Or perhaps the better question is, what can’t Grace Potter do? I went to her concert on November 16th at NYC’s famed Beacon Theatre and as usual—this was my third time seeing her live—I was in awe. She sings, she dances, she plays the piano and guitar, even the tambourine. All the while, she commands the entire stage in sky high heels.
Grace Potter has a way of captivating her audience in an almost hypnotic way. Thinking back to her show, I can’t help but draw a parallel between what she does on stage and how everyone should live his/her life.
Three very distinct “Grace Lessons” come to mind:
1) She is unique in a genuine way. If you think about top female performers, I’m sure the first few who come to mind are Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Christina Aguilera; three talented women whose ideas of putting on a show include an expensive production, eye-catching outfits and an all-attention-on-me tone. What I love about Grace Potter is that she doesn’t conform to these expectations. Instead, she focuses on her talents to deliver a show-stopping performance. Grace sings her heart out in every song, whether it involves her electric guitar and the occasional head bang, a high-heeled strut across the stage, or a simple and emotional rendition of “Big White Gate” with an acoustic guitar and the occasional verse belted a cappella. She gives every song her all, conveys a variety of emotions, and pulls her audience into each song so that we experience her unique artistry and feel her emotions too. It’s undeniable that we all felt empowered and a little badass during “The Lion, The Beast, The Beat,” we were all having fun during “Paris (Ooh La La),” and we felt vulnerable during “Apologies.”
- Real Life Application: Grace sets a perfect example for the publicist, marketer and advertiser; and without trying, she is helping to bring out the best in me and who I am on both a personal and professional level. Want to stand out? Show off your strengths, play up your versatility and engage your audience with an emotional connection. You don’t have to be someone you are not to make a statement.
2) She has class. No one can deny that Grace Potter is stunning—or “hot” as many of my male friends say. I have so much respect for the way she presents herself and “flaunts” her beauty. At last Friday’s show, she wore a black sparkly mini dress with a high neck and long sleeves. All that was showing were her (quite amazing) legs, a la Tina Turner. Her hair was down and for the first part of the night, she wore high-heeled ankle boots (until her feet couldn’t take them anymore and she finished the night performing barefoot).
- Real Life Application: No one can argue that sex sells, but that doesn’t mean you should manipulate others with your physical beauty. You can be sexy without being over the top or showing too much skin. Try for an understated sexy that is classy and charismatic.
3) She is a team player. Grace Potter’s band, the Nocturnals, helps carry Grace’s energy and stage presence throughout every show. And she does a fantastic job of making sure we as the audience recognize their contribution to each performance. She plays guitar and sings with them, and periodically introduces them to us. At one point, every member of the band surrounded the drummer to pound on the single drum set for a fun, energetic interlude. She is not afraid of taking a step back to say, “I wouldn’t be where I am without my incredible band.”
- Real Life Application: If you are on a deadline or you have a big project due, don’t forget about the other people who may be involved. We are human and can’t always be expected to do everything ourselves. Plus, the best progress happens when there is collaboration. One of the best ways to earn someone’s respect is to recognize the people who have helped you and who bring out the best in you.
So, with all this said, it’s clear that Grace Potter is sure of herself—she knows who she is and she isn’t afraid to rock out on stage, having fun, being real and not taking all the credit. If you haven’t already noticed, she is one of my idols and I feel like she sets an incredible example for others. For my birthday, my lovely boyfriend got me tickets to her NYC show. Every birthday, I can’t help but reflect on the last year and look forward to the one ahead; I ask myself questions like “How was I challenged this year? What did I learn about myself? What goals did I set for myself, and did I achieve them?”
It was perfect timing to be asking myself all of these questions while watching Grace at the Beacon Theatre. I hope to take these Grace Lessons and apply them to my life so that I can have an even better year, with more self discovery and professional growth. And, if I encounter any roadblocks, I’ll just ask myself, “What would Grace Potter do?”