The Secret to Raving Fans

Have you ever wondered what the REAL secret is with having raving fans?

Have you ever seen people absolutely foaming at the mouth for the next piece of art from their favorite Artist and questioned,
How come that’s not happening to me?

These audiences are lining up around the block for the next,
Bruno Mars concert ticket
Game of Thrones book
Hamilton Broadway ticket
Entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Louvre
Release of the latest Harry Potter….

You scratch your head as you look at another lukewarm reception to your latest release, or random clapping to your performance and go,
WHAT the HECK?!

How do Artists have these massive followings on Instagram?
How do Artists sell out their concerts?
How do Artists get top dollar for their original work?
How do Artists make it to the NY Times Bestseller List?

Because, at the root of the question is,
I’m working so hard, why isn’t this happening for ME?

Super frustrating, right?

I hear you.  I felt the same way.  I was killing myself with dance classes, voice lessons, meeting casting directors, having perfect head shots and eye-catching audition outfits…and yet I hit a ceiling.

My talent was not reflecting my audience.  There was a disconnect.  For my level, I should have been CHOOSING between different Broadway shows….and yet, I couldn’t make it past final callbacks to even book ONE.

Have you ever felt this?
What do we do in this moment?

How do we turn it around and truly receive the acclaim we desire?

How does our effort and talent actually equate to a thriving career and raving fans that support, cherish and love us?

 

This past weekend I went to see one of my closest friends, Lisa, present her MFA Thesis project at Martha Graham Studios.  The culmination of two years of work, I couldn’t wait.

Lisa is one of the top jazz teachers in NYC, and I take her class weekly.  She’s a real anomaly in the dance world, as she specializes in technical jazz.  So much of the classical jazz form in dance has been watered down, and Lisa has really stayed more true to the art, keeping it very technical and clean.  It’s solid, and I always leave sweating, strong, and smiling. And I’m never alone….

She has a packed class every week.  She has students that come back, regulars who have been taking her for years, and because of her class they are booking company work and theater gigs. We are FANS, plain and simple.

So, it’s no surprise to know that when Lisa’s MFA Thesis performance piece was over, the whole audience leapt to their feet, shouting and screaming.  The dancers were glowing, Lisa was beaming, and we all felt fabulous.

But Lisa was not the only choreographer to present her work that night.  She was actually second, and the first performance was beyond painful.

I actually wanted to walk out.

How can this be possible?
Two choreographers going through the same program, and yet one created a desire to leave, and the other had me on my feet ready for more?

And it all comes down to ONE thing:
Connection.

On the first piece, the choreographer (who also danced in the piece) was literally having a temper tantrum on stage.  At one point she was gasping and screaming in circles on the ground, and all I could think was,
Do you care I am here?

What was Missing?
CONNECTION TO THE AUDIENCE.

I felt completely disconnected watching her piece.  I felt completely in the dark about what was really going on, but most of all, I felt she didn’t CARE whether or not I was involved.

And I was not alone.  When her piece awkwardly ended, there was barely any clapping.  Hands barely met, as I imagine everyone was confused.

Will I return to see this choreographer’s work again?
No.

Will the rest of the audience?
I doubt it.

Why?
We were not included in the performance.
We were on the outside.

Her piece was purely about her, her rage, and her pain.  It literally was akin to a two year old having a tantrum to say, ME ME ME!  As a new choreographer, she made a mistake I see Artists of all ages make again and again,
they FORGET to include their audience.
They forget about the WE.

Because honestly, there is no Artist without an Audience, and there is no Audience without an Artist.  It’s a relationship. It goes TWO ways.

So, why did Lisa’s piece receive a standing ovation?
We were included.  Energetically, physically, in every way…..and that translates to raving fans.

And trust me, I GET the desire to express rage.  In fact, some of the most powerful work happening right now is dealing with very dark issues, like depression, inequality, racism, and bullying.

Dear Evan Hansen, speaking into bullying, is THE top ticket on Broadway right now, and it’s extremely dark….but the difference comes in the HOW. The difference comes in YOUR intention.

The writers of Dear Evan Hansen are looking to raise awareness around this topic, they are looking to ENGAGE the audience, and ask powerful questions so that they then go into the world and make new choices.

People leave inspired, not shut down.

Because, let’s be honest……we don’t need more isolation.

We don’t need more messages telling us we are alone, no one cares, and we don’t matter.  People, YOUR AUDIENCE is starving for connection.  In a world where communication seems to mostly happen electronically, where we find out our friends challenges through a social media platform, where the next generation has lost the ability to have a face to face conversation when they are scared…..

Art matters.
Art is a catalyst.

It allows our audience to access their emotions in a way nothing else does.

So, take a moment and ask yourself:
Are you connecting with your Audience?
Are you including them in your Work?
Are you engaging with them?

And most of all…what is your INTENTION?

Is it to connect or isolate?

 

Be clear on WHY you are creating in the first place.  If you are receiving lukewarm applause, come back to center, and back to square one.

Come out of isolation.

Set your intention to connect and include them.  Engage with them, and learn what they NEED.  Learn what they WANT, and then partner together.

This is a relationship.  Cultivate it with love and mutual understanding.

They come to you starved, feed them, and in doing so, feed yourself.

Open the loop and let them in.

9 Degrees of Separation

I’m staring at a giant monitor, my skull before me, at a sickening angle.

My chiropractor, Dr Imana, says,
I normally see this kind of deviation in whiplash patients.
You’re off by 9 degrees.

While I’m in shock at how misaligned my skull is from my neck, it is explaining why I’ve had such severe shoulder pain the last week.

But the word that is resonating like a tuning fork through my whole body, really makes the most sense….

Whiplash.

Dr. Imana looks at me with his caring eyes and says,
I also see this in my patients who have something really large happening in their life. So…what’s going on?

Oh……right…..this is making sense now.

 

What is your Creative Dream?
What is your Desired Vision?

Is it to:
Sell out Carnegie Hall
Be a NY Times Bestseller
Star on Broadway
Give a TED Talk
Have your Art Hang in the Metropolitan Museum
Win a Grammy

What drives your Process and feeds your Artistic Drive?

What is that vision, that if or when it comes true you will feel in your whole body and soul that you have ARRIVED?

We can spend so much time dreaming, and working, but what happens when it actually does come into our life?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, Your playing small does not serve the world. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
-Marianne Williamson

As Creatives, we can talk all we want about our Dreams, but when the spotlight is in front of us, how can we step in and actually be liberated? How do we fully make the impact we deeply desire?

It all comes down to one key element,

Alignment.

 

I look at Dr. Imana and smile,
I’m in love

And encapsulated in this is so many elements,
overcoming my fear of being hurt again
starting a new life partnership
moving out of my apartment

And ultimately forming a whole Creative life…one where I feel fulfilled in all areas.

All things I have been working towards, and wanting with my whole being, and here it is!

So, why was my neck so imbalanced?

Well…I’ve never been here before. 

The dream of Art that feeds me, work I love, a family and partnership that is deeply aligned with who I am as a woman today….this is all new.

At least, all of it together is new.
And it’s knocked me off my center.

Much like that roaring crowd waiting for you.

Are you aligned for the success you desire?

 

When I lay down for my adjustment, Dr Imana said,
I want you to think about this work as something we do together.  Place your attention on moving your skull center and open, center and open.

Once the adjustment was over, I felt as though a huge shift had occurred, and I was led to a dim room to relax with a guided meditation.  As soon as the headphones were placed on my ears, I began to cry.

Something was moving.

My neck was aligned, and now I could just freely flow.  My fear left my body, and I relaxed into the chair.

And a thought occurred to me,
This timing is perfect.

In order to welcome in all I desire, I need to be aligned for it.

My body had been sending me a clear message, and it was time to create new space; release the old fears, as they don’t serve me anymore.

Not for the life that is unfolding.

What about you?
What are you still holding on to?

 

So, how can you get aligned with your Dreams?

Take a moment right now, and grab a pen and paper.

Write down your Creative Vision, and then look at your actions towards them.  Take stock of your mindset, and your language. Look at your messaging, your collaborations, and habits.

Alignment: the proper adjustment of the components of a machine, circuit, etc., for coordinated functioning.

and

a state of agreement or cooperation among persons, groups, nations, etc., with a common cause or viewpoint.

We can so commonly get caught in believing we aren’t READY for success, but the answer may lie in whether or not we are ALIGNED.

This alignment begins WITHIN.

It begins with us, and then works it way out into our Art, and then connects with our audience.

Take a look at your paper, and see where the gaps are.

When we can release the judgment against ourselves, the answers come pretty easy.  And then the next step is just to ask for help.

I came to this new place with A LOT of help, and it was when I was willing to release the belief that I HAD to do it alone, that my business bloomed, and I was led to coaches and mentors and healers that have allowed me to create the life I want.

There’s been something holding you back for awhile, and today you have the opportunity to adjust.

Move Center and Open
Center and Open

Step into your light and align your life to SUPPORT that.

And then inspire your audience to do the same. Align with THEM, cooperate with what they need, and are clamoring for from you.

Align your Artistry with your Humanity, and your audience will follow suit.

This will create the deepest impact.

The success may feel like a whiplash, but it’s just the opportunity to create more space.

 

Who are you to be brilliant?
ALIGNED.