If you’re going to stand a chance at all you must prepare. Far too often I see performances, where the acts are forgetting the words to their own songs or the entire stage presence is completely disorganized and haphazard. It makes for a horrible fan/listener experience.
Watch the really good performers and what you come to realize is two very important things. First, they stay within their abilities. Meaning, they are not trying to dance too much if they are not a dancer or they don’t act hard if it does not fit their brand identity. Second, and probably more important, they rehearse. This shows in the overall stage show but on a smaller level, you can see it in the movement throughout each song.
When you stand still on the stage we the listener have no activity to join. If you want us to be moved by your music shouldn’t it inspire you to move? This is where rehearsal will pay dividends. Your movements are never exactly the same but what you are really going for is a balance between action, energy, and emotion. This is what drives fans.
You can’t simply mimic the majors. Each act has their individual stage show. Each act is or should be, as unique in a performance as they are on a song or album. You have to develop your stage show with your fans and your songs. Just like a professional athlete, you should study the past, understand the present, and keep an eye towards the future.
Don’t take on more than you need to. Fans want to be a part of the journey. They want to see you making progress. To that end, they become your partner in developing your stage show. Whenever possible record your shows from the back of the room. You don’t need to see you as much as you need to see what’s happening with the fans.
Respond to what your fans react to. All too often I see rappers trying to make the crowd jump during one song but when the crowd starts jumping during another song they stick to their rehearsed movements. If the crowd starts bouncing ride the wave. Bounce with them. This cuts both ways if you watch the video back and you see that you are doing something that loses the crowd you must remember to stop doing that. If you want to give yourself a chance at all you must pay attention to detail and preparation.
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