I want you to watch this video – don’t worry, you only need to watch ANY 30 seconds in the video to get my point.
You’ve seen it before, the faces are different, but you have seen this before. I think all of these people are lovely and talented, I genuinely do. SO… are you going to follow any of these musicians careers? I believe the talent is there, so why do we not really care – or if you’re squeamish and feel like a nice person – why do you not care enough to do anything about it?
I’m not trying to be rude! I can/should/do ask the same question for myself. What separates me from the – I don’t even feel the word oversaturated rightly conveys how many people think they should be “making it.”
Is it my winning smile? My witty lyrics? The few things I say over the overblown microphone between songs? Well, I have a snaggle tooth smile, these people write just as well (If not better) lyrics than I do, and any room I walk into I say at least 45 dumb things. No, I think it’s because it’s harder to have an experience if it seems commonplace.
You may have had a moment with one of those from the video. Perfect! They got through to you! The chances are so many of your performances will fly by everyone because of the way you present it to them. Don’t get me wrong; this is a streaming generation; people are going to consume through youtube, Spotify, Instagram, Apple, Amazon, Vimeo; this should not scare you! It merely means your stage just got picked up and moved into almost every house in the world.
Today, I want you to change the way you think about a stage, from now on, it is YOUR stage.
Now, it wasn’t fair for me to pick on an open mic night, there isn’t much they could do about the way the stage was presented. But they can do something to make the performance memorable, something that will connect with their audience. I want to emphasize those last two words in that sentence. “their audience,” Not everyone is going to love their stuff, they shouldn’t try to get everyone to enjoy their stuff. It’s a futile expenditure of their finite energy – this subject is another blog post.
You’ve written a great song. You are an artist. Expand that art past the notes you’re playing, immerse them in your artwork. Don’t blame the internet, if anything it’s given them a plethora of ways to see you! You can make a creative video, and you can make sure the audio quality is better than listenable. Close your eyes – now open them so you can read this. What do you picture when you see yourself performing in your mind? Don’t imagine a number in the crowd. Keep it on you and your stage. What do you see?
- How are you dressed?
- Are there lights on your stage?
- Do you have a backdrop?
- Maybe a projector in the background?
- Do you have sections that highlight a crafted moment for you?
- Maybe a fog machine (haha)
Okay, I’m not trying to plant things in your mind, I’m merely saying this hard truth.
You’re boring to watch.
Are you talented? Yes. Are you beautiful? Yes. Should people listen to you? Yes, of course! You rock! You need to spice up that stage, baby! Don’t be embarrassed. It’s okay, take this advice and run with it! You weren’t bad before, just – forgettable, which is only bad if you don’t fix it!
You are not using everything at your disposal to make it something to move your audience. Don’t give me the excuse that Jimmi Hendrix didn’t have to make up a stage.
1. He’s Jimmi Hendrix
2. He burned a ****ing guitar on stage.
Bob Dylan lives by his own rules, and those rules do NOT apply to you. That’s okay! Think of the best concert you’ve paid to see? They put time into the aesthetic!
So you’re obviously not going to be able to do EVERYTHING that you can dream up. That’s okay; follow this simple rule. Simplify, and do what you can with what you’ve got.
Do the best you can with what you have and your art will take shape! Making mistakes or missteps is categorically essential to your act!
If you want to break through, you have to rethink your stage. Don’t just plug in and play and expect everyone to love it. Sometimes that’s all you need, but most of the time, it’s just kind of boring. Before your next perfomace, ask yourself this question, “What can you realisically do to spice up your show?”