Sinatra on Stage Fright and Music Professionalism

SKF NOTE: Learning stage fright happens to the some of the giants of music, was a help in overcoming moments of stage fright I had drumming or singing. In my case, the jitters came when stepping outside of my musical comfort zone. Sight-reading charts onstage the first time, for instance.

Here’s Frank Sinatra at age 84 talking with radio show host Larry King about stage fright. What Sinatra says here about show biz professionalism are also words of wisdom for all musicians.

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra

Larry King: Is it still a kick when the man says, and now, ladies and gentlemen –

Frank Sinatra: Oh, it’s a kick. Absolutely. And I swear on my mother’s soul, the first four or five seconds I tremble every time I take the step and I walk out of the wing onto the stage. Because I keep thinking to myself, I wonder if it will be there? When I go for the first sounds that I have to make, will it be there? I was talking about it jus the other night at Carnegie Hall…. I said, even just going out and looking at the audience, I was terrified for about four seconds and then it goes away.

King: How do you explain that?

Sinatra: I don’t know. I can’t explain it. I always had it. Will you remember the lyrics? Is your tie right? Will you use your hands right? Will you look pleasant to the audience? You have to be on the ball from the minute you step out into that spotlight. You have to know exactly what you’re doing every second on that stage. Otherwise, the act goes right into the bathroom. It’s all over. Good night.

Source: Producer: Lessons Shared from 30 Years in Television, by Wendy Walker with Andrea Gagan, Published by Center Street, 2010.

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