How Google+ Changed My Life

In three days Google+ changed my life, my heart and my career overnight and turned my dreams into virtual reality.

A few weeks ago my older brother called from California and said, “Do you need an invitation to Google+? Maybe you could be one of the first musicians on there.” I was on my way to a performance, ready to lug my amps through a downpour of rain and I said, “What’s Google+? I’ve got to get to my sound check!”

At the time I had no idea that conversation would lead me on a fast-track path to finding the most beautifully brilliant, totally supportive and effortlessly global community of people I’ve ever encountered and that I would soon be playing for all of them live from my producer’s recording studio tucked away in the forest of a small town miles and miles away from them all.

On July 16th I had only a few people “circling” me on G+ when I launched my first G+ Hangout Concert. A Hangout is feature where you can live video chat with up to 10 people at once… That night I held what has now been officially called the first pro-level Google+ Hangout Concert. Word spread so fast that within minutes there were so many hundreds of people from all over the world trying to get into the concert that Google’s top engineer Chee Chew and others began adjusting the tech on the fly. They daisy-chained the hangouts on their computers to work around the 10 person limit and get more people in!

“Audience” members also came up with an etiquette of “rotating” in and out of the 9 “front row seats” inside the Hangout to let other people interact with me where we laughed, marveled at the technology and became friends as I played and sang through the night. It was my first time having an audience “lined up around the block” waiting to hear me perform, so I played for 6.5 hours straight!

In one night, I toured the world.

International press and blogs started writing about what had happened and a week later on July 23rd, we played our 2nd Hangout Concert and this time it was live-streamed so that anyone could watch from their computer even if they couldn’t get into the jam-packed 10-person Hangout. That night 9,000 viewers from 100 countries watched me play live!!!

The G+niuses (what I call these amazing fans) even created a map where they’ve tagged themselves in our global audience:

As night turned to day for viewers in Europe, evening into the wee hours of the morning for me, and morning shifted to afternoon in Australia… I kept playing to see as many of their beautiful faces as I could. We played for 7.5 hours straight. 

We played for guys in Sweden, ladies in London, a girl in the Dominican Republic, people in Argentina and Ghana and a mother and son in China. A hospital in Portugal fed the live-stream of the concert onto the screens in their ER room to cheer up patients and nurses. I saw little girls dance to my music on an Australian Sunday morning when it was Saturday night for me. I watched the sunrise in Norway through a new fan’s screen while I played my song called “Foreign Cities”. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.

I can’t even begin to describe what it was like to connect with these amazing people all together all at once…. The distance between us disappeared…

During the second concert, I debuted a song called “+1 Me,” inspired by the stories of the first concert.

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