Recently, after running sound for an artist at House of Blues, in Houston TX, I had a nice conversation with an accomplished vocalist. Over the course of our conversation, he mentioned two simple tips that improved his singing on stage and in the studio. What he told me could drastically improve your abilities as a live performer and a studio powerhouse. As simple as it may sound, these tricks will help you engage your audience during your performance, and may open doors of creativty you never thought possible.
1. Eye Contact.
Making eye contact drives the point of a song home. It engages your audience in a way that makes them feel inspired, desired, creates personal envolvement, it makes the song believable and more enjoyable. Eye contact stimulates not only the audience, but illuminates you, the performer in a new light, which heightens your awareness and builds confindence! You become a true front man or woman. You control the emotions of every individual in the room.
2. A Great Smile.
Like every good mother, I remember mine always saying how much she loves being greeted by it, and how she wanted to see more of it, a true bringer of joy: my amazing smile! Now that we've established how wonderful my smile really is, let's get down to business :).
Smiling while performing commands your listener. It sends them into a state of relaxation. All the anxiety they once felt on the way to the show, waiting in line, waiting for their drinks, waiting, waiting, and more waiting, until finally the band comes out. All this anxiety becomes a blur with a simple smile from you; the performer. You hold the key to happiness, the escape from their everyday routine. You help them escape from their worst fears, the pressures of the job, only for a moment, the time allotted on stage or within the context of 3mins of their new favorite song. Your smile is the answer they've been waiting for.
Smiling also brightens the natural tone of your voice and allows for greater flexibility. Your tone changes by smiling, which happens to be an audible experience (we all know is the artistic dimension we musicians thrive in). Being an audible difference means the listener can hear you smile! We've all been complimented on how we play with heart, passion, and soul. These are all common characteristics of a great performance.
Performances in which you hear and feel the heartbeat of the musicians, are great in every way. Mistakes are overlooked when your emotion over shadows. When you feel and hear the emotion from each and every performer, the song comes alive. Eye contact, a simple smile, are just another way to achieve life changing performances, which transport your audience to another world. A world full of life and excitement. Eye contact and a great smile are the artist's key to success.