Tonight I had my first gig of my originals.

Well, sort of. It was a songwriting competition - eighteen songwriters, each performing two songs. I decided not to advertise this particular gig just because I felt like it was something of an experiment, but I had a couple of good friends in the audience - people who have been subjected to practically every little revision and roughdraft of my various songs over the months (including a few that are still too rough to post on this site - but fear not, they'll be coming soon).

So this was a real first for me. My first gig of singing/performing my own stuff. I've done classical piano recitals, gigs with my college a cappella singing group, gigs with my jazz band (both of which I've sung lead for on a couple of rare occasions), but I've never sung/performed my own songs.

I was 15th in the lineup, so fairly late in the evening. The event drew some pretty good songwriters in, so it was an entertaining night. It's interesting listening to raw songs - there isn't much people can do production-wise when you're limited to one or two instruments.

I was curious how nervous I'd be, because while I tend to be pretty comfortable on stage, I hadn't done my own songs before. But aside from an elevated pulse, I was all right.

I chose to perform Balancing Above The Air and She Believes. Balancing, because it's easy to play and because most of my friends recommended it as being the most artsy and singer/songwriter-ish... even though it's not one of my personal favorites - I like it musically, but it's just not really about anything. She Believes, because it's definitely my favorite. With the right production I still believe it will sound amazing.

I'm so used to a real piano though. The gig was playing a Kurzweil PC-88 through a sound system, when most people are used to keyboards being a supplementary instrument. It was quiet and without much dynamic range - wasn't able to get the musicality out of it that I needed.

But the performance went well I thought. I was surprised at how relaxed and focused I felt up there. Apparently I'm pretty comfortable performing. I had one memory slip in She Believes in the left hand, but no one noticed because I had my man Chris Gustafson playing the upright bass at the same time.

Afterward is when I got jittery, I seriously needed to shake some things out. Later in the night I was pleased to get good comments on my singing voice, of all things - after earlier in the day remarking about how I thought that was my weak point. And I met some other good players that I'm hoping to see playing out again - Chris Kokesh, Lupe, Paola Maya. Also some other players I've met before that did very well - Dan Lowe, Ron Shaffer, Dan Weber. Some other newer names that I haven't met before but I'll have to catch them at the next gig.

The next gig! Ulp!