I get a lot of questions emailed to me from up and coming artist about “how to rock a show” or “how to become a better performer.” Performing is in art, and your ability to perform well depends on how often you practice. Performing is a skill that not everyone can do, and if you are blessed with the skill of rhyming, it would be beneficial to you to know how to rock a crowd.
If you can not perform well no one will want to come to your shows, and if no one wants to come to your shows you can’t make any money performing your music. If that happens you will be taking away a huge chunk of your music income. Some independent/unsigned hip hop artists do well when it comes to selling merchandise, but their bread and butter has always been licensing their music.
Being in the music industry for over 10 years I have seen independent artists with a strong following get paid any where from $15,000-$30,000 a night! That is cold hard cash for a few performances a night, and an artist can only get paid that amount if he makes good music and builds up a strong following; and more importantly he/she has to be good at performing.
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In this post I’m going to list four ways that you can become a better performer, and hopefully you will practice these techniques to become better at rockin shows.
1) Working On Your Stage Presence
In order to get the crowd going and hanging on to your every line you have to develop your stage presence. Stage presence is how you look, feel and act on stage. Your presence on stage determines if the crowd is going to cheer or boo for you so you have to get this part right. While on stage you have to show different emotions in order to get the crowd to respond to you.
Your emotions and mannerisms should reflect the type of song that you’re performing. If you are performing a song that considered high energy you’re movement and mannerisms should reflect that. Like wise, if you are singing an emotional song on stage, your whole behavior should reflect that. Your audience feeds off of your presence and you should feed off of their energy and reactions as well. Demand their attention with your stage presence and you will win them over.
2) Voice Projection
This mainly has to do with how well you sound when performing. I often go to amateur nights at small venues and see up and coming rap artists perform. Some of them do well and some of them struggle with rapping clear enough or sounding loud enough so the audience can hear them. When I say they’re not loud enough I don’t mean screaming into the mic. I mean projecting your voice loud enough over the instrumental, and rapping clear enough so the audience can hear what you’re saying.
Another thing some new rap artists do is make a fist around the top of the microphone while rapping, this will cause a high pitched sound feedback. This feedback can cause people to clasp their ears and tune out what you’re saying, it can also through your rhyming off. Keep the microphone at a good distance away from your mouth, don’t cover the top of the mic with your hands, and make sure your project your voice loud enough and rap clearly so the audience can understand what you’re saying. This makes for a better performing experience.
There is nothing worst than going to a concert and seeing a rapper do his whole performance with no crowd participation. A rapper can be pouring his heart out and even rapping well but if the crowd is not into the performance it is as good as dead. I’ve seen it happen many times and it’s not a pretty site. This goes back to our first point. You have to learn how to capture the attention of your audience and let them participate in your show.
It’s all about creating an unforgettable experience for your fans. And when the crowd leaves feeling like they were apart of something big, unique and spell bounding they will definitely spread the word! So whether you ask the crowd to throw their hands in the air and wave them side to side, or you ask them to jump around, or even ask them to sing along. Allowing them to participate in your performance will definitely add to the experience of the show.
4) Practice Practice Practice
The last tip to becoming a better rap performer is to practice. I know that you’ve heard it before but it’s true. Without practice you will not be able to perfect any of the tips listed about. The way you practice is by performing more often. Find a local venue that offers a “hip hop night” or an “open mic night,” and go and perform. It’s as simple as that. you will find after practicing month after month, your skills in the areas listed above will improve tremendously. Again, this benefits you not only at the present moment but well into the future, because if you are able to draw a crowd and perform well fans will always want to see you perform, and if you’re in high demand venues will always book you!
By: Jay Brown