The little guy hung out in the corner of my eye as I sang a song at Graceland.
When I turned to see him, I noticed that he was also singing the song, “Teddy Bear.”
When I finished with the song, we looked at each other and smiled.
“Do you take requests,” he asked, shyly smiling?
“Why, yes, I do,” I said. “What song would you like and I’ll try to sing it.”
He told me that he wanted to do “Blue Suede Shoes” and asked if he could sing it.
“Yes, you sure can. I’ll play it and then you can sing with me.”
I got the words for him and struck the first chord to Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes.”
He began tentatively and then warmed up. By the time we got to the part where we’re singing “Blue, Blue, Blue Suede Shoes, Baby, Blue, Blue, Blue Suede Shoes, Baby,” he was treating the word “baby” with gusto and playfulness. I moved the microphone closer to him and blended with him as his confidence built. When he did, the audience responded with spontaneous applause. I extended that part of the song for another round and his confidence grew even more.
He received another round of applause at the end.
It’s amazing how he transformed when he stood up in front of the audience and started singing. It was great to watch his hesitation transform into confidence right before my eyes. I’ve seen it many times during the last six months: Young kids who approach me about either singing with me or me singing with them. I've seen it in other areas of life. It's always inspiring.
For the courage to approach me with a request, unprompted by anyone, and then stand there figuratively naked in front of a crowd, little John from Australia is my hero.
May we all be so bold when the opportunity strikes.
Copyright 2017, Cecil Yancy