Got this in an email from DJ Ron and think it's worth a reprint here.
It's nice to see artists who know who they are and aren't afraid to be that person on stage. And it's even nicer to see when crowds react positively to it.
One thing I am quickly realizing is that the more that I spin out of town, the more I enjoy playing here in Nashville.
Spinning in Indianapolis keeps me fresh and makes me work a new crowd. The Indy boys and girls are loving the music/video mix along with the sparkles (headphones/outfits) and my energy on stage (jumping up and down, singing along) - two things that I've kind of moved away from here in Nashville.
[Recently] I kept finding myself hunched down, if not hiding behind my laptop on stage. I am not sure how I devolved from that, but last Saturday at Play, I went in full of energy and kicked it kind of old school and y'all were up for it all night long. A few people asked me about the tweets I sent about being "the authentic you" and that's kind of what I was working through.
I realize and accept that I am not (and would never want to be) the serious superstar DJ who nods his head and segues from song to song - occasionally lifting his arms in the stereotypical DJ as Jesus pose (how many times have you seen that at a festival?) Being joyful and energetic is who I am, as a person and a performer, and I think it took playing on the road for me to come back and accept that.
Two big lessons here...
1. People connect with authenticity.
As long as it's real, you'd be amazed at what you can get away with.
I remember being at a club for a multi-band showcase a few years ago. The first acts who opened the show were both loud and raw and the crowd reflected it.
In the middle of all this, about the third or forth slot, a tiny woman dressed in a "Little House on the Prairie" dress got on stage and started singing hillbilly folk songs. And the room went slient. Literally everybody stopped talking, started listening, and watched her.
She did things her way and it worked. And even though the crowd wasn't necessarily a match for it, she got both their attention and respect.
Imagine being on a show like American Idol, The X Factor, or America's Got Talent. You're about to go on, after three women who each sound like the lovechild of Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey...
It would be easy to think, "The way to compete is to do a song that showcases my vocal gymnastics."
If "vocal gymnastics" is what you do, that might work. If that's not your game though, don't bother to play it.
They zig, you zag.
People want authenticity and will always respond better to something real than an attempt at something you're not, even if it's not as flashy or technically perfect.
2. Don't take things too seriously.
People in the audience want to have a good time. The acts who stare at their feet aren't necessarily uncool, but they are boring.
Stop playing it safe, get out of your comfort zone on stage, and give people a show.
Who would you rather watch?
Or this one?The first guy isn't nearly as hip. He'll probably never have his own perfume line or be followed around by paparazzi. When it comes to being entertaining on stage and actually connecting with an audience though, I'd bet on him every time.