I have been to more open mikes than probably 99% of musicians on the planet. They all started in 2004. I had been scheduled for a happy hour show, from 4-7 pm, at Stadium Bar and Grille in Oxford, Ohio, and was getting ready to get posters printed up so I could distribute them around town when I went into Stadium to let them know. The person in charge of booking the happy hour shows informed me that the happy hour set had been double booked, and I was the odd man out because the other act had a bigger following. Of course, I was a bit upset about it, so when he told me to try the open mic night I replied “I don’t think that would work for me.” I decided to go one week, though, and check it out. The following week I decided to perform.
I went the next six weeks in a row. For the first five, people either ignored me or booed. On the sixth week, I decided it would be my last if I didn’t get some kind of crowd reaction. I performed a medley of “Weightliftin’ Jam,” “Playin’ a Little Basketball” and “Chillin’ at the Papa,” and 3 people started going crazy for it. Those 3 people, Nancy, Drew, and Evan, entirely changed my musical destiny. The words are perhaps grandiose, but the statement is true. Without them, I would have stopped doing open mikes, and I may have stopped trying entirely. Without them, I may have just used my business degree, and pursued a more normal path. There’s nothing wrong with that; I understand the motivations behind wanting to have a secure future, especially when thinking about how a potential life partner may perceive you, and beyond when you actually are making plans to have kids and being able to pay for their college while soon thereafter having a happy retirement. But, because they came, I continued going to the open mikes.
The following week, Nancy, Drew, and Evan brought out some friends, and there were about 10 people there to see me. Then it was 20, then 40. That lead to my first full show in Oxford, at Hole-n-the-wall bar. I drew 120 people, and I had to wait to start because so many people were chanting my name so loudly, I couldn’t hear the music. Somewhere a video of that moment exists, but I’ve never seen it. In
some ways, I think it’s better that way because the 1 hour and 15 minute set I played that night is a 30 second blur of Noah yelling “take off your pants” from the front row, and signing a ton of Playing For a Cure shirts. That moment was possible because of two things, 3 incredible fans and my persistence. It’s because of both of those that I believe I can rebuild my fan base, and can still make a living from my music. That’s why open mikes have become such a large part of my musical experience. Thank you, to every amazing fan who has helped me have those experiences, and get to where I am today!