Perform with Passion - Part Five

May 3, 2016



As with all good things, my PWP sessions must come to an end.  Sad, I know, but before I go, I want to touch upon a few things.


1.  Don't forget your talent.

You are here to perform yes, but whether your talent is singing, dancing, or an instrument, do not sacrifice that in exchange for a good performance.  Always present your craft first.


2.  Always know who you are.

I know that I said to create a character for your performances.  However, I also said to create a character that is close to your personality.  Do not try to be Beyonce.  Be a version of you.  


3.  Play to your strengths.

If a performer can do backflips and splits, but all you can do is groove and two-step, then stick to your guns and two-step for your life!  It will and can read as desperation if you try to do something that is not your thing.  DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND ME; I am not saying "don't try new things."  I am saying know what you do, do it well, and be the only person that can do it like you.


4.  Don't be afraid to be vulnerable.

Baring your soul and emotions onstage can yield GREAT results for you and the audience.  The best performances are those where the performers are deeply invested.  It reads well onstage and changes the intensity.


5.  Connect with your audience GENUINELY.

When it comes to big arenas, you may need to look above people or at the EXIT sign to make everyone feel as if you are looking at them.  I use this tactic often.  HOWEVER, you need to make moments.  Break your gaze away from inanimate objects, and lock eyes with someone for a verse.  React to them, make them feel as if they are influencing your performance.  Pepper this in sparingly and watch your fans go NUTS.


6.  Never give your entire 100%

This is a controversial one, but hear me out.  If you are performing tons of shows night after night (like a tour) then this rule is law.  You cannot exhaust yourself emotionally, mentally or physically daily and think that you will have something to give on the second leg of your tour.  Nobody wants to hire a singer who loses their voice after two shows, or a dancer who is always sore and tired.  Give 70% and learn the art of intensity.  Also, learn to use those who perform with you.  If you have dancers, singers, or a band, they can carry the energy for you.  The more people onstage, the less energy can be given.  This rule does not apply to competitions (if you wanna win, you gotta give it your all) or musicians unless they are hybrids.


7.  Strive to be an inspiration, not inspired.

"I'm the next Usher.  I'm a younger Jay Z."  I have heard all performers make statements like this, no matter what their profession.  While you think this may be doing you favors, it is not.  People will expect the person you named when you perform.  Instead, be yourself.  If there are aspects of Usher or Jay Z that you wish to use, use them!  However, be mindful not to BECOME them.  If a performer has done something that you want to use, instead of copying them, think "how can I make this my own?"  


8.  Have a team of power players behind you.

As mentioned above, having people support you onstage can be all the difference between a charged performance and a sleeper.  Don't be afraid to have people on stage who can technically have their own stand-alone act and do better than you.  As a matter of fact, I always have performers onstage that can out-sing, out-dance, and out-play me.  It only helps to make me look good!


9.  Stay in control

A really charged performance has one major side-effect: you can lose control.  If you are giving all you got because you are swept up in the music, you can become sloppy.  I am constantly guilty of this.  The trick is to let go, but not so much that you don't care how you look on-stage.  This is still a show, so reel it in!


10.  Enjoy yourself.

As you think of the MILLION do's and don'ts of performance, it is very common to feel as if a show has lost all life, excitement, and power.  I saved this one for last because EVERY performer, noob or vet, makes this mistake.  You can get so caught up in the "rules" that your performance begins to lose the very thing it relies upon: life.  Therefore, my parting words are; HAVE FUN!  Laugh, smile, let a tear roll down your face, get swept up in the moment, enjoy it.  We perform because for a moment in time, we are stars.  Don't let technique get in the way of a great experience.


I hope you all enjoyed my Perform with Passion Series!  Normally when people ask what I do or what I am, I say Singer/Songwriter/Producer/Pianist/Performer/Editor.  When I do, people ask, "Isn't performing the same as singing?"  Little do they know that being a performer is its own skill.  Moving forward, if anyone makes that statement, I'm gonna have to point them in this direction!  Take care friends, and see you next time!



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