Today we’re going to look at how to improve stage presence for singers.
No matter how good your guitarist is at shredding, no matter how crazy your bass player’s hair is, no matter how quirky your drummer’s personality is, eyes tend to be drawn to the centerpiece of the stage, which is almost always the vocalist. The melody creates a direct connection with the fans.
If you want your show to be remembered, standing and signing is not enough. You have to keep your audience engaged in your performance. The only way to do that is to make a conscious effort to up your stage game.
Don’t worry; with a little practice, you’ll be rocking out like a pro in no time. Here are five stage presence tips you can use to get your audience engaged.
P.S. Please make sure you’re a good singer before going to perform gigs. The last thing you want to do is get on stage and not do well, as that will leave people wiht a bad lasting impression. So either get live singing lessons, or check out our guide for instant ways to improve.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
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1. Move, As Standing Still Isn’t Great For Stage Presence!
The most basic aspect of stage presence is movement. This might seem obvious, but many singers tend to miss it.
Eyes are naturally drawn to things that are moving, which means the more movement you can reasonably negotiate (based on the theme of the song and how much you can move around and still manage to sing well), the more you’ll draw people’s attention.
When you’re not signing, engage the crowd. Doll out some high-fives. Turn your body towards the soloist when they have a big solo, and share the spotlight with them. Go rock out with the drummer for a while. You have a lot of different options.
Just keep in mind that your stage moves should complement the music, which brings us to our next point.
2. Singers, Think About What You’re Trying To Communicate On Stage
Music carries a certain emotion and message with it. The role of the singer is to interpret that message and relay it to the audience.
Your stage moves should fit with the theme of the music. Head-banging might be a great way to make your presence known, but it probably isn’t the ideal stage move for a gentle acoustic ballad.
If you appear bored and uninterested in the music, you’ll have a hard time “selling it” to the audience. If you’re just standing around onstage singing songs, this could be how you’re coming across, even if that’s not your intention.
Whether you’re belting out a rocker or wooing the crowd with a tragic country love song, you have to learn to play to the piece. That flexibility is very important, because if you pull the same stage moves for every song, it’s going to come across the same. If every song is supposed to convey a different emotion, that needs to be reflected in your movements also.
We all know that communication isn’t just verbal; it’s also physical. Get the two working together for best effect. We talk more about performance tips for singers here.
3. Take Inspiration And Tips From Other Singer’s Stage Presence
Looking for a little inspiration? Take some time to think about the singers that have great stage presence. Who comes to mind?
It’s worth observing and studying their moves, because you’ll learn a lot just by watching them. You’ll begin to figure out how they’re using their presence to engage the audience and draw their attention to other band members, props, screens, and so on.
You don’t necessarily need to copy anyone’s moves, but it can’t hurt to incorporate what they’re doing into what you’re already doing.
It’s fair to assume that some of the best moves have already been done. It’s your job to take in what’s out there, and make it your own. Whatever you do, own it. Confidence makes a huge difference when it comes to stage presence.
Ok, so this next stage presence tip is a must for all singers.
4. Banter With Your Band & The Audience
There are many singers and bands out there that don’t say much in between songs. No matter how good your music is, this has the potential to backfire on you and bore the crowd to death.
If you interact with your band mates between songs, you have the opportunity to make people laugh. Humor has a way of making just about any experience memorable.
If you interact with the audience, you can make them pay attention. They’ll be drawn in and will be more willing to reciprocate your energy.
Of course, it’s a good idea to prepare something more than clichés like “how’s everybody doing tonight!?”, right? Have your audience do a call-and-response sing-off with you, or ask them to dance with you.
Good dialog can really enhance a show. Your audience will feel like the concert was worth coming out to, and will want to attend future performances too. Make storytelling a part of your show; stories are easy to connect and relate to.
5. Remember To Share The Spotlight
Singers are an important part of the band, but they aren’t the only part. Most of the time, people are going to be focused on you anyway, so it’s worth sharing the spotlight with your band mates to add some variety to the show.
Turn your body towards the piano player when he has a solo. Look at the bass player when she’s playing a cool riff. Provide cues for your audience so that they don’t miss anything cool that’s happening. Pointing your body in the general direction of interest is often more than enough.
There’s no reason to hog all of the attention, because there’s plenty to go around, and most of it is going to be on you anyway. Learn how to highlight and complement the other players in your band.
Make the show come alive. There’s no doubt that singers carry a great deal of responsibility when it comes to creating an experience worth remembering, and from that perspective, it can feel like a lot of pressure.
However, it’s important to remember to have fun. If you’re enjoying yourself onstage, your fans will no doubt enjoy themselves too.
Practice your stage moves, get comfortable moving around, always be aware of your surroundings, and try not to get hurt; especially if you’re planning on pulling back flips. You don’t want to end up having to cancel shows because of injuries.
Putting on a great show takes effort, but the results will speak for themselves. A single memorable live experience is worth considerably more than an entire tour of dull shows.