The ten most timid musicians

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There's a long history of musicians who suffered from and overcame (or sometimes didn't overcome) crippling shyness, anxiety and stage fright to fulfill their dreams of standing in the spotlight. That spotlight, it's a cruel, uncaring light. So bright. So uncomfortably warm. Everyone's staring at you expectantly. It can all be so unnerving, as any of the performers on our list of the ten most timid musicians could attest.

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10. Conor Oberst
In addition to certainly, definitely being the next Bob Dylan, Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst was known in his early days for the intense stage fright that caused him to keep a bucket handy in case of mid-set bouts of vomiting. Nowadays, he's primarily known for having a name that looks as though it just came out of an online anagram generator (Bronco Store, Reboots Corn, Robot Censor). He and Embeth Davidtz should get together and see if they hit it off; their kids' names would most likely send off subliminal waves that would rewire your brain just by looking at them. I know kung fu.


9. Lana Del Rey
Having been on the wrong end of a critical backlash the likes of which the Internet has rarely seen, Lana Del Rey could be excused for feeling a little nervous before she performs. She reports that fans sometimes hand her soft toys while she's singing in an effort to comfort her. As an international star with perfect hair and a penchant for appearing naked in magazines and videos, she's clearly having a hard go of it. There, there, little flower. A stuffed tiger will soothe the injuries of this cruel world. His name's Edmund.


8. Matt Berninger
Matt Berninger of the National is known for drinking a bottle of wine before every show, and for writing songs in which he claims that "all the wine is all for me." Lest he come off as some kind of wine-hoarding monster, it's worth pointing out that he drinks in order to overcome a creeping dread of performing. I once drove from Ann Arbor to Cincinnati to see the National play, arriving to find Berninger holding onto the rafters above the stage with one hand, drinking with the other, and looking like he was about to collapse into the audience. In that moment, I knew that all I wanted in my life was to be like him.

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Where's Syd Barrett?


If I was as horrible as Jandek I'd hide from the world too. 

Evan Mathis
Evan Mathis

Had to make sure you had Elliot Smith on your list...

Jeremy Poley
Jeremy Poley

No Vincent Gallo or Keenan James Maynard? Both often play with their back to the audience. Keenan sometimes hides!

Bobby Hill
Bobby Hill

Didn't Van Morrison suffer from a bought of prolonged sage fright during his career?


@Bobby Hill I think Van Morrison just hates people. One time in his early years he scheduled an interview with a journalist, but when the interview time came Van was just reading a newspaper. When the journalist asked Van to do the interview he just told him "Can't you see I'm busy?" He also fought with his manager in the presence of the BBC.

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