No popular artist is bigger these days than the British singer-songwriter Adele, and few have been as open about their stage fright.
In a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone, Adele disclosed about her performance anxiety:
I’m scared of audiences. I get shitty scared. One show in Amsterdam, I was so nervous I escaped out the fire exit. I’ve thrown up a couple of times. Once in Brussels, I projectile-vomited on someone. I just gotta bear it. But I don’t like touring. I have anxiety attacks a lot.
I’m scared of audiences. I get shitty scared. One show in Amsterdam, I was so nervous I escaped out the fire exit.Adele
In the same interview, Adele explained the reason behind her performance anxiety:
I mean, the thought of someone spending $20 to come and see me and saying ‘Oh, I prefer the record and she’s completely shattered the illusion’ really upsets me. It’s such a big deal that people come give me their time.
Adele echoed the same thoughts in a 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper a year later:
Cooper: So how does it manifest itself?
Adele: It starts the minute I wake up. It I know I’ve got a live show, it starts…I mean I just try and just try and putter around and keep myself busy and stuff like that. And then I got to go down and sit down in the chair for a couple of hours, have my hair and makeup done. But it has gotten worse as I’ve become more successful. My nerves. Just because there’s a bit more pressure, and people are expecting a lot more for me.
Cooper: So what’s that fear?
Adele: That I’m not going to deliver. The people are going to enjoy it. That I’ll ruin their love for my songs by doing them live. I feel sick. I get a bit panicky.
Cooper: Have you ever thrown up?
Adele: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah, a few times. Projectile.
All of this admission of performance anxiety has resulted in somewhat of a public watch when it comes to Adele’s performances. For example, multiple news articles appeared about her attempts to combat her fears ahead of performing her title song from the James Bond movie Skyfall at the 2013 Oscars.
Some reports had her undergoing hypnotherapy in Los Angeles. Others had her studying Chinese Qi Gong breathing techniques. As for her rather lackluster performance that night, speculation ran to some sort of connection between it and performance anxiety.
To me, the lack of excitement in her performance suggests that she resorted to using a beta blocker. (Be sure to check out my post on beta blockers and stage fright.)
I’ll be sure to update this post as Adele’s ongoing stage fright saga plays out.
What do you think? Do you have sympathy for Adele and her battle with performance anxiety? Let us know by commenting below.