In the last post, I gave you some tips to assess the video of Lady Gag at the Superbowl with new eyes.
Now that you’ve had a chance to learn how to spot a lip syncing singer and put your new skills to work, it’s time to answer the question: was she actually lipsyncing?
(If you haven’t, click here to read the previous post so you can see how much you know!)
Those of you who said she was NOT lip syncing are…….CORRECT!
All of the tips from you used to tell if a singer is faking it usually give you pretty solid results.
But the one reason people call out singers for lip syncing when they’re really NOT is because we think this:
“They HAVE to be lip syncing!
How can anyone run around that much and still hit all the notes?!”
Where do singers learn to look so great on stage?
There’s a reason singers improve so fast on shows like The Voice, America’s Got Talent and the now debunked XFactor. And it ain’t the vocal coaching (which btw, is worth it’s own post since it has damaged more voices than it has helped. Don’t get me started).
The real answer is live show producers.
Just like record labels or tour management, TV shows employ a live show producer (sometimes under other titles, but the purpose is the same). They are the ones who create the vision that the choreographers, vocal coaches, the wardrobe department, and the singer(s) will use to bring that incredible performance to life.
Live show producers know exactly how to look at what a singer can and can’t do and move them quickly through what they should master next to look incredible, inviting, and much more marketable on stage.
The longer a singers career involves a live show producer (& depending on the level of commitment of the singer), they can be transformed to the level where they can do amazing things like you Lady Gaga do.
How do I try things on stage as a singer without looking stupid?
It’s one thing to have the vision of what you want your live performance to look like and quite another to know how to make it happen.
Most singers don’t get a lot of experience ‘filling a large stage’ until until they’re performing on one. And that’s not the best time to try to figure it out,
But long before then you WILL have opportunities to sing on a platform that’s big enough that you really should be moving on it.
How do you know how MUCH to move?
The more energy a song has, the more movement there needs to be on the platform. The type of music you sing will determine what that movement should look like. Look at videos of the top five artist in your niche (no one lower – you may just pick up the same mistakes they’re making). Below I’ll show you how to go from watching their show to designing yours.
Now it’s time to ask that question again: how can I sing that incredibly demanding song AND move all over the place without having a heart attack on stage?
Here is the ‘trick’ to what Lady Gaga did on stage live
There is only one way to sing your very best while really ‘working’ the stage without faking it: Exercise.
Stick with me here.
We’re not talking bench pressing 250lbs. or looking like some of the borderline anorexic singers you’ve seen. What we ARE talking about is being at a physical level that allows you to sing full out without the activity affecting your voice.
As far back as singers have been their own dancers, managers and show producers have put singers through as much physical exercise as vocal exercise.
The Back Street Boys once complained that their manager made them jog in a line while singing their entire set during tour training.
Do you really need to jog for two hours while singing or sing while descending from a wire in a harness? Proooooobably not.
Here’s a good starter guide for working up your physical fitness to meet your performing demands.
Determine what level of movement works for what you’re doing.
- Watch any videos of the top 3-5 singers who do the kind of music you do. Skip other singers, We’re hoping the top three have been coached out of their bad habits so you don’t pick them up. Pick songs with the same kind of energy as the songs you sing.
- Identify the ‘attention grabbers’: dancers, pyrotechnics, video backgrounds, etc. Ignore any that you won’t have in your performance.
- Ignore any movements the lead singer uses that utilizes props or stage items you won’t have on stage (like jumping off an 8 foot speaker stack)
- Taking those items out, how much does the lead singer move? What kind of things do they do?
- Pick the 2-3 you feel most comfortable doing and work them into your song.
Build the muscle memory & the mojo.
- Do any of the movements you’re adding require more physical stamina than you currently have? Up your cardio workout.(anything you enjoy doing that makes you sweat.)
- After you’ve up’d your cardio for at least two weeks (preferably), start singing your song(s) during your cardio workout at tempo. Expect your singing to suffer at first. This will become a gage for how well you can really move comfortably on stage.
- Take out your lyric chart and note where you’re going to add movement and what kind of movement it is. It makes learning the new pattern of movement much faster..
- Every time you sing the song, add the movements (make them as big as your practice space allows). Prioritize your weakness! You can’t focus on singing and moving the exact same amount. Get one down well. Then only focus on the other.
- PRACTICE! Every time you sing the song the muscle memory for movement needs to be attached. This makes it look like second nature even if you feel weird doing it.
3 Foolproof Steps for Looking Like a Pro On Stage
- Stage movement always LOOKS smaller than it FEELS. Plan to go over the top.
- It’s NORMAL (even for pro’s) to feel weird, nervous or stupid when adding something new. Expect it. Embrace it. Do it anyway.
- Your FACE will tell your audience if they should love it or judge it. Your face must say “Heck YEAH I meant to do that!”, never “oh…crap. you didn’t see that did you???” regardless of what you think about how you look or sound.
You’ll be amazed how much more revved up your audience will be when you make the choice to give them a better show. Two artists or bands can do the same song just as well and the audience will chose the one that moves every time. That’s because it gives THEM permission to move and enjoy what you’re bringing them. And that’s what they wanted all the time.
Note for worship musicians: Don’t think this doesn’t apply to you. It’s probably more important for you. What you do or don’t do on the platform will determine your audience’s focus. If you’re not comfortable moving during worship music, look for artists videos that don’t come off as ‘me-me!’ Try those, then let your authenticity drive you on from there.
But for heaven’s sake, please don’t just close your eyes and stand there! That says. ‘hey I’ve got a really cool thing going on here….butt out.”
Looking like you’re having a great time on stage is more important than you think. We’re a very visual generation with short attention span. If your music, your message, your identity as an artist is important to you, take it seriously and grab their attention.
If you don’t, something else will.