Oddly, though I have suffered from crippling social anxiety in everyday life, I have never had a problem with getting on stage and performing. This assumes that I am well rehearsed, of course. Including my ad-libs.
I like to tell folks that when I am on stage I am not a musician but an actor playing a musician. Even when I’m not on stage, I’m not much of a musician.
But really, that’s it. I play a role. The advice to ‘be yourself’ is very, very wrong for me! I have to become someone else.
In a way, it is like creating a character in a story. There is certainly something of me in every character I write, but they are not ‘me.’ They perform on the page even as that other character I create performs on the stage.
A song, for me, is most often simply a conveyance for my words. This is not to say that I have no interest in writing good music. But I admittedly have little interest in being any sort of particularly good player. I do not like to jam. I am interested only in being sufficiently proficient to get my songs across.
That is more a job than a pleasure. As is learning to sing well, craft my words, and all the rest. The pleasure comes when those who listen or who read ‘get’ it. The goal is to communicate. All else serves that.
All the world’s a stage. I hope only to say my lines well.