Last weekend I played at a nice restaurant downtown. It was my first time there. I'm scheduled to go back again twice in late June. If you know me personally and live in town, ask me and I'll tell you when and where.
My non-musician friends (which is most everyone) sometimes ask me how I get these jobs. In this case, a booking agent saw one of my web listings and called me -- which is sort of interesting, if you think about it. He's never met me, never heard me play, and didn't have a referral. Just found me on the web, called me, and hired me. I guess he was first dazzled by my photo and then completely won over by my professional Phone Voice, ha ha!
And that's just fine with me.
Someone else asked me if I get nervous. Actually, I was nervous about finding the place, getting stuck in traffic, and figuring out how to get from the parking garage through the bridge walkway to the actual restaurant.
But nervous about playing? No. And the reason is simple: No one is really listening to me or looking at me. And that's just the way I like it. It's kinda like playing at home, but more fun, and I get paid.
Now here's what's so cool about being the Piano Girl at a restaurant:
It's kind of an alter ego thing. It's a Slightly Different Me when I go out to a job.
In my real life, we go out to eat at the IHOP five minutes from home, when kids eat free, and get an extra plate for sharing. I go to places like Publix and the library and the doctor. I wear casual (although hopefully attractive) clothes.
In my real life:
I do NOT go downtown.
I do NOT eat at nice restaurants.
I do NOT get free valet parking.
I do NOT wear floor-length dresses and high heels.
I do NOT use rest-rooms with lit candles, cloth towels, and hand lotion.
I do NOT have people in uniforms bring me bottles of water and offer me free food.
I do NOT have strangers slip me twenty dollar bills. (Well, that only happened once, actually.)
It's Different. And it's Cool.
The other thing that's cool (and this is kind of along the same lines) is that most people I know in my Real Life don't do this.
So they're impressed. [Sometimes.] They might ask: How did you get that job? What's it like at the Ritz? Did you get any tips? What songs do you play? What do you wear? Do you get nervous?
And that makes me feel Special. And Interesting.
And I like that.