How to Rock a Live Performance

Photo by Avi Loud

Photo by Avi Loud

I see you. You've been busy putting in work in the studio. Hours and hours spent crafting beats, writing lyrics, recording vocals, bringing in guest collaborators, and mixing your songs to perfection. You've got a bunch of followers on SoundCloud and you're feeling pretty good about your Instagram. And to top it off, you just got booked for a performance and it's only one month away.

This is the moment that matters most. The "in real life" moment. All of the work you've been doing in the studio and on social media has brought you to this point - getting on stage and making a connection with an audience of people, many of whom you've never met before. And it can be nerve-wracking to think about what you're going to do when you're up there, in the bright lights for all to see.

Are my songs all memorized? Will I be able to hear myself and sing in pitch? Will the audience even care about what I'm singing about? Will they like me?

Last weekend I played a show down in Portland and I overheard a conversation between my drummer and keyboard player before the show about how you should always remember that an audience you're meeting for the first time is just waiting to love you. But it's all about how you transmit energy to them. If you go on stage and succumb to the awkward and nervous feels, chances are the audience will feel that energy. So what do you do?

There is so much involved with putting on a great live performance. Make sure you practice, practice, practice. You should have your entire set memorized from beginning to end. If you're performing with a band make sure you are tight and know every cue. Spend some time thinking about (and even scripting) what you're going to say to the audience between songs. Does your set list take the audience on a ride through different feelings, emotions, energy dynamics, etc? Have you thought about what you're going to wear on stage? More than anything, are you ready to get on the stage in front of a bunch of people and just be YOU? Because that is really the most important thing - people come to a show to be inspired, and you are the one they want inspiration from. Just as the music you write is an extension of you - your expression - your audience wants nothing more than the real you to captivate them, and that is when they fall in love with you.

I found a few great blogs with more detailed tips for rocking a live performance. Check them out!

Mind, Body, and Soul, The Guardian

Top 10 Tips For a Better Live Performance, Making Music

What to do when the song is over, DiscMakers