Singing Off Key In Front of an Audience

Last week I attended my very first open mic night. It was a weekly event at a local boba shop/cafe where anybody from the audience could go up and perform. There I met an unlikely somebody who had a surprisingly profound impact on me.

His name is Steven, he must have been no more than 20 years old and by all first impressions, seemed like a shy and nervous person. When the shop owner came around for performance sign ups, he signed up to perform a song. When it got to his turn, he strolled up on stage, told everybody that there wouldn’t be any accompanying music track and it would just be him singing, and he proceeded to deliver his rendition of ‘God Bless the Broken Road’ by Rascal Flats to the sounds of awkward silences. It was bad by all accounts, it was off key and it was clear he did not know how to sing.


But he was utterly confident, without a detectable shred nervousness. He did not give a fuck. I don’t think I’ve ever seen confidence like that. Afterwards he sat right behind me and I applauded him for the performance. He told me he just started singing 3 weeks ago.

I have seen public speakers who exude confidence on stage, business owners and CEOs who think they rule the world, comedians who project seemingly untouchable personalities. However none of them come close to Steven, because it’s easy to be confident when people already expect it from you. But nobody was expected this confidence from Steven, yet he had more of it than anyone I’d ever met.

I think I’m a pretty confident person but I could never see myself singing in front of an audience, with no music, knowing that I’m terrible and off key. Well at least I couldn’t see myself doing that a week ago, because now I’m prepping a song to sing in front of an audience for the first time in my life.


It seems to be a tradition now that the banner image little or nothing to do with the article. This banner was a photo I took in Singapore of a cute little cafe/restaurant I passed by when a friend was showing me around one of the many huge malls in the city

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