The instances in which I allow myself to be selfish are very few and far between. I choose to put others ahead of myself in nearly all things except my music. I did that once and every day when I wake up at the crack of dawn I wonder how famous I would be if I wouldn’t have done that. It’s my one regret in life. So when the opportunity presents itself for me to perform, I carefully select the people that will be by my side in that moment. There are very few people invited to go along for my ride.
My parents, my sister, my nephew and a few of my closest friends are usually among the pool from which I select because they know my routine. They know that I need to arrive at the location very early to acclimate myself to the venue, to adjust to the temperature in the room, to familiarize myself with my surroundings. They know that I prefer to drive myself. They know that I consume almost a whole bottle of water before I sing and that at some point, I stop talking until after I sing. They know I won’t eat until I’m done and that I say a prayer and recite the words out loud just before standing before the crowd. They know that I stay for every event after I sing, at least for a little while, because most often my payment is “in kind” and not in cash and the experience to me is always worth the exchange. I have seen things thanks to my singing that I never would have otherwise, like the NASCAR truck series and the National Dog Show in Philadelphia and the NCAA Wrestling Championships. They respect my routine. And that is why they are chosen.
If I ask you to come along for my ride, it is not because I want to you be in awe of me. I don’t need the applause or even compliments. It is because I want to share my experience with you. I want to let you in to the one aspect of my life that I guard and protect and reserve for a special few. And I know that the event will surprise you or enrich your life in some way and not just because you are spending time with me.
But please remember that this is my ride. Not yours. It’s selfish. Yes. But in this case, I am allowed.