Being Bold, Being like Harry Perry

February 22, 2016

That’s Harry Perry. The world’s boldest musician.

He’s the one on the left.

I’m the pasty looking Brit on the right, giving him a few tips on how to be less introverted. *ahem*

Well actually, I’m getting an important life lesson right there.

Here’s a guy who earns a (damn good) living, playing guitar, in the sunshine, whilst keeping phenomenally fit.

He’s not a particularly shy chap.

In fact, he’s the definition of bold.

And it works.

And I always need more of that.

As a musician, it’s all too easy to be conventional, not stick your head above the parapet and toe a conventional line.

Despite having been a performer for years I was always terrified of standing out, being different or not knowing exactly what I was going to do on stage in a performance.

In short I had absolutely zero boldness. Nada. Nothing. Whilst a student at the Royal Academy of Music, I put the conservative into conservatoire.

I was obscenely square even in classical music terms.

The breakthrough for me came from meeting an insanely great jazz pianist, Keith Tippett. He encouraged me to improvise entire concerts.

(Side note: Improvisation is a word with many negative connotations so Keith’s neat trick is to re-label it Spontaneous Composition).

Now this is a terribly un-British thing to do. But it has been at the root of everything interesting that’s happened to me since then.

The feeling of walking onstage and not knowing what I’m about to play gives me a bigger high than any drug (even coffee), and, once you realise that the audience are more nervous than you are, is remarkably enjoyable (so long as you’ve practiced an insane amount).

My rules now are simple:

  • Always say YES to something terrifying, then panic when you have time alone.
  • When you are challenged to perform in a bizarre circumstance, always accept the dare…

Those split seconds of bravery will open the doors to your dreams…

So Be Bold Like Harry.

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