The Day I Played To 300 000 People

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Jean Morrison, East Coast radio, dj, radio station, live performance, live on-air, interview

I recently opened for 3x SAMA nominee Josie Field at Snap Wine Bar. The place was packed, buzzing and full of excitement. We couldn’t fit any more people into the venue if we tried. But something just wasn’t right.

As I started playing my first song, the somewhat debaucherous crowd quietened down to a whisper. I thought to myself “Shit, is there something on my face, maybe they can’t hear me, something must be really wrong” but I just carried on strumming and singing away until the song concluded. Then suddenly a huge roar erupted in applause. I was like “What the f***?”. I thought to myself “I’m just the opening act, this isn’t even my show”. It was a great surprise but to be honest, I wasn’t used to having so many people appreciate my music in that setup. I had become accustomed to being ‘the music in the background’, while people mostly focused their gaze on the television behind me in a smoke-drenched pub.

At every gig, I usually play one cover song only. This particular night it was ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen but with more of a Jeff Buckley vibe. Once my set was finished, a man approached me from the crowd and introduced himself as the producer for East Coast Radio. He explained how East Coast Radio DJ, Darryl Ilbury loves the song and kindly asked if I could surprise him on his birthday by performing Hallelujah live on air during Darryl’s breakfast show at 6am on Monday Morning (to over 300 000 listeners) Yikes! Needless to say, I woke up at 4am, drank a s***load of honey and lemon to fight the croaky morning voice and thus began warming up my voice for over two hours before finally heading over to the studio in utter fear.

As any singer will tell you, it’s not easy singing first thing in the morning, especially when you have over 300 000 listeners anticipating every note wondering if you’re going to mess up. But the rendition went well and Darryl digged his little birthday surprise.

Posted on: 24 November 2008

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