Stage Performance, Do You Have It?


I have had the honor of seeing a lot of new indie artists perform in these past couple of months. Various shows from coffee houses, to clubs, to lounges, to parks, to festivals, you name it. One thing I can tell you is what I noticed about some of the performers. They have a lot of great music that can easily be gravitated to, but their stage performance is a bit lacking.

If you have ever gone to a concert for Bruno Mars, Usher, Brittney Spears, RihannaRUN DMC, Kendrick Lamar, or Michael Jackson, just to name a few, you will notice that it’s not just the music that grabs people’s attention. It’s their stage performance, it’s how they interact with the audience. People want to be entertained, this is why they bought tickets to see you, or paid the entry fee to come in to see you. So, give them a show that they will be talking about for years to come.

When you perform or rehearse, don’t be afraid to take pointers from people who are in your camp. The stage is your platform, so utilize every inch. Don’t just stay in one spot, unless of course there are extenuating circumstances, or sitting/standing in one spot is part of your act. Work the stage. Ladies, if you have heels, make sure they are comfortable enough for you to walk across and dance in. Gents, make sure your pants are in a position not to fall to the ground because you gyrated just a bit too much!

Ask for feedback. Hold a private concert or showing for your closest family and friends and people in your industry. Provide survey cards based on a scale of 1-10 with various questions pertaining to your act. Some things you can ask are:

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best, please rate the following about this artist:

  • Stage Presence 1-10 _
  • Vocal Quality 1-10 _
  • Overall performance 1-10 _
  • Audience Interaction 1-10 _
  • Artist Brand and Marketability 1-10 _
  • Favorite Song from the set _________________

These can be done anonymously and it will allow for people to give real feedback instead of just saying, “Oh you were so good”. Yes, all artists want to be told that, but, you’re missing out on some useful information that can help to take you to that next level.

Always remember that not everyone will like your music, that’s because we all have different tastes. Not everyone will like the song that is your personal favorite, and that’s because it means something to you, not to them. Just remember that these people came to see something, and that they want to be engaged by your performance, by your entire artistry. This is your job as part of your brand to deliver what you say you will: quality music by a quality musician/band with great after effects (like purchasing your music, merchandise, becoming a real fan, etc).

On another note, I happened to see on video some performances this weekend on my timeline. It makes me quite happy to see artists doing what they love on stage. So artists, I have a small token of advice for you. No matter the size of the audience, always give it your best as if it was a packed, sold out concert at Madison Square Garden. Let your music shine through you and let you shine through your music. – Jilli