Being a songwriter is oftentimes a somewhat lonesome venture….As songwriters we like to hide in our bedroom / garage / basement / beach hut / closet (or whereever you like to hang out) and keep to ourselves. That´s a great way to listen to our inner voices and stories, which are crucial in the songwriting process.
However, once the songs are written (and maybe even recorded), there also comes the time to share them with the world!
Just how would your songs feel, if nobody listened to them? Songs are social beings! They love to go out and connect with folks!;)
If you are just starting out as a performer or are generally shy or uncomfortable in front of an audience, here are some ideas for how to actually enjoy being in the limelight!
In order to relax and have fun, you first wanna be in control of stage fright.
Stage fright is very common among performers and perfectly normal. It is actually a great boost! Here´s a great trick I learned about just recently. Apparently anxiety and excitement not only both contain an x, but they also come with smilar sensations within our bodies. If you decide to tell yourself (aloud) that you are excited to go on stage (versus feeling scared to go on stage), you may actually feel a shift of energy in your body…something that doesn´t make you less fidgety, but makes you more “hungry” and ready to go up on stage and kill it!!!
Another crucial element of feeling confident on stage, is wearing something that makes you feel good and attractive! If you like your look, you automatically act with more confidence! And that´s what we want! Fun fact sidetone: A lot of musicians like to wear black, so people don´t focus too much on the outfits, but rather listen to the actual music!
To help you feel relaxed, I also recommend preparing as much as you can beforehand.
- Practising your instruments and vocals (of course), so you feel secure and good to go!
- Practise your performance in front of a mirror or record yourself on video for a bit, to see if you have any annoying gestures or tendencies to always keep your eyes closed etc.If that´s your style- fine! I always suggest balancing such habits out a bit though! So, make sure to be aware of anything that might stand out and then decide whether you want to change that habit!
- Reserve time for a proper soundcheck. The soundcheck will help you find out how loud to sing, whether you can hear yourself well, and how the venue sounds like. This is a great way to calm your nerves and get you into the mood as well!
If you need more tricks to overcome stage fright, make sure to check out this post as well.
Connect with the audience!
Aside from being terrified to actually go up on stage, you may also feel a little uneasy about keeping people entertained! But don´t worry- there´s many roads that lead to Rome!
First find out what kind of artist you are…are you a very energetic performer? Well- good for you! You´ll know what to do up there…no need for you to keep reading this…
If you are more introverted though, there are various options…I recommend focussing on more intimate settings…e.g. small clubs, instead of big stadium stages; less lights to highlight the entire stage, instead one or 2 spotlights that lit you up ; Smaller sets, instead of 3 hours like Bon Jovi would do;) You get the idea….Just make sure you feel cozy, so the audience feels cozy, too!
Also, to make song transitions more fun, you may want to have some spoken lines at hand, that prepare the audience for the next type of song. This is also a great way to bond with the audience…tell a personal story or some background information on the songs etc.
If all else fails: Move!
You have a stage- so use it! Don´t stay glued to one spot all night long! People will be in different spots and will want to see you…so move around…try getting as close to everyone in the audience as possible…They are your friends!
Last, not least…
Be in the moment!
This is your show! Your time to shine! So shine!
Instead of focussing on delivering a perfect performance, try going with the flow! Enjoy your music, remember why you wrote the songs and how you felt at the time! Try to bring that across! Dare to re-live those emotions in front of the audience, instead of mimicking a flawless singer….
Draw them in! Nothing beats authenticity!
Also- think in terms of energy! You are not there to present yourself in the first place, but your songs! Music is energy! Release it!
Are you all good to go now? 😉