If you gig a lot or even if you don’t, there are things that are important to consider before, during and after you walk onstage. I was at a club recently and saw two singers in a band reading (yes, reading!) lyrics off an iPad while they were performing. What?! Their bassist texted on his phone between songs. Yikes! As a performer, you never know who could be in the audience. That one person is how people get discovered. And that night, Lance Bass (‘NSync) was at the bar (no joke) … think he was impressed?
As a singer, you owe it to your audience to give it a 100%. Always, dive bar or no. In the 80’s, The Police played dive clubs all over the country (I saw them in Arizona). They prided themselves on blowing everyone away, night after night, and they did! I’ve played clubs where it’s you and the bar staff, or everyone leaves after the act before you, etc. It doesn’t matter. You are the same artist, the same singer, every time someone sees you. Period. some tips to help you
- Be professional – Professional in attitude and in action. A pro would be in the club early to make sure everything is good to go. Pros do their homework, bring everything they need, mics, cables, water, equipment… even a sound person if it’s a showcase kind of gig.
- Respect your audience – For example, thank them for coming out to listen. Honor them by having your act together and sharing your point of view. People pay for passion and conviction. If you don’t want to do the work, then please play at home, for your family or friends, not in public.
- Get a contract- If the club doesn’t offer you one, ask! It protects you and your musicians. You want to negotiate pay, drinks for the band, etc. upfront. Then, bring it with you to the gig. The club may want to “change” things that night, but stick to the contract.
- Don’t be afraid of your audience – The audience is not a “thing” that places judgment, and they do not owe you their attention. Most audiences want to like singers and musicians (drunk and rowdy patrons aside). Give them the opportunity. If you view your audience as guests at your party, you will have a welcoming attitude.
- Never, ever criticize your audience. It will not go well. We did an acoustic gig where the guy playing after us crossed this line. Almost finished with the set, he told a woman not to leave (she wanted a “smoke”), and that smoking is not good for her. Really?!! Her family in the back of the club started yelling at him. Not good and not necessary! For unruly or inconsiderate audience members, designate someone beforehand (not you or the band) to be in the audience to handle it. Remember the performer is the good guy!!
*Reprinted with permission from The Singer’s Newsletter, Issue #177 © 2017 All rights reserved.