What Musician John Butler Taught Me About Handling Stage Fright

It's not everyday you get to meet one of your favourite musicians, so when that opportunity arises I recommend doing the following:

A) Get the photo
B) Ask the question you will regret not asking when the chance has passed

Which is exactly what I did. For a few years I was on the production team for TEDxSydney here in Australia, and for our first year in the Sydney Opera House we had John Butler as our closing musician. This meant that I got to weasel my way backstage to do points A, and B as listed above.

Point A (yours truly in the middle, John on the right and musician Jeff Lang on the left):


Point B:
As I was starting my career in public speaking, I asked John how he handles his on-stage nerves given he plays for sold out arenas and festivals all over the world. His response was priceless. John said "man I've got some great tips that will help you out... but the problem is, because I am about to go on stage, I am so nervous that I have forgotten them all".

... brilliant.

After we laughed (my laughter had a hint of confusion) he went on to explain that every single time he goes out on stage he is incredibly nervous, because he CARES about what hes about to perform. He said he doesn't believe that anyone truly passionate about what they do will just go out there and effortlessly perform or present and slide back off stage like nothing happened. He said, quite frankly that if he "doesn't crap his pants, he's either not doing the right thing, or not doing the right thing with enough passion".

Theres a moral for you!

Heres John Butler, crapping his proverbial pants shortly after our conversation:

Thanks for reading!

Josh :)

Josh StintonComment