In this First Concert Ever segment, the singer-songwriter, Elise Hayes, talks about the story of her first experience with live music. You can check out the story, after the break.
I grew up in a small New England town called Keene in New Hampshire. While there was a lovely creative community in town, major concerts never came through our area. When it came time for my first big concert, I had to travel to Hartford, CT.
As a kid, I was absolutely obsessed with music. Most days, you could find me holed up with an old r&b record or a top 40 pop CD. My absolute favorite artist in the world at the time was Alicia Keys. I was particularly drawn to the way that she could combine the old soul of Motown with a fresh, modern take. So, when I found out she was going to be in Hartford, a mere 2 hours away, I immediately convinced my parents to buy me tickets for my birthday. To top it off, not only would we get to see her, but we were going to see Beyonce and Missy Elliott. Looking back, I can hardly believe what an opportunity that was. So many legends at once!
Alicia hit the stage 2nd, after Missy Elliott. I sobbed through the whole thing. The way that she expressed herself so fully, without reservation, was so beautiful and raw to me. This was a rather stripped set up for her, so a lot was just the piano and her voice. Wow. It was truly inspiring and spellbinding. I was hooked. Beyonce was so incredible as well, of course! The highlight of the night was when she performed “Crazy In Love” and Jay-Z came out…I mean, that was just insane. It was such an iconic night, and it means more to me now than it did then, which is really saying a lot.
I went on to see about a billion concerts in and out of town after that. The main takeaway for me was that expression in performance has to be raw and open to translation. You have to get into that flow state so that people can get on your wavelength and feel what you’re feeling. It was so powerful then, is so powerful now, and ultimately has been the pursuit of my career and lifetime. Can’t wait for the next show.