Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Channeling Ledisi

I've always been a big fan of Motown, so I was really excited to learn that for Black History Month the White House hosted a special Motown concert, broadcast by PBS last week. They had the greats - Smoky Robinson, Stevie Wonder,  and some newer musicians who are incredibly talented, like Amber Riley and John Legend.
The Supremes 

If you like Motown, check it out, absolutely worth an hour of your time. But the thing I want to highlight for this post is the difference in stage presence between two of the performers.

Now, keep in mind, this is a small venue, with chandeliers and pictures of George Washington in the background, an unusual repertoire for some of these artists (poor Seal), and a very lackluster sound engineer. Oh, and - performing in front of the Obamas. It's enough to make anyone nervous, even the big stars.

In the video, go to Chapter 9 (around 29:05), and watch and listen to a minute or two of Natasha Bedingfield's performance.

Now, skip back to Chapter 5 (around 15:14) and watch and listen to some of Ledisi's performance.

Spot a difference?

Ledisi is so relaxed in the music and the song and herself. She's not in any rush, she's not trying to be something she's not. She's just there, singing. As a result, I think the audience feels relaxed, and in sync with her.

I think this is something to aim for when interacting with people - when giving talks, interviewing for jobs, networking at conferences, teaching, whatever. When you're comfortable and at ease with yourself it shines through to others. The people who try too hard, you can spot them a mile away.

So my personal aim for the spring is to channel Ledisi. Because she's just made of awesome.


  1. holy moses did Cheryl Crow do MJ proud!

    Nick Jonas was horrible. Forced, and I hate it when singers fish for the pitch. Legend is one smooth dude.

    I thought Natasha was herself - that's her song style. She tried to make the song her own. Jordin did the same. Ledisi stuck to the cover rendition. They were all on key.


  2. I liked Cheryl Crow's and Jordin Sparks' solo performances most of all. Legend wasn't bad but Marvin Gaye is a tough act to follow on "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". Overall, I really glad you linked to video -- hub & I really enjoyed it! Thanks!

  3. I tend to become a highly strung living Muppet torch around Dr Bunsen in presentations when neither of us knows what we're talking about. By myself I can survive talking about things I don't know about but when I try to write about them all that happens is steam comes out of my ears instead. For months.

  4. @JC - I don't know much about Natasha to be honest - never heard her sing before. But she seemed less at ease than Ledisi did is all, to me.

    Definitely agree on Jonas. Not so sure about Cheryl Crow. She sounded like she was trying too hard to sound like Michael Jackson. But her stage presence was good.

    Also loved seeing Stevie Wonder :)

    @GMP -
    I loved Jordin Spark's performance as well. Legend did pretty freaking awesome overall in my humble.

    Glad you and your hubby enjoyed :)

    @Beaker -