100 to 1

Imagine doing last minute touches to your art before the big day that follows. You’re expected to have an audience or following of at least one hundred people. You go to bed, excited and nervous like its Christmas Eve, wondering if Santa paid attention to your entire list. You wake up, run a few errands, get dressed and you’re off to your event. You get there, dressed well, cheesing and cheering on the inside, only to find one person showing up to witness your work. What do you do? Do you make sure that one person receives the best show imaginable, or do you complain, allowing your feelings to ruin an opportunity?

Whether it’s 1 or 100 people, your audience deserves 100% of your performance. There have been many moments where I’ve performed to a small group of individuals. Some were probably there because they were invited by friends, while the rest were genuinely interested in what I was presenting. The question I ask myself, despite the capacity of the crowd is this: what if only one person needed to hear what I was scheduled to say? That one listener may receive something they’ve needed for quite a while and I was blessed enough to provide it. Remember that whether you are a visual artist or music performer, you are in the position of service. Serving one is the same as serving one hundred, especially if they have invested in what you do.

As a spectator myself, whether I’m the only one in seats or one out of a thousand, I’m expecting to be entertained. Lakers fans can concur, as well as fans of Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, all shows in Vegas, and so on. It pumps my heart to see an artist put forth all efforts to express themselves to the max. I’ll have what they are having expresses my responses when watching an artist execute their artistry. I’m requesting to share the experience with them as much as I can. I want to feel the moment camera phones can’t fully capture, know what I mean? What better way to accommodate our fans than to return the appreciation. Many travel miles to witness our gifts and talents. They sacrificed their gas, time, and attention to witness us living in our passions and purposes.  Maybe they have dreams of pursuing the same art as a profession and need a great sense of inspiration. Your presentation maybe the push they need to propel themselves.

We’re all human beings and our bodies may fail us at times. There may come a time that you’re not up to pleasing your crowd with the best you wish to offer. Taking time to care for self should always be first, no matter what happens or how much money is offered. Make sure that you tend to your needs so that you can tend to that of others. If you’re at 100%, then your audience should be as well. Give them the best. They deserve it. Wouldn’t you want your favorite artist doing the same? I’m sure you do because I would.

- Calvin Pennywell, Jr.