Las Vegas Sun

March 22, 2019

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Guest Columnist:

Singer Skye Dee Miles: ‘Perform with passion, perform with purpose, and perform for the people’

1923 Bourbon & Burlesque by Holly Madison

Denise Truscello / WireImage /

Skye Dee Miles and her men arrive at the grand opening of 1923 Bourbon & Burlesque by Holly Madison at Mandalay Bay on Thursday, May 1, 2014, in Las Vegas.

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Skye Dee Miles performs during the grand opening of 1923 Bourbon & Burlesque by Holly Madison at Mandalay Bay on Thursday, May 1, 2014, in Las Vegas.

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Skye Dee Miles, Mark Shunock, Jennifer Romas and Lydia Ansel arrive at Shunock’s “Mondays Dark,” benefiting St. Therese Center/HIV Outreach, at Vinyl on Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, at Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas.

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Skye Dee Miles and Jeff Civillico attend Mark Shunock’s debut “Mondays Dark” benefiting Opportunity Village on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, in Body English at the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas.

As Robin Leach settles into a northern Italian lake district lifestyle before his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy — plus, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore this year — many of our Strip personalities have again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with the fabulous singer Skye Dee Miles, who recently headlined at Holly Madison’s new 1923 Bourbon & Burlesque at Mandalay Bay and was a longtime staple at the Tropicana.

“We live for the applause, applause, applause! We live for the applause, ’plause, ’plause!” Just put Lady Gaga’s song on repeat. I have limited space, but you get my point. This is a catchy phrase that refers to all of us in the entertainment business. What performer doesn’t want to hear the patter of acceptance from a roaring audience?

But I believe that the talented artist, the hardworking craftsman, lives and breathes to perform for much more than the applause. We perform sometimes to empty rooms with the reverence of Carnegie Hall. We sing for the souls who can’t speak for themselves.

We dance for those who move off beat. We bring laughter to empty walls. We don’t just hunger for the applause; we know that our passion is connected to the life of another … the audience. Unfortunately with quick-win TV talent shows and auto-tune, the applause seems to be the only goal. But what seems so isn’t the reality for all of us.

Yes, we live in Las Vegas, Sin City. But Las Vegas also is a city with souls who thirst to be connected to the music. I know personally from my experience working in various shows like “Menopause the Musical,” Tropicana Lounge, “Midnight Skye” at Planet Hollywood, 1923 Bourbon & Burlesque and several others that the connection doesn’t stop at the applause.

The audience wants to touch you, talk to you and thank you personally. They want you to know that “you gave me my Mojo back.” “I am a cancer survivor … I want you to have my healing bracelet.” “My husband is dying of cancer and should be in the room sleeping, but he wants to hear ‘Play That Funky Music.’ ”

“I lost two sons to gun violence. Please sing ‘Purple Rain.’ ” “My wife died, and I just want to dance … and hold someone.” “You inspire me.” “I want your confidence.” “Here is a tip for you: You are touching souls. I’m an escort, but I want you to know that you are touching souls. Keep doing what you do.” “I just lost my mother on Mother’s Day. Can you sing ‘At Last’?”

These are all real conversations shared after the applause. The applause and standing ovations are awesome and wonderful moments, but it is the memories we give to our audiences that linger for a lifetime.

If your only motivation to perform is the applause, then I would argue that you are in the wrong profession. Many times, we will lay our heart and soul on the stage, and the crickets are the only critics. There are other times you might forget a lyric, sing a bad note or miss a dance step, and you still get high praise. It’s fickle, and so is the applause.

To my entertainment family: If no one claps, if no one yells, if no one shows up, you continue to live. Live, honey, live! Perform with passion, perform with purpose, and perform for the people.

Check out our other guest column today from “Cake Boss” star chef Buddy Valastro, and get ready to meet burlesque beauty Melody Sweets and her high-flying “Absinthe” co-stars on Tuesday.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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