Forget social media marketing, gig and representation submission, interviews, recording sessions, listening back to your voice, and seeing someone you think is more talented. The most nerve-racking part of being a vocalist? Performing live in front of a group of people. It’s a thrill, it’s gratifying, it’s what it’s all about. But, yeah, it’s pretty terrifying.
Now that your heart is pumping a little bit, start rubbing your hands together with excitement. While having good stage presence can be said to come innately, there are more than a few ways to improve it by keeping certain things in mind, practicing them so that they’re nearly second nature when you’re on stage, and are so easy to naturally implement, no one in the audience will even know you’re doing it. What they’ll see instead: someone who knows what they’re doing.
1) Eye Am More Inviting
The simple effort of raising your eyebrows gives a more inviting brightness to your facial expressions. Sure, smiling creepily while doing it has the opposite effect, but smiling pleasantly while raising your eyebrows is your golden ticket. On that note, smile as much as possible. Unless you’re singing a mournful melody, let’s see those teeth!
2) Hand-Voice Coordination
Practice hand expressions as you’re practicing the piece. Your stage presence, as a whole, is part of the song itself. What would “The Hills are Alive” be without Julie Andrews sweeping her hands across the Austrian meadow? Even if they’re just folded neatly at your waist or holding the microphone, it’s not something you want to figure out as the intro melody begins.
3) Microphone Zone
The microphone sweet spot seems to be two to five inches from your mouth, which gives you a good amount of wiggle room…unless you’re beat boxing. If possible, play around with the microphone you’ll be performing with, as it can garner some neat effects when you’re on stage. When you’re about to bellow, pulling it away and back towards your voice can have a neat trombone effect, just as one example.
4) Keep Water Nearby
CLYOR products are great for an upcoming gig, but they’re not exactly ideal mid-performance. Have a bottle or glass of water nearby that you can grab, sip from, and get back to during breaks. (And if you’re a circus performer/ventriloquist who can sing while drinking water, please send us a video.)
5) Look at the Back
Looking directly at each audience member, or a section at a time, can be a great method for making a connection. With that being said, it can be a bit anxiety inducing. If that’s the case, look just over everyone’s heads toward the back. Everyone will think you’re looking at someone, but they’re fools! Fools, I say!
6) Memorize. The. Lyrics.
Seems incredibly intuitive, but even still, it’s worth mention. Knowing the lyrics like the back of your eyelid will take the pressure off and nearly guarantee you won’t forget a line or two. I can’t think of something that comes off more amateurish. However, if you do forget a line, make something up and move on like it didn’t happen. Maybe even have some filler lines ready to go. Humming it ain’t foolin’ anyone.
7) Open Your Body
Much like brightening your face, you can brighten up your body too by keeping your shoulders broadened, your arms open, and your back straight like you’re going in for a hug. Then, hug the audience with your voice. Hug them and make them feel like you’ll never let go. And give them a little kiss on the forehead when you do let go.
8) Record, Play It Back, Record Again
And then play it back, and record again, and play it back, and fix what you want fixed, and then record it, and see if it sounds better, and listen to yourself sing, and then play it back again a couple more times, then improve. It’s 2017! Why not take advantage of the technology that’s in our pockets?
9) Your Stage Presence Begins Immediately
Going to a performance is an experience, which means that it begins the moment attendees arrive. If you see them off stage, if you’re moving equipment around, do so casually, happily, excitedly. You don’t want them thinking there’s even a possibility of a façade once you’re performing, which makes keeping that impression going from beginning to end crucial.
You’ll do great! We promise.