Willie Nelson Recalls His First Performance As a Five-Year-Old Kid

What a poem!

When we think of country music great Willie Nelson on stage we think of him as completely in his element. It's hard to imagine the Red Headed Stranger as anything but calm and collected. But little did we know, that wasn't always the case for the famous musician.

On an episode of NBC's Sunday Sitdown with Willie Geist, the television host sat down with the music icon for a candid conversation. In the interview, the two Willies talked about life amid the coronavirus pandemic, his musical career, and his Frank Sinatra cover album, That's Life, in honor of his legendary friend.

Willie Nelson Texas Tribune Festival 2019
Sergio Flores/Getty Images

One segment of their conversation particularly stood out to us: When Geist inquired if the singer remembered the first song he wrote as a kid or the first time he performed in front of a group of people.

"I remember the first poem... I was about five-years old, six-years old, and they introduced me to do something and my poem was, 'What are you lookin' at me for? / I ain't got nothin' to say / If you don't like the looks of me / Just look the other way,'" Nelson recited. "I had on a little white sailor suit with red trim and I got nervous doing my poem, I start pickin' my nose, my nose started bleeding all over my little sailor suit. And, 'What are you lookin' at me for?'" Listen to the full interview on Spotify below. (Fast forward to 12:06 mark for this section of the interview.)

What we would have given to have been a fly on the wall at a young Willie Nelson's poem recital. Even without a guitar in hand, we're sure it was pretty magical.

During these difficult times, we'll also choose to channel the advice Nelson shared on staying positive in an interview for our podcast Biscuits & Jam:

"[There's] nothing I can do about yesterday, there ain't nothing I can do about tomorrow. But right now I'm pretty much in control. So this is the day that I'm living. And it's the only one that really matters right now." To that — if someone tries to rain on our parade — we'll add our new favorite signature Willie line: "What are you lookin' at me for?"

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