.”

Ha! I can laugh at that now. Who was the “main broad”?! The main broad I’ll leave nameless but we can just say her voice was strong and even though she was no Whitney Houston. . .she was CONFIDENT!

So I went to the talent show determined to beat the “main broad. ” I sang “Nobody’s Supposed to be Here” by Deborah Cox.  I stood there effortlessly singing my heart out and then I got to the climax in the song.

” No no no no no/ no no no no no/ no ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh …

Everyone in the auditorium stood up! All the air in the room when straight to my head! People were screaming my name. So I took the subliminal vote of confidence and I went up another octave. 

“Oooooooooooo ohhhhhhhhhh yea oh yea…”

My left ear popped. Couldn’t hear the music. I went temporarily tone deaf. I couldn’t get back on track. Everyone who was standing started to slowly and awkwardly sit down. I was instantly alone and mortified. 

Well  needless to say, the “main broad” won and my god brother took me to dinner to cheer me up but it didn’t work.

I share this with you because it is a lesson I am still learning.  Stay humble.  Be prepared.  Be smart. Remember that fans are not necessarily friends and they may desert you during those awkward moments when it isn’t cool to cheer for the loser. When you hit the high note but you feel low remember you need to be your own biggest motivator. Just like my couple of days of “stardom”, consistency is important. In this world where moral challenges are prevalent and the unemployment rates are fluctuating YOU have to be able to dig yourself out of temporary funks.  There will always be disparaging remarks but you are only as good as your last performance. 

The world is your stage!

By: Shaun Nickens

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