The Ultimate Checklist For First-Time Performers (part 2/2)

In part 1, we gave you a chunky headstart as a first-time performer. From accessories that can be a threat to your safety and freedom of movement on stage, to live gear you may not be familiar with, make sure you familiarize yourself with the first article before proceeding to today’s piece. Continuing in the same vein of practicality and combining branding, marketing, and talent, part 2 will deliver on our promise of offering you the most comprehensive checklist there is for your live shows. Prepare hard, perform harder!

10. Live Gear

You must test the gear you will use during the show in advance. Some microphones have a larger range of capturing the incoming voice and others – very short tolerated distances between the input and the device itself. Also, truly professional events and gigs will hook an earpiece and a pocket receiver onto your clothes. If you’ve never had to deal with these things, you will feel quite the anxiety not knowing how to use them to your advantage. Don’t forget or be ashamed to tell the event organizers and sound engineers that you’ve never used a professional live mic before. These pros so often forget what it’s like being a rookie in the business that they think everybody under the sun knows how to operate a Sennheiser e965. It is your responsibility to ring the alarm and ask for extra instructions beforehand!

9. Video Recording

What good would all this preparation be if there will be no video proof of your stage excellency as a performer? While it is easy for the artist to take care of the BTS footage, having high-quality footage of the show is quite a task on its own. If you are fortunate enough to be invited to perform at an official festival/ well-known annual event, ensure you communicate to the organizers well in advance your desire to have a copy of your performance after the show. While the organizers may be resistant to your request as they would have full copyright over the footage, if you promise them a high numbers of views and crediting them properly on all of your social media, they should be rather eager to comply. Everyone wants more exposure so make it part of your bargaining chips. In case the gig does not have its own video recording set up in advance, get a friend to shoot your stage number on their phone, preferably with a 3-axis gimbal. Crappy footage is useless.

8. Photo Taking

The same way you direly need the video footage of your performance, you also need still images for a ton of reasons. From social media banners, Instagram carousels, 24 hr stories, TikTok slides, to written media coverage, album covers, and website updates, photos displaying the musician in his/her element are an essential component to an upcoming artist’s online presence and budding brand credibility. So who is going to take photos of you, when, on what device, and what will that person get in exchange? Are you going to hire a professional or are you going to ask a second friend to jump on board in exchange for a show ticket? Seek to be fair to everyone while getting what you need to further your career. Your future self will thunderously thank you.

7. Stage Perimeter

Another reason for performers falling off stage is bad mathing. No, seriously. You need to rehearse on the exact same stage you will perform on AND mentally keep a count of how many steps to the left, to the right, to the center, to the back, to the front are there. When the light shines, the beat drops, the heart pumps, and the adrenaline kicks, YOU WILL FORGET to pay attention to the stage limits unless you make it a point to remember the perimeter of it beforehand. Stage math is crucial if dancers, instruments, and band mates are involved.

6. Safety Concerns

This one is a sad but necessary evil to discuss and confront way ahead of the day of the show. Remember Astroworld? Yeah. Or the Romanian club fire? Another sad yeah. How about the Ariana Grande Manchester bombing? A third regrettable yeah. From badly gone mosh pits, blocked emergency exits, and poor air ventilation, many things can go seriously wrong during a show. While we pray they don’t happen AT ALL, but if they do, at least not during your number, you STILL have the responsibility to ask the organizers for the emergency plan in advance and study it carefully. Also, ask the organizer what is the protocol if you see a person passing out or consuming drugs in the crowd during your number? What if a fight breaks out? Do you stop the music and call security or do you have a specific trigger sign that you must show on stage in order to engage the proper venue help? And what if someone leaves a suspect bag in the middle of the crowd? You carry heavy responsibility on your shoulders as a performer. While you are the center of attention, you are also in one way, or another, the father and mother of all those people watching you. Make their safety a priority well in advance.

5. Performance Order

As a first-timer, most likely you will share the stage with several other musicians. Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out who you’re going after. The times we’ve seen artists get into cat fights before open mics and talent showcases because of unclear order of performances would shock you. Do your best to get your hands on the evening lineup, memorize most of it so that you’re not pushing a big one in the toilet while your name is getting summoned on stage, and try to make conversation with the artists before and after you. You will help everyone ease their minds and attitude when you will have known the lineup by heart.

4. Alloted Time

While most event organizers will be crystal-clear about the time you will have on stage dedicated to your performance alone, we still recommend double and triple-checking days ahead and on the day of the event. Also, have a backup set in case you have to cut out a song or add one. Sometimes another artist doesn’t show up and the venue needs to fill in the time, other times the host told too many jokes and you will have to cut your set shorter. Be mega-ready for both scenarios and prioritize your most impactful songs for the gig!

3. Crowd Interaction

The more you acknowledge the people watching you, the more they will feel compelled to discover you as an artist and person. We are all humans at the end of the day and all have the intrinsic need to feel validated, seen, and appreciated. Shout out the ‘handsome guy with red hair in the third row’ and everyone’s eyes and posture will perk up because they now know you are watching them with the same attention to detail as they’re watching you. You will make your performance a memorable event and people will naturally gravitate toward you and approach you for social media info and selfies.

2. Ending Words

Never leave the stage without something meaninful to conclude your performance. Prepare a curt yet deep thank-you speech beforehand and repeat every gesture and word infliction in the mirror until you have perfected it to a T. Again, don’t rely on making stuff up on stage. Your emotions will override your logic. The only thing you can do is rely on your muscle memory and recreate your mirror speech on stage without thinking about it.

1. Networking

Other than your own interest, live gigs are a spectacular opportunity to discover uniquely talented, like-minded artists like yourself with whom you can create lifetime friendships and mutually supporting connections. Many artists are good people and they know how hard it is when you first start out. They will jump in the comment section before everyone else if they sincerely took a liking to you and your art. Give love to be loved. Show support to be supported. Buy tickets to sell out venues. Give what you want to receive with honest intentions and a pure heart.

Blue Rhymez Entertainment ©2023

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