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  • Writer's pictureDana Sanchez

#19 46-Year-Old Plus Size Single Mom DROPS THE MIC After Leading a Packed House in Journey’s, “Don’t

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

It’s true. I did it. I was 100% sober too. And I left everything on stage. Here’s why and how.


Day three in San Diego, I was exhausted. I hadn’t experienced a decent night’s sleep for over a week because I was so excited about attending Social Media Marketing World 2017. That, coupled with the time change and a day full of marketing training and my mind was broke.

I was in a fog and my feet hurt, but I soldiered on. I didn’t have a choice really. I had friends who traveled from faraway lands like Australia and the UK to be there and me? Well, I just took 3-hour nonstop flight from Kansas City. If they could do it, so could I.


Social Media Marketing World, (hosted by Social Media Examiner), is the largest, most esteemed Social Media Marketing conference on the planet and it happens every year in San Diego, California. With over 3,000 marketers in attendance, (and countless more virtual attendees), it’s a marketers Disneyland.

It’s 3 days, (4 if you count the pre-conference workshops), of non-stop learning and engaging with the world’s best and brightest marketing experts including Michael Stelzner, the Founder of Social Media Examiner, New York Times Best Selling Authors Chris Brogan and Jay Baer, Content Marketing and Online & Social Media Marketing All Stars Mark Schaefer, Kim Garst, Mari Smith and Amy Porterfield and former Chief Evangelist for Apple and current Chief Evangelist for Canva, Guy Kawasaki.

At SMMW, you also hear from the industry's top Bloggers, Podcasters and Marketing Influencers like Ann Handley, Cliff Ravenscraft, John Lee Dumas and Heidi Cohen, YouTube marketing sensations Tim Schmoyer, Amy Schmittauer, Pat Flynn, and many more.


At the end of day three at SMMW17, exhausted and hungry, I met up with a group of friends and fellow marketers for dinner at a trendy downtown San Diego restaurant. Afterwards, several of us went to the conference evening festivities, hosted at Parq Event Center. (Which presented itself more as a large, swanky, “night club” than what you’d typically think of an events center.)

To be honest, it was already past my bedtime and after we ate, all I wanted to do was go back to my hotel and take a hot bath. But there was dessert involved. (Like literally. The Parq had amazing dessert bars.) Plus, my friends assured me we’d just show up, walk around for a few minutes and leave. (Famous last words.)


There were 2 main areas or floors at the Parq; a chill area upstairs with dim lights and modern furniture and the party floor downstairs. (That's where I heard all the music coming from anyway.) So, we made our way downstairs and what I saw next was nothing short of a great time.

The place was packed…wall to wall, shoulder to shoulder. A guy I had just met at a conference session that afternoon was on stage channeling Axl Rose, rocking out to "Sweet Child of Mine". I felt an insatiable need to get to the front of the stage to encourage Brian in his performance. And I did. A few of my friends were right behind me as we made our way to the front.


It was Band Karaoke. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was karaoke, but with a real live band complete with professional musicians, background singers, stage lighting and badass concert effects.


I immediately found my 2nd wind. I made my way to the DJ booth to check out the song list. Keep in mind, I’m not a great singer. I can carry a tune, sometimes, or at least I think I can…to certain songs. But I’m a performer. For me, it’s all about creating memories. There were a couple great songs on the list I KNEW I could NAIL. (One being “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang.)

But then, I saw it: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”, and I knew. This. Was. It.


I put my name on the list and waited. And waited. And waited. Then I asked the DJ where I was at on the list and he informed me there were 50 people in front of me. I sighed in defeat. I told him there’s no way I could last that long.

By that time, my friends and I were completely shattered. (And I hadn’t even had dessert.) He encouraged me to hang around a while but I told him I just didn’t have it in me.

Then, I showed him the song I was going to sing. I promised him it would be a crowd pleaser. He agreed and moved me up the list.


After about 40 more minutes of waiting and bribing him with my free drink tickets, (which he didn’t take), I was up next. The guy in front of me was a husky, middle-aged guy from Boston. He sported cool Boston accent, a fun personality and a short sleeve button down bowling shirt.

Waiting off stage we became fast friends. He informed me he was going to sing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”. (For a moment, I wondered if I wanted to follow that. It was a good one.)

He went on stage and slayed it. Every now and then he’d look to stage right, (where I was standing), for encouragement. I gleefully sang along…and so did most everyone else in the room. It was a happy song.

The crowd was primed and pumped. Then it was my turn. Earlier I handed my phone to my friend Shelley from the UK and asked her to live stream the performance on my Facebook profile.


Here’s where I need to explain something. I didn’t ask her to do that because I wanted to show off. I asked her to do that because some of our friends had already left for the night and I didn’t want them to miss out on the experience. (As Social Media Geeks, most of us sleep with our phones. Plus, when one of us goes live our friends are alerted.)

Every part of me fully intended to delete the video as soon as I got back to my hotel room. It was 12:30 am back home in Missouri, on a week night, so I knew that most of my friends and family wouldn’t be awake to see it. I could do it, delete it, and save myself the embarrassment of having anyone I “knew” (including myself) the pain of watching it later.


I walked on stage still carrying the empty water bottle I had downed from earlier. This is what you don’t see on the video. (The video is below.)


Before the song starts, I take the mic and thank the band. (Duh.) Then I said the magic words. Heartfelt and genuine:

“I want to dedicate this song to all the little guys out there, just like me, that haven’t made the big time, but fully intend to never give up.”

The piano melody starts, the song kicks off and the CROWD. GOES. WILD.

I’m pretty sure the DJ turned my mic down after the first few lines…I winced when I heard it myself. (I was way off tune.) But the great thing about it was, nobody cared or probably even heard me. One, most of them had been drinking a lot. Two, everyone in the place was singing just as loud and off tune as I was.

It was their song. It was their story.


And that’s why it worked. You see, I could have chosen a song I could actually sing. (Or rap to.) Something that would make me feel great about myself. But I didn’t. I chose a song that I knew most everyone there would love. A classic, feel good anthem, packed with inspiration. (Don’t stop, believing, hold on to that feeling…)


In that moment, I felt like a Rockstar. And I acted like one. I owned it. (I don’t believe in doing stuff halfway.) People were cheering, calling my name, reaching out to me from the crowd to touch my hand. (Not kidding.) When the song came to a close, concert smoke filled the stage and I took my empty bottle of water and did a “mic drop” with it.

That was the icing on the cake.

(I was conscious of the fact that I didn’t want to destroy a real mic.) The video ends with my overweight backside bending over to pick up my “mic litter”. LOL.


What you don’t see next, (because the video ends), is nothing short of amazing. When the song’s over, the drummer launches into a solo, more concert smoke billows down from the heavens above and the crowd starts chanting “ENCORE! ENCORE!” They didn’t want it to end and frankly, neither did I.

I exited the stage to a sea of smiling faces and high fives. Leaving the club, I grabbed some chocolate off the dessert table and shoved it in my mouth. As we walked across the street to the hotel shuttle bus, I distinctly remember thinking, “I’m deleting that video as soon as I get back to my room.”

My friends. (Left to right) Shelley from the UK, (she took the video), Me, Celeste from New Zealand (but now lives in California) and Kym from Australia.

My friends. (Left to right) Shelley from the UK, (she took the video), me, Celeste from New Zealand, (but now lives in California), and Kym from Australia.


Then we boarded the shuttle. The passengers erupted in applause. (Remember, all I wanted to do in that moment was get back to my room to delete what just happened.) Once again, I’m greeted with more high fives and happy faces. There was a college guy on the bus from the University of Michigan. I could be remembering this wrong, but I believe he said he had over 200,000 followers on Snapchat, and 2,000+ had already watched the video. He also said that when I dropped the mic – the show was over; they exited the club. (Confirming what I knew all along...the mic drop was a GREAT move.) (BOOM.)


When I finally settled down into my room back at the hotel, I plugged in my phone and powered it up. The picture that’s on this blog was tweeted by someone at the club watching the performance. The tweet simply said: This. #SMMW17.

I opened Facebook to delete the video and to my surprise I had dozens of messages from friends who were at the club that night, and wanted me to know they supported my “all in” karaoke performance. Somebody even called it legendary. (WHA???) I continued to get so many positive comments via Twitter and Facebook, that I decided not to delete it after all.

But please know my heart. I didn’t keep it up for attention. I kept it up because it was a shared memory. A moment in time that was almost magical. (We WERE at Social Media Marketing World after all; aka Marketing Disneyland.)


It still stings when I watch myself. I didn’t know my legs looked that fat until I watched that video. And you know how everyone has that one “bad side” of their hair or face? Well, my bad side was pointed directly to the camera during 98% of the live stream.

I asked my 26-year-old daughter the next day if she watched it and she said no. She was scared to. LOL. I don’t blame her. We both laughed. Nervously.



The next day was the final day of the conference. Suddenly, I had a lot of new friends. Someone even told me I was her “Spirit Animal”. (I’ve always wanted to be one of those.) After returning home to Missouri, a friend of mine, who also watched the video and knows that I don’t drink, asked me, “How do you do something like that sober??” I told her, “I didn’t do it for me. I did it for us. The crowd. My friends.” And that’s why it worked.


The next time you have the chance to do something extraordinary, to create an amazing memory that everyone can be a part of and share in, I encourage you to go for it. OWN IT. Don’t worry about what you look like. When you focus on how you make people feel, instead of how fat your legs look, or how crazy your hair looks that day, you’ll experience a freedom you never knew existed. I wasn’t the only one who had that kind of experience that night. There were many others before me.


Maya Angelou is quoted saying, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

In my case, as long as the video stays up, they won’t forget what I did. But most people don’t grab a smartphone and purposely live stream something like that. (Clearly, I’m NOT most people.) I enjoy inviting others to participate in a fun experience, especially if it makes them feel good.

But Maya Angelou was right. (I loved that woman.) To go one step further, people will not only forget what you said and what you did, they’ll also forget what you wore, how your hair looked, how many wrinkles were on your face and how fat or skinny you looked.


There’s a lot more I will share in the upcoming months about my "learning" experience at SMMW17, so please stay tuned or subscribe to my posts and have them delivered to your inbox.

Also, please feel free to connect with me via all social media platforms. I’d love to be friends.

Thanks for reading.



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