Editor’s Note: We’re trying this again. Getting 30 artists to answer the same question. For the month of September–one for each day–we’ll be getting 30 Lubbock-West Texas singer-songwriters to answer the following question. For the complete list of September answers, click here.
Is there a song that you’ve written that you find yourself singing with your eyes closed more often than not when performed live? Why?
“I sing lots of my songs with my eyes closed. This is for a few reasons. Firstly, I have written tons of songs and we write and perform new material regularly. That means I am always reciting new lyrics at shows. I have a tough time trying to remember all of them and so I find that it is helpful to shut off the sensory input from my eyes, which only serve to distract me. With my eyes closed, I can fully focus on not only the lyrics, but also I can fully immerse my mind in the sound of the song. Music is an invisible art form anyway so closing your eyes to focus on it makes all the sense in the world. Secondly, I will close my eyes during shows because it makes it easier for people in the venue to watch me. Eye contact is very powerful and can be utilized in a performance to great effect. It’s powerful to catch someone’s eye during a show because it establishes a human connection that brings the audience member into a more intimate mindset as they realize that the performer is human and that they are interacting with the audience member in this way. Conversely, it is useful to close your eyes during a performance because some folks will shy away from direct eye contact with someone they are watching perform. The closed eyes of the performer allow the audience member a free and non-intimidating opportunity for some “people watching.” This can be powerful too. It allows that person to really absorb what you are doing without the pressure of a social interaction. The real skill here is to know how to balance these things in a show. Close your eyes the whole time and people wont feel that human connection. Stare down every motherfucker in the room and you will make everyone feel awkward.”
—Andy Eppler, songwriter