How does it feel...?

Yesterday I played the last of two StageIt shows. In case you don’t know what StageIt is, it is an online platform for artists and fans alike. Artists can sit in front of a webcam and play a show and fans can “attend” it from home. It’s a great way for artists to connect to fans they cannot easily connect to - for example for geographical reasons. If I had a fan in Brazil, let’s say, he or she could simply buy a ticket for my StageIt show and see me play, whereas the chances of me touring in Brazil right now are about zero. It works in a way that I set up a show for a certain date and time and fans can purchase a ticket with a virtual currency and can also tip me into a virtual bucket. While I play, there is also a chatroom where fans can communicate with each other or with me.

On Wednesday and Thursday I played a StageIt show of 30mins each (30mins plus 20mins encore is the maximum amount you can play!) to try out new songs. I played songs that might or might not make it onto my new album. I added one cover each show (also covers I had never played before) and two or three of my “old songs”.

So how did it go? 
Well, good, I think. People were very nice and during the second show we even managed my first ever virtual sing-a-long. Very cool! Haha. But boy, I was really nervous before the first show. One of the attendees told me I should try and smile more and that I looked very sad all the time. I wasn’t, I was just super nervous. The truth is… when you have everything set up (I even did clean my living room before) and you have your laptop in place and your microphone and your guitar and your chair and you look at this little countdown that tells you when the show begins… it’s super mega weird. So you click on “Go to stage” and know that all of a sudden people out there can see you and hear what you say but you do not get any direct feedback (yes, there is the chat stream, but it’s too far away to read if you fancy the webcam to film anything more than you mouth) so you basically talk and sing and hope that people can hear you or see you (at one point my screensaver went on and I kind of panicked and stopped in the middle of a song because I was afraid that I’d lose connection to the platform - which must have looked kind of hilarious! Haha!) and you really hope people like it. The weirdest part, however, is when you finish a song. Usually there is some kind of applause, some kind of noise, but during an online show there’s just plain silence… what do you say? how do you react? Usually I go for something like “thank you”… but you cannot thank people if you don’t have any direct reaction… truth is, you really have to get used to it and I felt super strange during the first show (hence the non-smile-agenda!), but towards the end of the first show and especially during the second show I really got used to it.

Singing into a webcam is still weird, don’t get me wrong. It still feels like I’m an online stripper, just without the stripping (although weirdly somebody asked me if I’d intended to play the show naked! Short answer: Nope!), but it is something I can imagine myself doing again in a couple of months. The only thing is, I’d like to keep these shows special. Maybe have topical shows.

Here’s a list of things I can see myself doing: An all piano show. A show about a special artist (only Springsteen covers, only Bob Dylan songs, …) Only songs about a special topic (money, love, happiness, desperation, roadtrip, …) Only play songs I never play live. Play a request show (where people email me song requests and the songs with most requests get played)

I’m sure if I keep thinking about it, I’ll find more cool ideas. Do you have any suggestions? Did you attend one or both of the two shows? What were your experiences and thoughts?

I’m back on the road on Saturday and will blog back soon.

Take care and be nice to other people!

x J

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