Take a look at this Anderson Cooper interview of Adele, on her discomfort with fame — and her stage fright:
(Plenty of extroverts suffer stage fright too, of course, and some introverts love the stage — but see what you think.)
“Adele: I wanted to be a singer forever. But it’s not really my cup of tea. Having the whole world know who you are.
Cooper: It’s not your cup of tea?
Adele: No. I find it quite difficult to think that there’s, you know, about 20 million people listening to my album that I wrote very selfishly to get over a breakup. I didn’t write it being that it’s going to be a hit….
Cooper: The other baffling thing about Adele is that – despite being known for the power of her live concerts – in front of audiences she experiences near crippling stage fright.
Cooper: How does it manifest itself?
Adele: It starts from the minute I wake up. If I know I’ve got a show, it starts. I mean, I just try and putter around and keep myself busy and stuff like that. And then I got to go down and sit in the chair for a couple hours, have my hair and makeup done.
Adele: But it has gotten worse as I’m becoming more successful. My nerves. Just because there’s a bit more pressure and people are expecting a lot more from me.
Cooper: So what’s that fear?
Adele: That I’m not going to deliver. I’m not going to deliver. That I’m not going to– people aren’t going to enjoy it. They’re– they’re going to– that I’ll ruin their love for my songs by doing them live. I feel sick. I get a bit panicky.
Cooper: Have you ever thrown up?
Adele: Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. A few times.
Adele: Yeah. Projectile. Yeah. ‘Cause it just comes (makes noise) it just comes out. It does….”
OK, so how many of you know what Adele’s talking about? (I am raising my own hand.) Thank goodness I’ve moved beyond the projectile vomiting phase of dealing with my own stage fright, but I so relate to Adele’s determined puttering on the day of an appearance.
Speaking of which: here is the latest news from the QUIET Book Tour:
QUIET is on the New York Times Bestseller List for the second week in a row, at #5!
WHYY’s “Radio Times”: my one-hour interview on WHYY Radio.
Fortune Magazine: Why Silence is Golden: The Weekly Read. A review of QUIET, and a look at introverts in the workplace .
Ladies Home Journal: a wonderful Q and A.
Buffalo News: Terrific review of QUIET.
Courier-Journal: discusses QUIET and the role of introverts in it’s What’s Hot section.
Cleveland Plain Dealer: lovely review of QUIET.
Reuters: Very nice review of QUIET.
Metro NY: Why It’s OK to be an Introvert.
THANKS AS ALWAYS for all your support.
Oh my heavens, do I have stage fright. I was always a good baseball player – during practice. When I played a game, I felt everyone’s eyes burning through me and I would make mistakes and feel foolish. That fed into a loop that I never recovered from. I can now speak in front of a few people, but only if I am completely prepared and have practiced almost to the point of losing my voice.
When I was in the high school choir, performing on stage was easy. When the lights hit me, I couldn’t see the people in the audience. So, I could perform as if they weren’t there. Plays were easy for me too because I was pretending to be someone else. It became hard when I had to talk to people face-to-face. When I started speaking in public, the first thing I had to learn to do is make eye contact with the audience. It took time, but I’m comfortable with that now.
I am very introverted and I really love the stage. Don’t ask me why. I am not even a good performer but dance shows, plays, singing at the karaoke, I love all of that! When I took drama classes, I was less scared of acting in a play at the end of the year in front of a big audience than doing improvisation games in front of my drama class mates during the year. I am not sure why, probably because the end of the year performance was prepared… The audience really gives me a good kick. I do get a little nervous, but it is definitely good scare and somehow I know how to manage it. Isn’t it weird?
I gave an hour’s lecture to a group last week and enjoyed it. I’ve been doing this for 12 years, just a few times per year, and have never been nervous in the slightest – because I don’t have to actually interact with anyone and I’m comfortable with the subjects I speak on.
What DOES make me squirm is the occasions when an audience member appproaches me after the lecture and says ” That was so interesting – you must come to dinner so we can talk more about it….”. I make non-commital noises and look for the door!
Checking in as another introvert who likes performance. Not every day, not even every month. But occasionally I take pleasure in playing music for an audience and shocking them with all the new techniques and material I’ve been working on.
Much respect for Adele. It’s great to see genuine talent and hard work rewarded.
I listened to your interview on CBC (Jim Brown on “Q”). I thought you both did a great job. Still enjoying the book. I’m reading it slowly and thoughtfully, of course.
Stage fright? Oh yeah.. I recall speech class in college, and giving the first required speech. What to do?? I tapped into the collective anxiety by deciding to make my “speech to inform” about stage fright.. and did it in a unique way. When the prof. called my name, I went to the lectern and gripping the side of it, I deliberately froze…the prof had his head down looking at my grade sheet in front of him, and with no words spoken after about 10 seconds, in horror he looked up at a scene he obviously dreaded..a student in a panic attack. Once I had him hooked like a fish, I stepped confidently (OK, I had to fake the confidence) from behind the lectern and announced my speech topic was stage fright. The class literally erupted with laughter, and i believe it served to aid all those who spoke after me. What did I get in that class? An A…but only because I found creative ways to work within my temperament.
I think a lot of people can relate to Adele’s stage fright and aversion to being a public figure. Her honesty and humility are refreshing.
I´m a singer too, and I´m an introvert. I got to the point of deciding not going to castings or auditions ever again, cause each time I got sick, feel bad, cry, etc. So when I say this, people ask: “You are an introvert and decided to be a SINGER? How come?” And I answer: “Exactly, being an introvert was the reason why I wanted to made my voice be listened”. I studied singing for yeeeeeears, and still wasn´t able to share the world my singing, cause in each audition I made the worse disaster I could, I looked like a beginner, when I wasn´t, and people with less studies always got the roll. So I got to this point where I started working on my stage fright, to the point I´m an expert on the subject, and now I give courses of that (specially for people that would like to sing and don´t have the courage to try). And I decided that the only stage situations that I enjoy are the ones that I feel on a safe enviroment, which are concerts organized by me, or by friends. This means that I made the decision of not going ever again to an audition. Which I don´t think is a bad thing, it´s just chosing another path to do my way.
(My native language is actually spanish, so please excuse any writing mistake!)
I don’t relate to that so much as an introvert. Extroverts can also have stage fright. The anxiety that (I imagine) comes with being famous probably impacts both introverts and extroverts. The fear “that I’m not going to deliver” could be impostor syndrome, self-esteem, or even a “religious” crisis. In my experience, introversion more often manifests as exhaustion when I overdose on contact, not with any kind of anxiety at all.
[…] Amy linked to this Power of Introverts site, and I love a lot of what they’re sharing. This is a great place to start: Adele, the Introvert […]
I’ve always thought I need to change my profession as a wedding photographer, since even days before the wedding, the dread will kick in and I’ll periodically start to panic about the shoot. I never considered, before reading this article, that it was actually stage fright. It’s true that a lot of eyes are on you as the photographer and people have high expectations for you to make them comfortable and interact w/ them in an an easy, fun manner.
Growing up, I’ve also performed worse than normal when any spotlight or pressure is on me. So frustrating….
What you are describing here is anxiety, which is not a hallmark of intraversion.
I for the most part am an introvert, although at times I can be very chatty, approachable and outgoing. The need to retreat into the realm of my mind or to connect with my surroundings is greater and more important than to be on a chattering mode. I don’t fear aloneness; in fact, I find it a luxury to have in this age of technologically-enabled interconnectedness and a social networking-minded world. I befriend many people, but I only let a handful of them to connect with me on Facebook. I enjoy the quietness of small town living, prefer the solitude of meditation or reading a book, and work better alone, yet I have no problem being at a party, love the big city life (I came from one megapolis in southeast asia), and function well in a team; however, I tend to dislike collaborative work because oftentimes someone would just waste time talking than getting things done. Rarely the first to approach someone, still I can easily strike a conversation with a total stranger. I love meeting and learning about new people, yet I practice selective disclosure of myself. My calm (introverted?) demeanor seems to attract people to just come up to me and start talking about their personal problems as if I was their therapist. I am also a naturally good observer, who pays attention to details; I don’t necessary remember one’s name, but I would most likely remember my conversation partner’s facial contours, voice intonation, and other non-verbal subtleties or subconscious gestures
After reading the synopsis, I am looking forward to reading your book