The Power of Connecting Face To Face

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Power of Connecting Face to Face

Anthony Riley singing on street corner in Center City Philadelphia

I was rushing out of my apartment to get to a meeting when I heard someone singing.

Something about the tone, beauty – and most of all heart in this voice- lured me across the street.

It took me less than 2 minutes to become a fan of Anthony Riley, a young man, who sets up his music box and container of CDs at the corner of a busy street in center city Philadelphia.

Anthony is not only extremely talented – he’s smart.

He shares his personal story between songs. His story of how his world fell apart when his mother died many years ago.

He talks about how he’s still healing today. And that all of us, in some way, are healing.

With a sweet earnestness, he tells us that he hopes his music helps us in this process.

If anyone in the crowd listening to his music didn’t love him up to that moment, they do now.

Anthony dares to be vulnerable with a group of strangers. He knows that if he opens his heart, we’re more likely to feel a bond to him. And root for his success.

When he sings, he immerses himself in the music while at the same time engages the audience.

This is exactly the skill that the coaches on The Voice and all of the other reality singing shows try to teach the contestants – to connect with the audience.

My guess is that Anthony has spent years perfecting not just his extraordinary voice but his incredible talent of connecting.

If I happened to see Anthony on The Voice, performing as a superstar on The Emmys or listening to his #1 CD on iTunes, I’m quite sure I would be grabbed by his talent.

But the truth is this. None of those technologies come close to the power of connecting with someone live. All of the others are substitutes for what is sorely lacking in our lives – face to face connection.

No amount of skyping, texting, or phoning can replace it.

Sure, Anthony may be on the street corner 3 or 4 times a week, in part, to sell his CD and hopefully get his big break. But my gut tells me there’s something more to his strategy.

Anthony knows the power of bringing his music to folks in the flesh – of hearing and seeing the soul pour into every note he sings from just a few feet away, to watch him pivot his agile body and observe the tender smile he directs to someone in the audience.

Anthony also has figured out that singing live- no matter where it may be – feeds his soul. The wildly positive response he gets from the audience after each song reinforces this artist’s desire to share his talent, connect, and ‘be known’.

He has the makings of a superstar. My hunch is that he’ll become famous.

But regardless, Anthony has already made a significant impact on thousands of individuals’ lives. I know he has on mine.

 NOTE: This article first appeared as an EXCLUSIVE FOR FRAN SORIN NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS. If you want to continue receiving stories like this, please sign up for my FS Newsletter below.

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11 Comments

  1. Fran,
    I absolutely LOVE Anthony’s story and agree with you completely….there is something about sitting face to face with a person and connecting on a heart level that no amount of next gen technology can replace.
    Thank you for sharing this story and for going across the street…to reach out. You’re such an angel!
    Lots of love to you,
    Z~

    Reply
    • Zeenat-
      I’m not surprised that you feel the same way. Thanks for your words of support and I hope one day we will have the chance to meet in person! Much love-

      Reply
  2. Hi Fran,

    I just happened to visit your blog via twitter and found it amazingly awesome! This story is truly heart touching…I loved reading it. While many people would just overlook and pass by, without making any effort to connect with such persons, you actually spoke to him though you were in a hurry! We need more of such benevolence, such caring souls.

    Thanks for being so good and having a discerning eye.

    Reply
    • Balroop-
      What a treat to find your kind words as I wind up my day. Am so glad that it gave you pleasure. It has been raining all afternoon here but yesterday I heard Anthony singing on the street corner from my apt. Rumor has it that he’s going to perform at the Apollo in NYC. It is true that if we all slowed down, observed, and connected with others, all of us would be healthier and happier . With gratitude- Fran

      Reply
    • Hey Christopher – Do you stop and listen to Anthony as well? Yes, his voice is delicious! :) Fran

      Reply
  3. Dear Fran, I love the way you weave such a meaningful story from everyday life. Anthony sounds captivating. I agree with you – we are too much into texting and phoning these days. At the same time, I’m an introvert so I could never do what Anthony does!

    Reply
    • Sandra-
      I don’t think too many of us could do what Anthony does. But just walking down the street and smiling at a stranger, making conversation with others when you’re on an elevator or doing errands, opening doors for others and saying and ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, asking your waiter or waitress their name at a restaurant – all of these seemingly tiny interactions are like pearls in the sand. They add up to create a beautiful necklace and have a positive impact on others – and on you. Even these seemingly small acts are connections….Thanks for your comment. Fran

      Reply
      • Beautiful! I can definitely do all that!

        Reply
  4. Fran,
    What great lessons you learned that day slowing down and listening to Anthony! Any idea what he’s doing since you first wrote that? I’d love to know!!
    Thanks for your inspiration!!
    xoxo Betsy

    Reply
    • Betsy-
      Anthony is still down at the street corner 3 to 4 times a week. I’ve hear rumor that he is going to the Apollo and is auditioning for The Voice. Believe me, he has a plan. But meanwhile, he is putting in the work and sharing his talent with all of us. Sometimes when I’m in my apt. writing, I hear his voice and a huge smile comes across my face. I’ll keep you posted. xxoo

      Reply

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