FIVE PRO TIPS
Now, I'm not claiming to know it all... but I have been touring full-time as a singer with my band for seven years, so I'm confident in saying that I am no longer "green" in this game. I've learned the in's & outs and the do's and don'ts when it comes to taking care of my voice, establishing my brand and sound, and earning respect in this business - so, I'm sharing FIVE tips for being a successful musician.
5 NO-FAIL TIPS FOR BEING A SUCCESSFUL MUSICIAN
1. PRACTICE/WARM UP: Being a singer or musician is a learned skill. I believe, everyone can sing. Some just better (ok, a lot better) than others. When I say that, I mean that everyone can open their mouth and physically force out some kind of sound... whether or not it's in key or sounds pretty, that's another thing. But, taking lessons or working with a coach strengthens that skill and over time puts you above the rest. Singing or playing an instrument is just like working out at the gym. If you do it consistently, those muscles and skills grow and stay strong. If you slack off or it's been a while since you've performed, you've GOT to warm up and practice. Singing requires your entire body. So, warming up is like reminding and preparing your body for what's about to happen. You're alerting your diaphragm that it's time to go into over drive with breath support. You're loosening up your body and telling it be ready to move. I recommend warming up (yes, even if you're sick or vocally exhausted) before every performance. If you know you've got a performance coming up, warm up and practice a little each day before you take the stage.
2. DRINK WATER & SLEEP: We all wanna be rockstars on the road but the truth is, if you're staying up late and drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR VOICE. You won't be able to sing like you want to effortlessly because you are wreaking havoc on your vocal chords and your body is craving rest. I can't tell you how many people have said to me, "You're voice is so strong. How do you keep it going? When I sing all night, I can't make it through a whole show." I usually ask them what they're doing to warm up and what are they drinking the day of/during the show. The answer is always the same: coffee, sodas, or alcohol. On the day of a show, I have my morning cup of coffee. I always drink just one cup of coffee every day. Throughout the course of the day and during the show, I consume about a 100oz of water. I strive to drink 70oz of water every day but on the road, I really amp it up. So, eat right. Get a good night's sleep. DRINK WATER. If you want to have a drink (or two) after the show, go for it. Just drink in moderation and get in bed by midnight.
3. SOUNDCHECK. Don't be afraid to ask for what you need in your monitor or in-ear mix. Take the time to get it right but, don't take too long if you're sharing the stage with other bands that day. Here's the thing - soundcheck is SO important. Not just for you and the band, but for the production team as well. It's also important to get your mix right because it prevents you from over singing if you can't hear yourself. There is A LOT that goes in to making a show sound & look good. But you've got to be realistic. On a day such as a festival, when 5 bands are sharing the same stage, you are NOT going to get as much time as you need to soundcheck. And you shouldn't take too much time either. You've got to be respectful of the production team's time and the other band's soundcheck time. Also, arrive on time. Don't be late. It throws the entire schedule off and that's just rude. IF you're going to be late, notify someone on the production team.
4. DON'T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY. But, know and understand your worth. If you're reading this and you're a singer/musician, let me break it to you... you are NOT the best at what you do. There will always be someone who can sing or play better than you. It's important to know and understand what your strengths are and to feel confident about what you're good at while staying humble. No one likes a big shot. Your talent/band/artistry is a brand. It's a business. Treat it that way but lighten up too and be honest with yourself and your fans. Have fun 'cause if it ain't fun, it ain't worth it!
5. DEFINE YOUR SOUND AND WHO YOU ARE. What sets you apart from the rest? What do you really want to say or put out there in the universe through your music? It's important to know the answers to these questions and to be confident in what you're doing. Don't chase what's popular or whatever seems to be working for someone else. Don't strive to the "next Miranda Lambert". The world already has a Miranda Lambert. What it needs is someone like you. Sometimes the music business can seem like a high school cafeteria and some people get to sit at the "cool kids" lunch table. You might find yourself asking, "Why don't I have a seat at that table?" or "What do I need to do to sit at that table?" The answer: Start your own "cool kids" table.
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