Open Mics @BerlinUkuleleFestival

You’ve probably read my blog about this years Berliner Ukulele Festival. There were lots of opportunities to play open mics and since I was too chicken to play last time I was here, I wanted to make up for it this year.

Friday

The first opportunity to play was on Friday night at the big open mic opening party of the festival. I was lucky that I got a spot, because the list was full months in advance. I thought a lot about what I wanted to play and then settled on “Der Flaneur“. I knew that it was probably not the best choice since its not a fun song, but I really wanted to bring a German song and show my songwriting skills.

So here’s the video from the big open mic on Friday. I am actually really pleased with how it turned out. The sound on stage was not the best, but I got through the song really well and I wasn’t frightened nervous, but excited nervous to get on stage 🙂

Saturday

There were two open mic sessions on Saturday – both hosted by my friend Marc Gallagher. I got there in time for the first session and got a slot for two songs. That made for a tough choice which songs to pick. I really wanted to play some originals, but I’ve also been working on a new cover that I really love. So I decided on my new cover song “Boom-bang-a-bang”. It was the winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1969 and performed by Lulu. I fell in love with the song when I was listening through all the winning songs on my way to this years Austrian Ukulele Festival. I instantly knew that I needed this song in my repertoir and was working on it with both my vocal coach and my ukulele teacher on it in the last couple of weeks before the festival.

So here’s the video:

For my second song I really wanted to do an original. When I saw that the open mic was going to be unplugged, I got a bit nervous about performing my original songs. It’s one thing to perform them on stage with the possibility of hiding behind a microphone, but being up there without that possibility and singing something so personal frightened me. So I settled on “When I first met you” because it’s the one song that I know better than anything else and it’s not reaching too deep down my soul.

Well, that’s what I thought at least. When it came to the last verse, I accidentally started with the verse that I had just sung again. Ugh, as soon as I noticed I freaked out (on the inside) and had to decide within seconds how to proceed. I decided to just sing in that this was the wrong verse, and that now everyone else knew too. The audience was really forgiving about it though, so it was fine.

Here’s video proof of my mistake:

Sunday

There was another open mic session on Sunday and Marc was kind enough to let me sign up again. So I had the opportunity to play two more songs. This time I knew that it would be unplugged and was mentally prepared. I had practiced some of my newer original songs before the festival and really wanted to share them. So I started out with “The Rain“.

I had no idea if the crowd would be up for a song like that. It was nice to see that some of them did listen to the lyrics very closely and seemed to enjoy it. It was scary for me and I felt pretty naked doing that song (that’s why I did not dare singing “Empty Shell“), but I think it went quite alright.

Since this first song is kinda depressing and sad, I wanted to end my time on stage at Berliner Ukulele Festival with a happy song and did “Dance with me“. No one was dancing but I think the people at the open mic enjoyed it. I even danced off stage when I was done:

Thanks to everyone who took the time to listen to me, cheered me on and made me feel welcome. A massive thanks also to the lovely people who came up to me to talk about my songs, I really appreciate it.

I had a really great time playing at the open mics and feel like I gained lots of stage experience from it. And I can’t wait to do it again.

xoxo Nikky

PS.: Sorry for the weird angles on the videos. I had to use my tripod and it’s always more of a guesstimate where on stage I’m actually gonna stand 😉

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