Singing at an Open Mic Night

Jennifer Hart / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Maya Agnew

This weekend I had the chance to try something new. It was fun, liberating, exciting and took me back to the days when I used to perform. Open mic, as it’s referred to, is a live show where an audience members can perform with a microphone. I have always wondered what it would be like to participate in an open mic event, so I thought ‘what the heck, you only live life once, why not try it?’

The evening was put on at Tessoras Barra Di Vino, where there were all kinds of musicians waiting to perform. Based on the guitarist, drummers, saxophonists, bass players and singers lined up, I could tell it was going to be a great open mic jam session. As I walked in, it was apparent people came here to have a good time. Music was already playing, drinks were in high demand, and the place was packed. There was a variety of people of all ages, dancing and feeling the music, and it added to the overall setting mood.

I waited for a vacant seat to open and as soon as one was available, I grabbed it, already knowing that this place would get even more packed. As I sat and listened to the music, I found myself enamored with people performing everything from Miles Davis, Coltrane, and Shade to Michael Jackson pieces, it was amazing to see these performers/ musicians play. I began to feel anxious and nervous, questioning what I had to offer vocally. I felt I was no where near the performance level of these other performers.

There were two musicians that stood out to me. One was a guitar player named T.J. Poltizer and another was a saxophonist named Andrew. They both played so passionately was evident in every solo they did. It was as if they were in another world and the music was the only thing that mattered. As I watched them get lost in the music, I started to loosen up and feel less anxious about my performance. I sat there waiting for my name to be called, and the butterflies in my stomach started to worsen. It was then that the open mic host called my name up to perform. I took a big breathe, knowing that there was no turning back now.

As I walked onto the stage I could feel my heart racing. I knew that it was my time to perform and I needed to shake off any inhibitions that I had. I told the musicians what song I was singing and in what key. The first song I sang was an Etta James classic “I’d Rather go Blind.” I stood there for a second taking in the crowd. As the musicians started to play, all my worries and fears went away. All I was focused on was the music and the emotion behind the song. More people filtered in, and the wine bar went from bustling to so silent you could hear a pin drop. My emotions began to overtake me and as the song ended, only to see a room full of people clapping and asking for me to sing another song. I didn’t have to think twice before saying yes.

As I ended my last song I felt happy inside knowing that I was able to try something new and do my best at it. I had numerous people come up to me after my performance that gave feedback and encouraged me to pursue my music. In the end doing open the mic night was one of the best things I have done in a long time. As a singer, my main goal was to connect with the audience and by doing this open mic, I was able to perform and connect with others, which was an incredible feeling. Next time you get the urge to try something new maybe an open mic session would be a nice alternative.