In my Head and On Stage @TWUF

Most of you read by now, that I was not too happy about my performance at The Tropical Winter Ukulele Festival (TWUF) and I want to take the time to do a little recap and get you some context to my feelings.

In the last couple of months I was extremely busy at work and even though I worked a lot on my songs (alone and with my vocal and ukulele coaches) I felt like I wasn’t as good prepared as I could’ve or should’ve been. But I still went to Finland at ease, because I knew I could do it. Once there, the other artists talked a lot about practicing and in my hotel room I could here someone rehearsing all the time.

That’s when I fell apart. Was I supposed to still practice like mad the days before? I had planned to play through my set once more while in Finland but that’s it. But now I’m hearing everyone practicing for hours and it freaked me out. Cause here’s the thing, that’s not how I work. Even when studying for big tests back at school or university, I’d be done one or two days before and that’s it. That’s how I roll, but now I’m not so sure anymore because everyone else seems to still practice so I guess I should do that too.

I totally got into my head and instead of just trusting myself and my process I figured everyone elses way is how it’s supposed to be. So on Friday I tried out all my songs again and I was so freaked out that I couldn’t remember anything. Chords were gone, lyrics messed up, I was screwed. I got myself to calm down a bit, thinking that tomorrow everything will be back and my performance will be alright.

The day of my concert I woke up with my voice gone. Just perfect. Then of course I thought I had to rehearse again, because, well everyone else was doing that. That made it even worse. At that point I was so nervous, that it was not just mental anymore but I got physical symptoms. The German word for stage fright is “Lampenfieber” which roughly translates as “stage fever” and now I know why it’s called like that. I did actually have a fever. It was awful.

Pre Show selfie with a fake smile

Then about half an hour before my show I felt so sick, that I wanted to throw up. I took some medicine for it, without thinking what consequences it might have. 10 minutes before my show I arrived at the stage, Vox Stellarum was on. Very calming, that helped a bit, but not too many listeners as there was the Luau Dinner going on upstairs. But I can deal with that.

Then it was time to hit the stage. I brought everything I needed. There was someone there handling sound. I got everything set up and I start with my first song. And my mouth is as dry as the desert. Remember that medicine I took for my nausea? That’s the effect. Ugh. So I got through my first song and thankfully I did bring a bottle of water with me. But I looked like a total fool, needing to drink after every song.

Somewhere after the second song people started to leave the concert. Since there weren’t that many to begin with, it totally freaked me out. So overall I felt completely shit throughout my whole performance. I did get through it though – and that I am proud of.

Here are all the six songs that I played – you can judge for yourself before I get into more judging afterwards:

After my performance I felt horrible. All I wanted to do was go in my room and cry (and I did). I am so happy that I had some friends there who cheered me on – thank you Sanne and Markus it meant a lot to get your lovely feedback (and yes, I know that I had a hard time taking that positive feedback while I was feeling so down).

There were also two very lovely finnish ladies who came up to me later and told me that they loved my performance. They even asked what genre I would put my music into and suggested it to be “Post-Punk”. This encounter was just what I needed.

Now, looking back at my performance and listening to the videos I think I did alright. Was it my best performance – no, could I have done better – absolutely. But it was not as bad as it felt at the moment and I think this weekend was a very important learning opportunity for me.

I need to approach things my way. Seeing what I’m capable to do when I’m totally freaked out and getting in my head gives me a glimpse of what I could do if I just handled it with lots of confidence. I could totally shine and that’s what I want. I know that I could do so much better and that there’s so much more in me. I just need to be confident about myself.

xoxo Nikky

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