A couple of days ago, a good friend sent me a text asking me if I would be interested in going to see K.D. Lang at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. It was one of those moments where I couldn’t say yes fast enough – thank you Steven!
In 1992, K.D.’s album Ingénue was released and I remember playing it over and over again in the record store I worked in, listening in awe to her unbelievable vocal range. Her vocal talents are unmatched in any performer I have ever had the pleasure of watching live.
I’ll say it again – tonight’s performance was hands down the best vocal performance I have ever heard in my entire life. It was magical.
Some people go through life with incredible talents that are drowned out or conditioned out by the world around them. Others thrive in ways that almost seem superhuman. That’s how it felt tonight – as if we were in the presence of a divine being.
K.D. delighted a packed theater with a full set of all-out from-the-heart performances and 2 encores, but the highlight was undoubtedly her mind-blowing rendition of Hallelujah. The song itself is amazing and has been covered by some of the greatest musicians of our time. But her incredible vocal range sent this song into another dimension and had me almost physically shaking it was so powerful.
She gave it to us tonight.
At the end of the show, we were filing out of the theater when I heard the news that Steve Jobs had passed away. It was jolting – as if I was going from a euphoric state to that of extreme sadness in an instant.
I remembered a thought I had while K.D. was on stage. I imagined what the world would be like if she was no longer in it. Not in a morbid, freaky way, but with a sense of acute awareness of the mortality we all live with.
As she sang, I gave thanks for the opportunity to experience this stunning performance while she still walks among us. One day, she will be gone, and people will only be able to remember her through the music she has recorded and through moments like the one I experienced tonight.
Similarly, Steve Jobs has gifted the world with some of the most innovative devices to ever be created, and these gifts continue to provide powerful experiences to people around the globe every day. I’m typing this on one of them now.
Steve knew that our time on Earth is precious. A reality he faced 7 years before his death when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He beat the odds for many years and saw the company he founded launch some of the most successful products in history. This is his legacy, and it cannot be taken from him.
He delivered a poignant speech at Stanford University in 2005 that has one of the most direct appeals to follow your heart I’ve ever seen in a speech. The irony of a college dropout giving the commencement of one of the country’s top universities is a trip in and of itself. If you have never seen the speech, I highly encourage you to watch it.
Just after 9 minutes, he shares this nugget of wisdom:
…For the past 33 years, I’ve looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself ‘if today were the last day of my life, would I do what I’m about to do today?’ And whenever the answer is no too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. – Steve Jobs
We have within each of us the power to do amazing things in this world. We all have unique gifts that only we can give.
Today, I challenge you to ask yourself the question that Steve asked himself in the mirror every day. Show up every day and be fully present. Share your unique gifts while you have a chance. Don’t wait. Now is all there is.
K.D. Lang and Steve Jobs chose to share their gifts with the world. What will you share?
Photos: Adelaide Now & AP