Ru Paul has been iconic for years as the world’s queen of drag. There is so much to be learned from her creativity, uniqueness, nerve, and talent, as well as her inspirational club hits that include lyrics like “you’re a champion – greatest of them all” and “gonna love you as you are…you’re a superstar”. One of the greatest things she’s given to the world, in my opinion, is a look at the necessity of being able to pull out a great performance when it really matters!
On the hit LOGO television show, “Ru Paul’s Drag Race”, each week of challenges ends with a final runway presentation by the competing drag artists. The bottom two participants, at the end of this presentation, must prove to the panel that they deserve to continue in the competition by performing a “lip-sync for your life” routine. I not only love watching these performances for the creativity these performers bring to the main stage, but also for the “real life” application of this idea. In all professions there comes a time for you to “lip-sync for you life”, and this is an art that we must all master to move forward in our career and life goals.
In music, the easiest example of this would be an audition. This year I sat on the panel for opening in the American Youth Symphony, and I learned so much from this experience. As someone who auditions, it is easy to think that the panel has it out for you. This is somewhat true, because a jury has to listen very critically in order to accurately distinguish the best player from the pack; however, as a jury member, I wanted everyone to play well. It is so enjoyable to hear the hard work of so many people, and moreover, hear great musical excerpts. When one presents his craft (no matter what it may be) to an audience, it’s important to remember that the audience is interested in great work – not listening to a failure. Whether it’s a job interview, and work presentation, or even a term paper, the people on the other side of the table want to experience something top notch. This idea should be treated as both encouragement and a bar that needs to be met!
Last night I was a part of a live radio broadcast, which featured the performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the very famous Midori Goto as soloist. There was added pressure, because this piece contains a very famous bassoon solo excerpt, and there was no telling how large the audience was, simply because of the radio broadcast. It went well, and I’m very happy with my performance, but this is another instance of pulling it out when it really matters. It was a comfort (based on my recent adjudication experience) to know that who ever was listening what looking forward to hearing something great. I can’t stress enough how important that idea is.
I promise I’ll finish “Memoirs of a Gay-Sha” as soon as possible. I’ve been so swamped with work and school I haven’t had time to do anything, it seems (this is a good problem to have as a musician, so I’m not complaining). The next time you’re on the proverbial “main stage” and have to lip-sync for your life, remember the last words Ru Paul gives all of her girls: “Good luck, and DON’T f*ck it up!”
Pictured below: Me and one of Ru Paul's contestants, Alexis Mateo