I don't generally consider myself a star-struck kind of person. You know the type - the ones who get so excited upon encountering a celebrity that their voice reaches a pitch normally reserved for pre-teen girls. The ones who have an alarmingly sizeable collection of autographs and photos. The ones who you fear may turn out to be stalkers. Not usually my thing.
Last Saturday, I had a gig with one of the bands I sing with. Nothing out of the ordinary, just a fundraiser for some private school in LA. Then, sometime around the third song of our first set, I noticed him. He sat at a table off to the side of the room. Dark glasses. Long braids. Unassuming, with a surprisingly small entourage. A bodyguard the size of what I can only imagine the abominable snowman would look like (only not quite as snowy white). Arguably one of the greatest musicians of our time. Stevie Wonder.
I had heard he might be there, but when reality set in and he was sitting before me, I froze. I never get nervous when I sing. I've met a few famous people in my life, and I always seem to hold it together pretty well. But this time it was different. Surely, he knows most of the songs we are playing. Surely, he will notice if I forget the lyrics or if I sing the slightest bit out of tune. Not usually things I worry about.
Despite all the self-induced pressure, I made it through the gig with only two minor mistakes. And he seemed to be enjoying the music, singing along and rolling his head the way he does. In the end, I was able to meet him and take a photograph. And I didn't turn into aforementioned psycho. He was kind, gracious, and surprisingly humble. It was a great honor to play for him, and an experience I will never forget.