Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Tour

So, the tour has been going for a few weeks here. I am having the best time of my life. Everything about this reminds me that this is what I want to do for a long time. Obviously it's tough being away from Sarah - till Minnesota, we had been apart for over 3 weeks - but we just made a rule to not go more than 2 weeks without seeing each other anymore, so hopefully that will cut down on the feeling of missing her...though it is obviously different than being together.

But everything, from the performing to the interviews to the comradarie among all of us on tour....it's just all incredible.

I have the problem of focusing too much on trying to be musically perfect and forgetting the performance aspect sometimes. In college, I studied classically and was taught to never look like I'm straining or really even move around...it's taken a long time to get away from all that training. Classical training in this regard has held me back. The training has been great for my musicianship and being able to keep my voice through a lot of singing situations. But from a performance standpoint it has stunted me.

Also, as I moved into performing non-classical music, I was surrounded by conservative Christians who encouraged me to never allow my performance to take away from the words of the music. When I would really let loose (which for me might be jumping out of time with the music), I would have someone talk to me about really allowing God to come through instead of me. So, this was another thing that stunted my growth in this area.

When I moved away from this time of Christianity, I began to perform with musicians who were a little bit snobby and every time I'd attempt to go crazy on stage, they'd give me these high-brow looks like I was crazy. Yet another thing that stunted my growth.

Then about 2 years ago, I finally got with a band that really wanted to go crazy on stage. And I finally started to learn. I started to see bands in concert and watch how they moved, how they rocked out, how they went crazy. So, basically, in 2 years I've had to learn what most people learn from the beginning of their perfomance careers...and not only learn, but unlearn everything I've learned for 10 years.

So, with that said, I am having fun, learning from Blake and Phil...Phil lately has been watching my performance and critiquing me...it sucks because he usually tells me I sucked, but it is also great because with every show, I'm getting things to work on, and really working on them. I think that that is the thing that I am most excited about...I want for my life to be full of learning experiences and this tour is allowing me to grow leaps and bounds because of great interaction with people better than I. This for performing is kind of like what it was like hanging out with session musicians and producers in Nashville...I just watched how they worked and learned.

I have a long way to go to be a great performer, but I have the fundamental elements: people say I'm a good singer; I feel pretty confident in my musicianship; and reviews are saying that I am a great songwriter. Now, if I can continue to lose weight (I've lost 15 pounds on tour so far) and continue to grow as a performer, I think that I can become the artist that I really want to be. My goal is to be the best at what I do. I'm realistic enough to know that that will never happen...but striving for excellence will only make one better.

So, to those who voted for me...I thank you. Otherwise, I would not have the tour as a learning experience.

33 comments:

Carrie said...

I've heard you're improving on tour so I can't wait for my show. Good luck with everything!

gdahimself said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marleybone said...

I think you have processed this correctly. You know why you do what you do - you know what your strengths are - and you know what you would like to improve.

And if you are trying to improve your stage presence, I can think of no better "boot camp" than the AI Tour with the perfect drill sergeants - Phil and Blake.

I have no doubt you will get to a place that you feel good about - haven't you always figured things out eventually?

Peace and Love and never forget SIA

gdahimself said...

To Chris,
From GDA,

First, remember being Chris Sligh is pretty good staring point. You have proven to have enough of that famous “it” factor plus being able sing that has been endorsed by the show audience voting.

Second, your not stunted but have been taught to behave in a limited or controlled fashion by your previous experiences. This has frustrated you from becoming the performer that you wished to be because it limited yourself expression and you learned inhibitions that ran contrary to your desires.

Third, people don’t unlearn anything, they learn new behaviors that replace the old behaviors which takes time.
As useful as Phil’s critiques are I hope he is telling where you are improving as well as where you need still need improving.
You also are doing this a situation that you are enjoying which I will help speed the process.

My perception is when you target or focus on something, you pursue it with a dedication bordering on relentless. You’ll probably attain your goal or come pretty damn close.

I don’t think I am expressing an unique opinion.

GDA

risalea said...

I knew you looked slimmer when I saw you up close! And while traveling, too! Good job!

Everything takes practice, and you're getting lots of it with the schedule you guys are on.

Go, Chris...it's your birthday! (imagine little dance motion that goes with that. LOL) Risa

risalea said...

OK, call me crazy, but I think I'm going to try and get tickets for Memphis. I want to cheer you on when you're onstage, and show some Fro Patro encouragement for how hard you've been working.

I'm so proud of you! (I hope that doesn't sound too dorky, but I think all the ladies on here who are old enough to be your, ummmm, aunt, feel the same way....it's a little like watching one of our own up there since we've had the privilege to get to know you via the blog.)

OK, enough of that...have another great performance tonight! Risa

DJ in AL said...

Chris,

As is usual GDA has hit this spot on. You are so far ahead of the game than most. I mean, you...have...the...voice. But I get where you are trying to go, and there is no doubt you are getting there. You will be what you want to be Chris, believe it, your fans do!

Carrie said...

Just out of curiosity how many more of you are going to any shows/how many/when?

Mine is August 23 -- in 16 days, I think it is now? I'm starting to get really impatient!

What sucks though, is I'm really sick now and can't even move without feeling super dizzy. It's been on and off but the past two days, ugh. I don't wish this on my enemy. So here is to hoping I'm feeling better the week of the show!

DJ in AL said...

Risa,

Not dorky, completely understand and feel the same way. Go on to Memphis and support our boy!

Guess he already has a Mom huh?

risalea said...

DJ said "Guess he already has a mom huh?

Yep, one mom and a slew of aunts! : ) Risa

Cathy Storms said...

I am so excited for you. It sounds like the tour is so much fun. Anytime you can do what you love & get paid for it is such a blessing.
I feel like a proud mama..It's a blessing for me because I feel like I'm on the journey with you.
I have no doubt's how far you will go with your career.
Plus with fans like us, who could loose....hahahah

rosalee said...

Chris -

I agree that you are a product of your environment, but like GDA says, you can learn new behaviors.
As Risa says, it takes practice. The more you perform, the more second nature it will become to you. But if you feel more comfortable in the studio, then work there.

Before I forget, I wanted to remind you that you'll be on Kay's turf on Thursday (St. Louis). Don't forget to try to hook up with your loyal fansite admin! I'm sure that she will be looking for you.

Carrie -

I hope you feel better. My show is on Long Island, NY on Aug 24th.

Risa -

If you go to the Memphis show, don't forget the pink glowsticks this time! (LOL)

Joy said...

Hey Chris,

Great post again. I'm continuously impressed with how well you assess situations, even the most difficult personal ones. This says a lot about who you are as a person and how far your desire to improve will take you.

Coming from a Christian home and a singer myself, I completely understand your comment about how singing in that sort of setting could have stunted you as a secular performer. That being said, I think it all comes down to this: "Just Let Go". When you area a trained singer, you know the techniques down cold. But to make it seem real, to make those lines really come to life you need to "forget the technique" for a bit and just "sing". I think the same thing goes for performing. It's great that you have some pretty decent performers to learn from. Phil utilizes the stage well and Blake is just born to be there. For you, though, I think you sound amazing, but you just need to get "lost in the moment" and forget the rest.

BTW, it's fine if you are going to just stand there and sing. Contrary to popular belief performers have made decent careers not doing much on stage.

HstryQT said...

I've been pouting about how long I have to wait for the tour to get to DC, but now I'm really glad to get to see how much you've grown and to see you really comfortable on stage. I couldn't be more excited!

Carrie- to answer your question...

Chris'll be at the Indiana State Fair on August 16th, and I was going to go, but that's the day we're actually moving (driving up with the cats) - so I'm missing it. :(

My real show is on September 9th - one month and one day! We're driving back down to DC for it.

Are you and I (Carrie) some of the only ones left to see the show? I feel like we are.

Lori

gdahimself said...

To Lori,
From GDA,

No, we are at least three, who seeing the show is still a future event.

As far as the mom and aunt remark goes, It would be good that at some future point that I may be able claim friendship, presently I remain a fan.

GDA

Carrie said...

Thanks, Risa.

Lori, just about, it seems like. My AI shows are ALWAYS late, but this is the first time I've really been looking forward to one to the point where I can't wait anymore!

Carmen said...

Chris,
Having seen you perform in five of the AI shows, I can definitely say that you just keep getting better. I saw a big difference between Sunrise and San Antonio. You seemed much more comfortable with the audience and being on the stage. Actually, I feel that all of you on the tour have improved.

You are going to get where you want as a performer because you are the type of person who once he makes his mind up, will keep at it until you've reached your goal.

I personally can't wait to see where you will be in a couple of years as a entertainer/musician/songwriter. I predict that you will be like a fine wine and only improve with age.

gdahimself said...

Ah,
There is a metaphor to ponder.

Chris as a fine wine that even in small servings gives an exquisite buzz.

GDA

Marleybone said...

Ok - count me in as someone who hasn't seen the show - Philly is September 7th and I can't wait.

Keri said...

Count me in as still waiting too - not much longer though, Aug 18th here. Anxiously awaiting and ardently anticipating an awesome artist named Chris Sligh!

SIA!
Keri

GirlyGirl45 said...

Chris, you are so self aware in your analysis, and your determination really comes through. It’s terrific that performing live on this tour is such an enjoyable experience for you and that you’re getting feedback from your peers and using it as a learning experience. I can picture Phil giving you grief in his gentle Phil way. Don't "study" it too much, though, okay? You don't need to flash your tats or flex your guns or unleash your inner Joe Perry. Come as you are, Chris. If that means tossing in some Chubby dance moves sometimes, cool, and as Joy said, if it means just standing there and singing with the world in the palm of your hand, cool. I like that you're trying stuff out up there and are feeling free enough to make some mistakes and get goofy. I've heard tons of praise about the Criljaya skit--even though I'm sure it's scripted, it's an interactive moment that people really connect with, and it doesn’t hurt that there are raves about everyone’s vocals. And looking ahead, when you have your own audience in front of you on your own tour, they're (we’re) going to love those little moments in between songs when you make your little Sligh cracks and interact with them. Thanks for dropping us a line about the tour!! I'll see you Sept 9 with Lori/Histryqt in DC.

Carrie said...

I heard Gina got engaged tonight on stage!! Congrats to her!

Someone posted a vid;

http://youtube.com/watch?v=PE4T-V11Uq0

Awww!

nicoletta76 said...

Hey! Love reading your blog. I appreciate your sincerity as always! I think you are great! I wish you the best of luck!

robyn said...

you're so sweet I can hardly stand it!!
when I read your blogs it brings a tear to my eyes, you are so sincere. if you just move the way your heart feels on stage and don't be self conscious about it..I'm sure it will translate to the audience as real as it feels inside! most of what you do is so heartfelt and the real deal and that is what is so hard to come by these days. if you can keep that, you will never fail with us and with success!!!

love and peace to you and sarah always!!!!

robyn

Badpacifist said...

Wow! When I get up in the morning and get my coffee and South Beach cereal. I plant myself in front of this silly "portal of infinite knowledge." There are so many things I could look up and see but yet day after day this blog is the first thing I look up. Has any other Idol kept so in touch with their fans? This blog is like getting on the phone and saying to a friend or family member, "How did it go last night or last week?"
You and Gina do the FOB song and FOB once wrote a fan appreciation song. Of course when they wrote this song they joked that they only had one fan. Well of all the performers out there, you make us feel like we are the stars because you make the effort to communicate to us. So Chris Sligh thanks for being our fan and here is some Fall Out Boy cyber sung to you.......
Hey Chris, you were our only friend.
And I know this is belated, we love you back.

Hey Chris, you were our only friend.
And I know this is belated, we love you back.

I know you would be there either way
I'm so glad it seems like these times will never fade
I know you would be there either way (Hey Chris, you were our only friend)
I'm so glad it seems like these times will never fade (And I know this is belated, we love you back)

BullysE said...

This is a wonderful, earnest post! Thank you. *hugs*

I think sometimes God puts us in circumstances and with people that will really help us grow, and challenge ourselves to new heights. When you can be aware in all that, and embrace the good stuff(even if some stuff is hard)you benefit so much.

You are blooming, so just let it happen, and enjoy that process of awakening.:-)

Carianne said...

This was a really insightful blog. I think it's really nice to read about how you've been learning and growing throughout the years. Thanks for sharing it! I really love that you can take *honest* critiques well and learn from them... some people really can't!

Georgine said...

I hope to get to see you with your band in concert somewhere if/when I move back down south. I really really love your attitude.

And FWIW, I voted for you!

Christi (aka Maurrowe) said...

I'm so glad you are having a good time on tour! It is great that you and the other finalists can fellowship on stage. I'm sure you guys are all doing an excellent job.

I think you do a very nice job performing... I've never been one to like alot of movement/dancing going on during a performance. I focus mainly on the voice.

I didn't realize you studied music in college...was it an enjoyable experience for you?
I'm going away to a college next year and I'm STILL not sure what i'm going to study. I love music and really want to be a concert pianist, as I have played it nearly my entire life. But, I'm concerned it may be extremely hard and will take the joy out of my life's greatest pleasure. So, anyway, if you have any tips for an aspiring musician, I'd greatly appreciate it :)

50plus said...

Chris,
How blessed you are to have this opportunity. I wore my silly fingers off voting for you and was so glad that you were able to take part in the tour!
I tend to disagree with your idea that your classical training may have "stunted" you performance-wise. Seems to me it gave you a wonderful base upon which to build.
How fun and cool is it that being on tour with the others gives you such a gamut of performance styles and experiences to draw from and further your development!
IMHO your performances in the contest were great. And especially in the tour - you did just great!! I was lucky enough to stop and see the show in Portland (on my way to the Midsummer Musical Retreat in Walla Walla) - I was in the 4th row floor center (one of many, many fans who stood through the whole show!) I was wearing a
"Slighlouette" T-shirt, and have to assume not many folks have them, since everyone around me acted a little envious when you seemed to notice it!
Wish I would have had the time to stop in at the end of the concert to say hey! Amateur musicians always love to meet the professionals!
I thought that all of you really performed quite well in Portland, except maybe for the folks in charge of the sound. It could be that back a litte further, or up higher it was OK, but there sure was a lot of garbled sound down front on the floor where I was. But you didn't slack at all in your performance! I was very impressed by the professionalism, and by the fun you all seemed to be having!
Keep up the good work! And I sincerely hope you and your wife Sarah are able to steal some more moments together while you're on the tour. It is so helpful to have the support of your loved ones when you are working!

luv247muzac said...

I didn't get to see the tour when it was in florida. Hopefully there will be some touring in florida when you get all situated. I think you are a very talented person and look forward to hearing the new stuff. Darlene

rosalee said...

Hey 50plus and the rest of you newbies to this blog -

Since you like Chris, please stop by the fansite at Chris-Sligh.Info and join up. We're always looking for new members. There's lots of new and old Sligh information and pics.

http://chris-sligh.info/

Anonymous said...

Your blog is so great! Watching the videos, it looks like Phil has really taught you a lot. What an amazing man he must be. Handsome, too.