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.
QUIET is now the #1 Hardcover Nonfiction bestseller on the Heartland Indie Bestseller List, and debuted at #10 on the LA Times bestseller list.
THANKS AS ALWAYS for all your support.
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- Rise of the Introverts: Courtesy of CBS News
- Reading Ideas for the Weekend: Stage Fright in Hollywood, A Golden Age for Introverts, and More
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.