In this Preshow Rituals segment, the pop singer, Anna Thompson, reveals what she does before taking the stage. You can check out the rituals, after the break.
“I’ve been performing since the age of 5. I started in musical theatre, started playing rock music at age 11, then transitioned to pop at age 17. Throughout which, I’ve developed certain disciplines for myself before a performance. Growing up playing shows, I didn’t have much of a routine at all. This led to a lot of inconsistencies in my vocal performances, as I didn’t take my vocal health seriously enough. I would just kind of get ready, go to the venue, and hope I’d do an okay job. Since then, I’ve made a lot of changes to the way I prepare for a show. It might seem a bit extensive, but it’s what makes me feel the best when it’s finally time to get on stage.
So, let’s say my set is at 8pm. I make sure I get a good 8 hours of sleep prior. One of the first things I do upon waking up on a show day is steam my voice with a personal steamer. It’s impossible to get things like tea or lozenges to come into physical contact with your vocal cords, so inhaling hot steam is an amazing way to relax and moisturize them. After that, I shower, put on some comfy clothes, and have something to eat. I have few food restrictions, but I avoid all caffeine, as I experience vocal strain with it. Herbal tea, however, is perfect pre-show. My favorite being turmeric tea with honey. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory as well, which can help with vocal swelling.
Then, I warm up. I do a full 25 minutes of vocal exercise. I start with some easy lip trill scales and slowly build to strenuous belts and agility exercises. I finish up with a vocal cool down. I find the earlier in the day I get my voice working, the better I perform later. However, there’s a fine line between staying warm, and overuse. So I have to be careful to find a perfect balance between the two. I try my best to fill the rest of my time prior to performing with a decent amount of talking. Keeping my voice in use in an easy way allows for more agility later. If I have nobody around to talk to, I’ll call a friend.
The part of my day pre-show in which I get to really relax is when I do my hair and makeup. I will take about an hour to get completely ready. During which, I don’t speak or sing. I just pay attention to putting the makeup on. It’s really meditative for me to keep my mind on one specific thing. It clears my head. Then I’ll put on what I want to wear on stage, and get ready to head to the venue. I think feeling good about the way I look for a performance is just as important as the way my voice feels. I seldom dress up or spend an hour on my makeup. Having something to do that for is really fun. When I think I look good, I feel so much more confident in my performance. It’s a huge part of it for me.
Finally, on my way to the venue, I’ll warm up yet again. I’ll also do some breath work to make sure my diaphragm is engaged and ready to support my high notes. When I’m finally at the venue, I’ll likely steam one more time pre-show. Then, I get on stage and deliver the best show I can. While this may seem like a lot, it’s important to me. My body is my instrument, and I need to keep it healthy and in tune. Especially, before a performance. I’m glad I’ve learned so much more about vocal health throughout my performance experience. I encourage other vocalists to do the same! Our voices will only be as good as we treat them. I like to treat mine the best I can.
Keep up with her on Instagram.