“Next on stage—Mr. Dave Bass.”
In the corner of the crowded bar, Bass took a deep breath and pushed his way to the stage. On the surface, this was an ordinary event—a midweek open mic night at the Peppermint Lounge, an upscale bar a few miles west of New York City. The audience was an eclectic mix—bankers and artists, businessmen and wanderers. They were here for a few drinks and a few laughs—no one was looking for the next Jimi Hendrix.
To Bass, however, this was much more than a one-song show for a few dozen strangers. This was his proving ground. Either he had what it took to make it as a professional singer or he didn’t. “I figured that a crowd like that, once they had a lot of alcohol, would be brutally honest. The experiment was to get up and see if I could win over the crowd with something they wanted to hear, and then win them over with a gospel song.” Gospel music, after all, was Bass’s true passion.
Bass got up, sang his song, and left the club. He lived over the river in New Jersey and had to be at work early the next morning. “When I went back to the bar the next week, the owners said they had been looking for me because I had won the open mic night, and they needed to give me my prize. After that, I decided I was ready to find a [singing] group.”