You could have all the talent in the world, but without stage presence, it’ll be hard to make the name you want for yourself in the music industry.
Ledgernote gives a great definition of stage presence, stating that it’s “the ability of a performer to capture and command the attention of an audience, directing and controlling that attention by being impressive in one’s visual appearance, body language, charismatic speech, and general mannerisms.”
Your stage presence is what sets you apart from other musicians. It’s what leaves a lasting impression on your audience. It’s what hooks them into your performance. It’s essentially what makes you, you, as a performer.
All in all, you must continuously build your stage presence to thrive in live music. The following tips will help you do just that.
1. Understand Who’s in the Audience
Of course, your fans will flood the stands for your performance. But what part of your fanbase will be at the show? Understanding who will be in the audience is integral to rocking each show.
Note what city the show is in and what venue you’re playing at. What kind of people usually attend shows in your genre of music at this particular venue? More importantly, who in your fanbase will attend?
For example, will this show be full of your rowdy, younger fans, or will attract those who are a bit older and more mellow? Knowing who will be in the audience makes it easier to put together a performance tailored to them.
2. Work on Your Stage Persona
Beyonce has Sasha Fierce. Bowie had Ziggy Stardust. Who do you have? Your stage presence can improve drastically with a defined stage persona.
We aren’t saying you have to go crazy constructing some off-the-wall alter ego to perform well and keep your audience engaged. However, we are saying you should come to life on stage. Visualize the best version of yourself as a musician and figure out a way to let it shine.
For example, if you love how seductive and sultry you are when you sing, wear an outfit that inspires this side to come out. Or, if the best version of you is a rock star, wear and do what gives rise to that rockstar.
It might be a good idea to study your favorite performers and their stage personas to get an idea of how to best let that person loose on stage.
It may not seem like a significant factor in building stage presence, but smiling is a small yet mighty gesture that can hugely impact how you present on stage.
Smiling releases endorphins that help you feel good. Those endorphins can help you relax and improve self-esteem, both of which are necessary for solid stage presence. In addition, smiling puts you in a better mood and is contagious. So, when you smile profusely, your audience will catch the bug too.
Aside from smiling, stay energized the entire time you’re on stage.
4. Stay Energized
Great performances are always those infected with high energy and enthusiasm. The more into your routine you are, the more likely your audience will be.
That said, performing with high energy and enthusiasm all the time can take a lot out of you. So, you must take care of yourself and adopt healthy ways to stay energized. By doing so, you’ll avoid burning out during your performances and will be able to give everything you’ve got every time.
Start with eating nutritious food and exercising regularly. Drink water more than you do alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Commit to a healthy sleep schedule. And be sure you have suitable coping mechanisms for stress so that life doesn’t suck the energy out of you.
5. Own the Entire Room
Even if you’re standing still under a single spotlight to sing a romantic ballad, you need to work the entire room. The last thing you want to do is make any part of your audience feel ignored.
Instead, you want to connect with as many people in the room as possible. Even if thousands of people are there, you want each one to feel like your performance is just for them.
Use the whole stage to interact with your audience. Make eye contact with people. Smile at them and acknowledge their cheers. Allow diehard fans to sing in the mic. Better yet, let the entire room perform parts of your songs. Make a conscious effort to engage with the middle, sides, balconies, and anywhere in between.
6. Make the Worst Moments Your Best Moments
As amazing as it would be to have a perfect performance every time, this isn’t reality. There will be missteps, miscommunications, slips, trips, falls, forgotten lyrics, and so forth during many performances.
Rather than let it rattle you, make these “worst” moments your most memorable. For example, if your microphone goes out, flex your voice by singing without it and get the crowd going that way. Or if you slip and fall, turn it into a dance move or make it seem like it’s part of your routine.
As the best performers say, “the show must go on”.
It’s a blessing to be able to perform. But your fans want and deserve to see the best of you on stage.
The tips above will help you build a better stage presence and give attendees the show of a lifetime every time.
Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.
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