This is where I’m posting inspiring quotes about performing live music from people at all stages of their careers. I may even quote you, if you have something inspirational to say about your performing experiences.

Okay, so Nelson Mandela isn’t a musician, but this quote is a favourite of mine. It’s been well-circulated for good reason:

Nelson Mandela

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

From Jimmy Webb (big name composer):

“When I started out, I was absolutely awful, I had no voice, I didn’t have a lot of stage presence and most of the (interpretive) intensity that I brought to the experience was actually terror.” (Jimmy is now a great performing songwriter and has composed numerous hit songs recorded by some of the greatest stars of our time.)

more jimmy webb

From Janis Ian (another big name composer):

“I played the Universal Amphitheater in LA once with Billy Joel as my opening act. (Really.) He did a brilliant, high-energy show that had the audience on its feet, and he completely blew me off the stage. The audience, who were hoping the second half would be as good as the first, was disappointed, and rightly so. Compared to Billy, my band was under-rehearsed, my energy level was nil, and my planning (lights, sound, set list) inadequate at best. I watched people begin to leave halfway through my set, and I barely got an encore, whereas he’d gotten several standing ovations. I was depressed for days, until I forced myself to make a list of why it had happened that way. Once I looked at my list, I realized they were all things I could correct, and set about doing so. It wouldn’t happen now, but I’m glad it happened to me then.”

more janis ian