The tale of the neverending Stevie Wonder song

Once upon a time…

(let’s not talk about HOW far back)

…I was going through a rough patch.

And a dear friend of mine dragged me out for two things she knew would cheer me up: booze and live music.

Little did I know she had ulterior motives…

The live music was at a dueling piano bar. And it was open mic night.

That little witch wanted me to get drunk and sing!

At that point in my life, I hadn’t yet embraced my dream of singing in a band, so this thought was utterly terrifying.

Sing? In front of people?

What if my voice cracked?

What if I forgot the words?

What if I humiliated myself?

I looked around and realized… it was a Tuesday night and it wasn’t like I was singing for Simon Cowell.

I threw caution to the wind and signed up for something funky – Superstition by Stevie Wonder.

And I drank to calm the nerves.

After awhile I found myself getting excited for my turn. And when the moment finally came, I tried my best not to look like a recently activated android mimicking a real, live human.

My performance was stiff at first, but I started getting into it. We rolled into the musical break and something strange happened…

…a bunch of dudes walked in with instrument cases.

Suddenly, in the middle of a song, the piano player looks at me and twirls his pointer finger – the musician’s signal for repeat.

He looks at the strange dudes and nods at them.

They get out their horns – sax, trumpet, the WORKS.

I hear the turnaround and have to wing it on another verse.


We wound up playing for around 15 minutes – probably the longest rendition of that song ever, outside an actual Stevie Wonder concert.

And I left the stage feeling AMAZING.

One song.

A song that I’d very much wanted to avoid singing at the beginning of the evening.

And now it’s one of my favorite memories. One completely unpredictable moment.

It turns out that random Tuesday was the same night that Big Bad Voodoo Daddy were playing at an amphitheater down the street. I guess they weren’t ready to call it quits when the show was over, and the horn section made that fateful decision to stop by the piano bar.

I doubt those guys even remember, but I seriously doubt I’ll ever forget how much fun I had that night.

Moral of the story: do things that scare you. Take a chance that you might be temporarily embarrassed.

Send the email. Launch the product. Record the video.

Sing the song.

Sometimes when you push past the nerves and do something scary, you’ll surprise yourself.

And sometimes that one small act of bravery makes all the difference.

Here’s me a few years later, at my very first gig with my first serious rock band:

Kinda feels like I’m staring into your soul, doesn’t it?

At some point you gotta stop dreaming and start doing.

And I for one, wouldn’t be a bit surprised if that first big step changes your life forever.



If you’re an aspiring freelancer who’s working up the courage to leave the day job… good news! I’m sharing all the things I WISH I’d known before making the leap so that hopefully your journey goes a little more smoothly than mine.

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