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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.