Willie Nelson’s First Performance Didn’t Go All That Well
Anyone who's seen Willie Nelson live in concert can attest to the fact that he's a natural performer, with an unparalleled ease and sense of fun onstage that rarely disappoints. He's remained an avid live performer well into his 80s — and before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the 87-year-old still kept up a lively touring schedule.
Although it may be hard to imagine the seasoned performer ever falling victim to stage jitters, that's exactly what happened at his very first performance in front of a crowd, over eight decades ago. Nelson recounted that memory during a recent appearance on NBC's Sunday Sitdown With Willie Geist, explaining that it consisted of reciting a poem to a crowd.
"I was about five years old, and my poem was, 'What are you looking at me for? / I ain't got nothin' to say / If you don't like the looks of me / Just look the other way,'" Nelson remembers. "I had on a little white sailor suit with red trim."
While he was onstage, the singer went on to say, he experienced a bout of stage fright. "I got nervous doing my poem, and I started pickin' my nose," the singer adds.
Fortunately for Nelson — and his audience! — those jitters quickly dissipated as the years went on. The year after that performance, at the age of six, he got his first guitar, and turned from a young singer-songwriter out of Texas into one of country music's living legends.
To date, Nelson has released upwards of 140 albums, and he's adding one more to that collection on Friday (Feb. 26) with the arrival of That's Life, his second Frank Sinatra tribute album. On That's Life, Nelson will tackle a number of the most iconic selections from Sinatra's catalogue, including "Luck Be a Lady," "You Make Me Feel So Young" and "I've Got You Under My Skin."
See Pictures of Willie Nelson Through the Years: