When I was with my first band touring around the country, I often told my bandmates that our fans should love us for our music and not for our personalities. Yet, fans are humans, and they cannot seem to compartmentalize between your being a person and an artist. Moreover, I was ill-advised then, and what I told my bandmates was terrible advice.
Of course, your fans will love your music if you create great music. Yet, they will also hate your band if your personalities are not endearing to them. It will be useful to remember that what you do on stage and what the fans perceive about you will determine whether your fans will stick to adoring you or look for other artists to love.
Endearing Things You Can Do on Stage
The cool things that you do onstage will either endear you to your audience or make them abhor you. So, if you are an aspiring singer or band, it will help to know the following cool things you can do on stage that could further endear you to your audience and adoring fans:
Communicate and Psyche Up Your Audience!
You will often hear from the experts that you should not forget to communicate with your listeners or audience. There is so much truth about it, for as an entertainer, you need to create rapport with your audience. Thus, before you perform, it will be great to introduce yourselves.
Engage the crowd and communicate with them during your set. When you transition to the next song, it will help if you do not proceed directly to singing your next piece. Converse with them as if you are conversing with your friends. Utilize those short breaks to create rapport with your audience.
You can also be creative on stage by asking your audience to sing along or perform with you. You may also ask your listeners to clap along with your song’s beat to make them feel part of your performance. Then, you can thank them for keeping up with you at the end of your performance.
Of course, the abovementioned tips were a far cry from my youthful convictions when I was touring with my young bandmates. At that time, we simply did not care about the reactions of the audience. We only wanted to play onstage. In hindsight, I think we were ill-advised during those times.
Maintain Eye Contact with Your Audience
Your eyes speak more of yourself than your mouth. So, make sure that you maintain eye contact with your audience when possible. Of course, you may react to this idea if you are a band member, used to perform wearing your shades. Yet, it helps maintain eye contact when conversing with your audience or when you want to convey the lyrics of your songs to your audience.
Of course, you can never make eye contact with each listener out there, for it is impossible. Yet, you can gaze at them, and for them, it is enough if you can drop a glance at them. Remember that there is so much power in a gaze.
Like in a conversation with another person, your listeners will feel important if you maintain eye contact with them. If you can create the illusion that you are singing for every individual in the audience when you sing, that would be good.
Dance If You Can
Not all singers are endowed with the agility for dancing, and if you have a stiff body that could not undulate rhythmically, you should simply sway your body like Axl Rose, or the Monkeys’ main vocalist. Dancing while singing, of course, requires practice. It requires practicing each skill individually, then fusing them.
Some solo performers, however, hire backup dancers to enliven their performances. They also make sure that they join in the dancing of their backup dancers on some parts of their performance.
However, hiring backup dancers will pad your expenses, for you need to pay those backup dancers too from the talent fee you will receive. Thus, it is better not to hire backup dancers at all if you are short of budget. Moreover, if you can learn how to dance well, you should try to learn.
Show Your Emotions in Your Moves
Your audience attends your performance because they want to hear you sing and hear your voice. Yet, do not forget your body language, for your body language speaks more than what you say on stage. Thus, you should internalize what you sing to express its message in your body language.
If you are singing a sad song, you can’t be smiling throughout your piece. Instead, it will help to express the grief that comes with the lyrics of the song. If you are singing the song High Energy, by Evelyn Thomas, for example, you can’t be singing as if you are enervated.
To enthuse your audience, you need to let your emotion come out of your face. Make your facial expression match your feelings. If your facial expressions match your feelings, then your audience can empathize with your performance.
Engage in Good Stage Banter
You can utilize the time before performing your first song to banter with your audience or with your bandmates. You can also banter with your audience in-between songs and during transitions. You can also engage in banter with your audience during the closing of your performance.
Engaging in good stage banter can set your performance’s mood. You may also endear your listeners to your band and make them remain enthused with your performance. It helps establish a good rapport with your listeners and build a certain level of trust. Moreover, you can express your appreciation to your audience during these simple banters.
Utilize Your Hands Well
Once you set your foot and stand alone on the podium to perform, you will sometimes feel at a loss as to where you would position your hands if you are an inexperienced performer. Moreover, if you are self-conscious, you may end up squeezing the mic stands to channel your nervous energy. Your audience, however, will notice your hands as you become listlessly shy on stage.
So, it will be useful to learn how to use your hands effectively. If you are also involved in theatre, you will know that hand gestures say a lot about you. They could even be a dramatic tool and could add value to your performance. Thus, it will help if your hands effectively convey your emotions.
In my case, I do some preparatory practices in front of the mirror to figure out the most effective hand gestures I will make when performing. In this way, I know exactly how a particular hand gesture can effectively convey the song’s message.
Have Fun and Enjoy Your Performance
If you are engaged in a series of gigs in a single day, you will find it challenging to maintain the same energy in every performance. Yet, the show must go on, and if you are enervated and lacking in energy, your audience will readily feel it, and it will affect your audience’s impact.
So, you need to enjoy and have fun during your performance. Ensure that you smile to your audience because a smile is a powerful way of communicating with your audience.
Your audience will smile back to you, especially if they are enjoying your performance. When you smile, likewise, you let your audience know that you are a friendly person. It will help to remember that you are already a public figure when you choose to perform on stage. It will help instill that thought in your mind and think that you came up the stage to entertain.
Wave and Point to Your Audience
The moment you decide to become a singer or a performer, you accept your role as an entertainer. So, you need to ensure that you utilize anything that could enhance your performance. If you have watched live performers before, you will notice that some of them point and wave to their audience.
Well, waving and pointing to the audience once in a while has a powerful effect on your audience. My girlfriend comes to mind when this topic of pointing to the audience is discussed for one time, the band vocalist of a popular band pointed at her. She could not forget about it.
Thus, it is good to point to your audience. It lets your audience realize that you are friends with them or that you have friends in your audience. Moreover, waving at your audience conveys a message that you are approachable. It will help to remember that waving and pointing to your audience is a potent trick that you can utilize in your performance.
Things to Avoid When Performing
If there are some things that you should do when performing, there are also things you should avoid doing while performing. Here are some of these things that you should refrain from doing:
Engage in Too Much Talking than Performing!
Little banter with your audience is a great way to enliven your performance. Yet, talking too much as if you are doing a litany is a “no-no” in a live performance. Talking too much will bore your audience, and you may lose your audience’s attention soon. It is permissible to talk about your gig or promo, but you will only make your audience hate you if you consume too much time talking nonsense.
Do a Mic Test or Shout at the Mic
Amateur singers or inexperienced performers usually do a mic test or shout at the microphone before engaging in their performance. Shouting into the phone is irritating to your audience, unless, of course, you want to get their attention or get them excited. Therefore, be aware of your voice’s volume to ensure that you speak clearly and audibly on the mic without breaking the eardrums of your audience.
Avoid Disparaging Other Artists
It is not proper to call out another band and disparage them during your performance. Your criticism will only revert to you and will show what kind of person you are. Moreover, as a professional artist, you need to act professionally and exude only positive energy. Bashing other bands or artists will do you no good, and it is not fair to gain leverage at the expense of others.
Avoid Tuning Your Guitar on the Stage
When you perform on stage, one of the “no-nos” is tuning your guitar on the stage. My mentor once told me that I should not do that because that is very unprofessional. Moreover, the crowd will not like it, and it conveys to your audience your lack of preparedness for the show.
To avoid such a thing, you can practice tuning your guitar before you even go up the stage. Prepare backstage and make sure that your instrument is properly tuned before you even step on stage.
Experts will advise you that you would need to own the stage when you perform. Owning the stage doesn’t mean that you have to buy the stage. It means having a genuinely overpowering stage presence. As you become an experienced performer, it will become easy for you to own the podium and perform confidently.
Confidence, of course, is necessary to be cool when you do live performance, and you don’t need to be a Freddie Mercury or an Elvis Presley to be relaxed on stage. You only need to gain more confidence through constant practice and learn the abovementioned cool things you should do when performing live.