Welcome to part four of my Perform with Passion series! Today I will be hitting the most able, but often flawed performers: singers. While many may think that this group has it the easiest, they have the most responsibility when it comes to performance.
When I ask other singers what performance means to them, they usually mention a lot of movement, crowd interaction and other very over-the-top methods. While I am not against working up a good sweat, every performance should not be an aerobic workout.
The band starts playing a hype song? Instead of jumping around, losing your breath (and eventually disabling your vocal ability) stand perfectly still, plant yourself, and give an intense glare to the crowd for the first few 8 counts. Then you can be the ball of energy you want to be.
Let's talk about hybrids for a moment. Singer-Dancers are very common, but very few can actually do both. What normally happens is the singer sings a few bars, then dances a choreographed routine. This would be the smartest way to handle dancing and singing live. Many people have not mastered the art of breathing properly and cannot do both simultaneously. If you can do it, then go for it. If not, use the method earlier described.
The next hybrid is the Singer-Instrumentalist. Again, this is a common group, more so than the previous set. For this group, stationary performance is the key. Mastering intense glares, "vibing" to a song, interaction with band members, and drawing the audience in, is vital. If you fit this group, make sure there is a moment in your show when you step away from your instrument and just sing.
Now that we have a few general rules, here are some tips to being a great vocal performer.
1. Never forget your craft
While it can be easy to get caught up in other aspects of performing like lights, the band, etc, never forget that you are a SINGER. Make your vocal ability and talent the frontman. People are coming to watch you perform, yes, but they will not forget if you sounded like crap. Don't sound like crap.
2. Less is more
Learning to sell a song without movement is a great tool in any singer's arsenal. By standing still and selling a song, you are able to catch your breath while still providing intensity and energy. If you want to switch it up, dance for a bit, go out into the audience, interact with your band, but never reach your 100% by the middle of song. If you have reached the top, how can you go higher?
3. Know your body language
If you must, practice your ENTIRE set in front of your mirror at home. Look at the angles you hit. How does your body look when you sing ballads? Is your stage glare more sexual-predatorial than intense? FIX IT! Even more so than the crowd, a band will take cues from you. If your body is tense, the band will play with suspense which when released, will pour out a large amount of energy that the audience will LOVE.
No matter the level of skill, every performer needs to learn one major skill; that is connecting with an audience. Tune in for part five, where I will be wrapping up this series!