Tips for #RGT performers

Curtain

As we approach the live shows, here are a few tips for our live performers.

Some of you are much more experienced in being on stage than others, but some of you might find a bit of guidance helpful. We’ve put together the following tips which we hope will help you on the day.

Here we go ….

  1. Try and enjoy it!

OK … easier said than done; we know everyone gets nervous – even experienced performers. However if you can make yourself relax and enjoy your time in the spotlight it really will enhance your performance a lot. Yes it’s a competition, yes it’s a big stage with all the tech and everything, yes the judges are scrutinising you … but at the end of the day you are being given a chance to do something you love – singing in front of an audience. Enjoy the buzz and the applause and emotions of your song, whether it’s a serious ballad or a fun foot-tapper. Read up a little about breathing exercises, mind games, and other techniques to keep yourself as calm and relaxed as possible.

  1. The microphone / sound tech

Don’t be afraid of the mike! Mike is your friend, you can trust him. Hold Mike close but treat him gently and learn how to use him properly. Trust the sound guy (Gary) to mix things so they sound good out front, and remember that how you hear things onstage might be a different mix. During the sound checks, don’t be afraid to tell the techies what you need to be able to hear yourself and your musicians or backing tracks properly through the stage monitors. You are the boss, they are there to help you.

  1. Lights!

Wow, up on stage you often can’t see anything of the audience. The lights are in your eyes and it can feel a bit disorientating, especially if you move around a lot. If you haven’t experienced that, make sure that when we do the run-throughs that you think about it. Know where your mike stand and the edge of the stage is, and use landmarks (marks on the stage, bits of tape, a certain cable, or whatever) so you know you are in the right place. Our technician (Evan) will light the stage effectively whatever you are singing, but if you do want something very specific, for example in terms of colour, please let him know.

  1. Eye contact and emotion

Even though it’s not possible (see “lights” above) to truly make eye contact with the audience? Well … you could imagine someone out there watching you and focus on where you think they are occasionally – whether it’s your SO, a family member, the judges, or just a group in row 14 that you want to connect with the song! If you feel uncomfortable focusing on people you know, or on individuals, keep your head up and look towards something at the back of the hall; to the audience, it still looks like you are engaging with the crowd.

Eye contact, especially with an emotional song, is a very powerful audience influencer. Sometimes a singer will close their eyes, which can be effective, but please not for the whole song or for any length of time!

Music and song is massively powerful. The best singers and musicians are not afraid to wear their heart on their sleeve. To succeed on stage means letting go of any fear or embarrassment about feeling it. The joy of a dance song, the heartache of a love song, the tragedy of a country and western singer going through a D-I-V-O-R-C-E, or the passion that flows from a fantastic guitar solo .. it’s all emotional. Think Adele, Meatloaf, Shirley Bassey. Think of the great, great songs from the musicals .. more emotion. If you feel it, show it to the audience (and judges).

  1. Movement

Even with a slow song, being totally static can be detrimental to your performance. Practice movement. It could be anything from outright dance to gentle swaying and arm movements. Body language conveys emotion, and (see above!) emotion is what music and singing is all about. If you want to convey fun, then have fun! If you want to convey passion, then be passionate! Songs with lengthy instrumental interludes can feel awkward for a solo singer, so think about how to make yourself look natural if that’s in your song … or change the song. Which leads me to …

  1. Song Choice

You have 3-4 minutes to impress the audience and judges, and to do this there has to be a good match between your song and your voice. Also, some songs are simply more difficult to sing than others, or can expose faults in your voice or performance more easily than others. Choose a song that the bulk of your audience, and the judges, should quickly relate to. Well known, upbeat songs get the audience clapping and foot-tapping, meaning you are well on the way to being entertaining. Ballads bring emotion and personal stories, meaning people in the crowd might quickly relate to you and feel it. If you choose a song you have written yourself, this can demonstrate some great talent, but the disadvantage is that some of the judges’ and audience attention is focused on working out the song as they hear it for the first time, rather than on your voice and performance.

  1. Compere / chatting

The compere will introduce you by the stage name you have given us; and can add a snippet or two of information about you – but only if you talk to him/her and say what you want said. After you’ve performed the compere will chat to you for a minute or two … did you enjoy that? … how did it feel? … that sort of thing … so have some answers ready in your head. Conversing on stage well – with the compere, audience, and the judges when they make their comments – will help you to come across as confident about the stage and the show environment.

  1. Practice, rehearse, practice, rehearse

Yup .. being successful on stage does mean having to work hard at it!

If you have a natural talent for singing, that’s great, but people who can just get up there and do it without all the preparation and rehearsal are very few and far between. The most successful artists are the ones that practice, practice and practice. Did we mention practice? So … get practicing. Rehearse your song over and over again. Record yourself and listen back. Daily rehearsal sessions are really important. However, you should also read up (or take advice if you have access to it) on how to look after your voice and keep it in tip top condition, and knowing when to avoid straining it.

If you are playing an instrument too, that’s even more rehearsals … it’ll only be ‘alright on the night’ if you’ve been through it enough times!

  1. Food and drink

Water, juice, soft drinks … yes. Avoid any alcohol and caffeine before you go on stage – you run a risk of not coming across at your best, shall we say!  Eat before the show – even if you feel really nervous and don’t feel you want to) but not immediately before, so as avoid feeling stuffed, nauseous or uncomfortable when performing. We will provide water, juices and biscuits backstage.

  1. Listen to instructions and advice

The compere / event director, tech team, stage manager, and everyone working to deliver #RGT is there to help you and make it happen well. They also have a big logistical job to do, dealing with 25 acts over three shows, so please help us all by being in the right place at the right time. You’ll get a good steer when we do the event briefings and sound checks, so take those opportunities to learn about how we are operating on the day. If everything runs smoothly, every act will have equal good opportunity to perform well. Getting on stage flustered, not knowing about your tech, or late, means you’re off to a bad start straight away!

11. Manage your own expectations and ambitions

It is important to do this so that you really can enjoy the show. After all, even if every performance is brilliant, there can only be one outright winner (we haven’t got enough prize money for 18 of you!). We want you to be ambitious of course,  but not to the extent that it consumes you and detracts from your enjoyment of taking part. Just getting to the live-show stage is an achievement, and the experience of being part of #RGT will, we hope, shape how you work at performing in the future. Our experience of #RGT since we relaunched it in 2018 is that participants can learn a lot from each other, become good friends, and support each other. Some have gone on to perform together. Enjoy being a part of something special, whether you get through to the final or not!

Best wishes from the #RGT team!