Today was a great day! This afternoon I went to an open mic at The Bitter End. It was my third time going, and each time I go, the performers get better and better. James was there, Elliot was there, Israel was there, and Quincy was there. James performed his two electric/guitar songs, and they sounded amazing as always. He didn't feel like he did too great today, but I don't know if it's possible for James to have a bad day. Elliot performed two originals on piano, and he did WORK. His stage presence, I repeat, is great. He's pretty much talking with the audience as he performs his songs. The second song he performed was a song that I had never heard him play before. Between the piano playing, the flip into falsetto, or the lyrics, I don't know what I enjoyed the best. He seems to doubt himself a lot, but the level of musicianship in this kid is phenomenal. Israel rapped an original, and then sang a cover of "Your Body is a Wonderland" by John Mayer. Israel has a strong accent, so when he raps, it is sometimes hard to understand him. But today, I understood EVERY word he said. Pretty clearly, too. His growth is evident. Quincy, smoooooth Quincy Holiday went up and sang two originals, and as always, it was soulful, smooth, and the crowd was silent.
In short, I have found that one of the most amazing experiences that has come with performing with these guys, has been seeing their growth. Since we sing at open mics together every other day (at least), it all starts to sound the same. But there comes that one day when they go up to the stage, and you think to yourself, "Wow. They were good before, but their stage presence, their comfortably, their sound, or their English, has come such a long way. And this is only from performing continuously at open mics! People say practice makes perfect, and I think that phrase can be misunderstood. Yes, intentionally practicing will help you hone your skill. But performing over and over and over again, will do the exact same thing. Practice can simply mean the "doing of the art," over and over and over again.
After the open mic, James and I went to a bar to meet up with some friends, hung out there for about two hours, and then went to go see some of his friends at a nearby Starbucks (James used to work at Starbucks). You know a really cool thing that comes with knowing people? FREE STUFF! When we went in, I was introduced to James' old co-workers, and James hopped behind the counter, and they made my favorite drink, FREE OF CHARGE! It was a large, vanilla bean frappicino, with 5 extra scoops of vanilla. He then added hazelnut into the drink to give the drink that birthday cake flavor. So gooood!! Then James' friend Isabel met up with us, and her friend met up with us too. The rest of the night consisted of us singing in a bathroom, walking down streets, laughing until we were on the ground, trying different flavors of Starbucks bubble gum, trying blue cheese popcorn, walking to the Washington Memorial, and then going to Fat Cat jazz lounge.