Reign Morton popped up again last night at the Bizz’art venue on the Quai de Valmy, singing in the Sankofa Soul Competition. This is a huge French singing competition for soul music, and it was designed to help show off the young, new talent in France, train the talent and reward the talent. First prize is an all expenses paid trip to a singing academy in Texas.
Reign, readers of this blog will remember, has blown me out of my seat in recent weeks at the Tennessee bar, and I guess my sense of things is not too far off, as Reign has also been blowing the judges and voting spectators out of their seats at the Bizz’art (which is not the same as the Bizart I wrote about recently), and he has been working his way through the various levels of the competition. Last night, he came in first place amongst the nine or so competitors and he therefore moves on to the quarter finals of this competition.
It turned out that the Bizzart was within a 15 minute walk from the open mic I intended to take part in, the Culture Rapide open mic in Belleville, so I decided to drop in to hear Reign first. I managed to arrive in this crowded, dark venue with a bar and cocktail tables on the ground floor and a mezzanine with diners at white-table clothed tables above. I immediately liked the vibe and felt like I was in New York or L.A. And I got there just in time. I heard one of the competitors, and then she was immediately followed by Reign.
So I ordered my beer and made my way to the side of the stage as close as I could get – which was not real close – and I managed to film all of Reign’s performance. Blew me and the crowd away. Check out my video, and keep in mind that I only had one hand available and had to raise it high – so the camera is shaky. Reign’s performance was very full, very complete, with the style of singing drawing the best out of him and never being monotonous, and then he moved into some fine dancing bits, got the audience participating both vocally and with hand clapping. A maestro performance.
I was a little worried when the guy after him did a good job of a real tear-jerker song, but I suppose the judges were smart enough to see that as good as that guy’s performance was, it was not the whole complete number that Reign produced. Because Reign won the night.
I had a real debate with myself whether I should stay and watch his second number, but I decided that ultimately I’m out there to perform myself, and not only to keep these blog notes about it. So I left, thinking Reign was certainly the best and if he didn’t win it would be through some trick or ruse of another wiley performer – or a failure on the judges’ part.
I said hello to Reign and after a real warm bear-hug greeting from him right after he got off the stage, he went off and ducked out into a seat in the audience and retreated into himself. I figured that was exactly where he should be, and I left and went to the Culture Rapide.
There I performed two songs, “Just Like a Woman,” and then my own song, “Since You Left Me.” There were not very many performers, but the audience was kind and good and kept quiet during my first song, and a couple of people asked me if I would perform another later – you only do one each set – and I said I would. It then turned out there was a third set, but I had suddenly become swamped by a feeling of “I want to get out of here.”
It’s a weird feeling that I sometimes get after performing, and it’s a kind of alienating thing, where you suddenly withdraw into yourself after you’ve been so expansive on stage and let out all your emotions and reached out and flown into the stratosphere or whatever that place is that you reach on stage when things go well and you feel painted to the stage. Today I went to Reign’s Facebook page and found that he had put up a thing where he said in his status: “Reign Morton wonders why he gets so shy when he comes off stage after a performance… after being so exposed like that, the first thing i want to do is climb into a little hole and block out the sun. Is that normal?”
And I realized that was exactly the same thing I feel sometimes. I jokingly responded that this is just a form of “postcoital depression.” But I actually think it is a form of that same phenomenon: It’s the come down from the high moment on stage. Dare I compare it to a cocaine crash landing, or other drug thing. Fortunately it does not last long or even always happen. But it does sometimes. And, yes, I’d say it’s perfectly natural. But I probably should have stayed to perform again last night in the third set – instead I walked off the postcoital depression through the dark and cold Paris streets. Did the trick.
Let’s hope Reign wins the full competition. Check out the video I did of his song last night and you get an idea of why he won.