Mel Tormé on the vagaries of performance:
“Performing is very tricky,” Tormé said after the set. “It is a good idea to allow some small piece of unhappiness from your life to be a part of your work every night. It gives your singing depth. Standing ovations don’t impress me. I can sing badly and get one. When that happens, I can walk offstage in a deep depression that may last several days. Other times, I get apathetic reactions when I know I have been great. Once in a while, though, that strange silver cord that goes between me and the audience grows taut, and it’s — well, exhilarating. You learn in time that each performance is not the end of the world, that things can go awry because of — what? A faulty digestive tract, a moon tide, a drunk in the house.”(Thanks for the book, Susan!)
Quoted in Whitney Balliett’s American Singers: Twenty-Seven Portraits in Song (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988).