As a musician and entertainer, I’ve honed my act over many years, learning new songs and developing my own personal style. When I get offstage, I want people to remember that they were listening to Mark Lyons – warts, offbeat songs, bad jokes, and all.
And then, somewhere along the way, it happens. Somebody asks me, “Do you know any Simon and Garfunkel songs?” Or, “Do you play any Beatles tunes?”
No. I do not.
Okay, that’s only partially true. I actually do know a few Beatles songs and I could probably fake my way through a Simon and Garfunkel tune. It’s just that I choose not to.
“What,” you say, “how dare you!” How can you not want to play any of those wonderful tunes by two of the world’s greatest bands/musical duos!? You must be some sort of – communist, socialist, fascist, Philistine – choose your epitaph.
No. I’m none of those. I’m just me, playing the music that resonates with me.
Undaunted, you try again. “But why won’t you play them,” you ask. “Everybody sings them, everybody knows them and everyone loves them.”
I don’t want to do what everybody else does and I don’t want to sing what everybody else sings. Yes, the Beatles were a dynamite band with wonderful songs. The same can also be said about Simon and Garfunkel. Lots of musicians and bands sing their songs. So one more guy with a guitar singing their songs is not about to make the audience look up – or remember you after the show is over.
So no, I don’t play any Simon and Garfunkel and I don’t play any Beatles. If you want to hear Simon and Garfunkel or the Beatles, there are plenty of other singers who will be happy to accommodate you. But if you want to hear something different, then stick around. You might be pleasantly surprised — or nauseatingly disgusted. But either way, you will remember me.
Get out your notebook and a pen and write this down.
YOU GOTTA BE YOU!
That’s lesson number one in how to be an effective entertainer. If you do the things that everyone else is doing and sing the same songs by the same artists that everyone else is singing, then you’ll be just like everyone else. Answer me this. Why should I hire you as an entertainer? What makes you different? What do you have to offer that I can’t get anywhere else?
My friends, there is a whole world of good music out there that you won’t find on Top 40 radio, classic rock stations, or even satellite radio. You won’t find it at Wal-Mart, Target, or your local music store (do those still exist?). So how do you go about finding these songs?
I’ll discuss that in the next blog post.