In this Tour Tips segment, the pop group, Four Of Diamonds, recommends advice for being a musician on the road. You can check out the tips, after the break.
Hi everyone, we’re Four Of Diamonds (Caroline, Lauren, Sophia, and Yasmin)!! We’ve had a really exciting year so far, releasing lots of new music (with much more to come!). We’ve also been on the road a lot this year too, supporting Rita Ora on her UK arena tour at the beginning of the year and have just finished a fun festival run, with highlights being supporting Ariana Grande at Manchester Pride and supporting Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder at BST Hyde Park, along with lots of other really great festivals in between! Here are some of our tips and tricks we’ve learnt along the way, hopefully, they’ll help you too!
Whilst we’re on tour, we take ‘self-care’ really seriously. It’s so easy to get caught up in the fast-paced excitement of touring life, but here are some factors we always keep in mind whilst on the road.
First things first, FOOD. FOOD. And more FOOD. It may sound ridiculous and very straight forward, but it’s so important to take the time to sit down and have a meal, it’s super easy to get carried away when you have a packed schedule and are running around place to place. Typically on a show day, you would spend the morning traveling to a venue, then go straight into soundcheck, then have a short amount of time to get ready for the show and by that point, it’s too late to eat because you don’t want a full meal when you’re about to perform and dance around on stage!!! The best tip we’ve learnt whilst on the road is ALWAYS BRING SNACKS. You may be stuck on the road in the middle of the Mtwentysomething at 2am traveling to the next venue, with no food places open and then BAM…you’ve found a snack you threw in your bag 18 hours earlier – the best feeling ever!!! Always plan when you’re going to eat!!
It’s so important that you take downtime in the day for yourself, tour life is stressful and can feel like a lot of pressure at times, going on stage in front of hundreds sometimes thousands of people, can be a really daunting thought, no matter how experienced or ‘trained’ you are. We always take a bit of time in the day to relax, whether that’s reading a book or listening to music on the way to the gig, or even taking some time to walk around the venue or city we’re in. We make a pact to always put our phones down at some point in the day, even though social media is a critical part of everyday life especially being in a group and connecting with our brilliant fans, we find it really helps before we go on stage to not look at our phones at least an hour before the show, so that we can be completely focused for the performance and not get distracted by the everlasting WhatsApp groups (or funny memes)….
If you wear a lot of show makeup, repeat these words after me…ALWAYS TAKE OFF YOUR MAKEUP!!! As a band, we’re more for the natural look and don’t like to wear too much makeup, but especially for stage and video shoots, we find ourselves wearing more than normal especially having to reapply or constantly touching up throughout the day. I’m one of those people that gets back late after a show and just dreams of falling into bed – the last thing I want to be doing is scrubbing off 20 hours worth of foundation or lipstick. But as we have learnt the hard way, it’s really important to look after your skin otherwise you’re a quick victim of breakouts and that definitely won’t help you feel ‘show ready’! Give yourself time at the end of the day to have a skin routine, your skin will thank you for it afterward!!
Last but not least, look after your voice! Sounds like a given, but a lot of singers we’ve come across before don’t choose to always warm up. NO SISTA, you need to warm up because if you don’t, you could cause so much damage to your voice making life even more difficult for you on tour and permanently in the future. Very dramatic but it’s the truth, you put your voice under so much strain and pressure every night so it’s really key that you look after it properly. A dancer would never go on stage for 2 hours without warming up or an athlete wouldn’t get ready for an Olympic race without warming up, so neither should you – your voice is a muscle at the end of the day!! We always make sure we keep our voices warm at all times, and try and not talk too much throughout the day by going on strict vocal rest (although some of the girls don’t find this as easy as others!!).
To add to Lauren’s point, I also think self-belief is a big factor of being on tour too. You’re obviously going to get nervous, but it’s completely natural and is a good sign that you care. You need to use nerves the right way and never let them get the better of us, they help to get adrenaline pumping in your body before you go on stage. You can’t let nerves ruin the moment you’ve been dreaming of for so long and worked hard for. I remember when I was younger (and the other girls were the same too) lying awake in bed some night wishing and dreaming to be a singer. Now we’re in the moment, we take every opportunity and give it our all. We’re always so grateful and enjoy every show and performance. You need to be your own biggest cheerleader, if you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect others to either. We’re so happy to be doing this as a job, it’s all of our dreams come true and we always remind ourselves that before every show.
In the midst of all the chaos and excitement and stress and nerves that touring brings, my biggest tip would be to HAVE FUN. It’s so important to make sure that you enjoy your time on tour, it flies by so quickly and you don’t remember all of the things you were worrying about after the tour is done, but actually making memories is key. We act like kids (in a professional manner….sometimes) and always try and lighten the situation when it can get a bit stressful. Everything gets sorted out in the end – everyone does have the bad days, ill days, low days – but it’s so important that you all stick together and help each other out in times like that. When you’re on tour, you’re on the road with the same people for a long period-of-time, its like a family. Laughing is the best cure and so good for you, we’re all about making memories and having a bit of a laugh. I remember one time on a tour, we left buckets of water balanced on a hotel door of another acts room, so when they were opened the door – they got drenched (and luckily for us found it hilarious!!). I’ve also been the victim of a good prank… on our last tour with Rita Ora, Caroline tried to scare me and Sophia in the hotel, by knocking on the walls and doors in the middle of the night convincing us that the hotel was haunted…!! Completely ridiculous, but so much fun and we wouldn’t want touring life to be any other way.
I’d like to think I’m the organized one out of the group, but the girls may say otherwise! I feel like we’ve all picked up a lot of knowledge on how to pack for tour – which can either make or break your experience if you’re overpacked and stuck in an airport with an overweight bag, or wandering around a city trying to find the nearest clothes shop because you’ve forgotten to bring any jeans..!! I’ve made the same mistake so many times and usually do love a good overpack, however, I do feel like I’m getting the hang of it now (not sure if the girls would agree!!). My biggest tip would be to start with the essentials that you need but don’t really think too much about, including toiletries and makeup! There’s nothing worse than running around town before a show trying to rebuy all of your essentials because you have left them at home! Thank goodness I’m in a band with 3 others girls, between us all we always forget something, so we share everything (Lauren is usually the queen of handing out makeup wipes!!). I also love to bring a good old travel pillow and blanket (probably doesn’t help with the overpacking..!!). On tour you really have to make every moment count when it comes to sleep, I have the ability of being able to fall asleep anywhere – the girls have video evidence of me asleep in the car sat upright, not a pretty sight! So the travel pillow and blanket always helps there.
A big thing for us too is not forgetting your earphones/headphones!! I can’t bear the thought of having a 5-hour car journey without being able to listen to music, I love a good playlist to keep me going and a chance to discover new music. We always have a Netflix series on the go to, so good to be prepared and bulk download lots of series you haven’t had a chance to watch!! Clothing wise, comfort is a must when you’re traveling – tracksuits, leggings, onesies – the works!! They’re the kind of thing you can wear and be comfy in without looking too much worst for wear. I love a good legging and baggy t-shirt to soundcheck in, although my biggest tip would be to make sure that you’re always wearing something that you’re prepared to bump into the main artist on tour in! There have been a few occasions where we’ve bumped into someone we’re supporting on tour and I’ve definitely had a strange outfit combination on!! Any tour wouldn’t be complete without a night out here or there (gotta make the memories you know!!). I love throwing a good pair of heels in the case that would go with any outfit for a spontaneous night out. Although I do have a bad habit of overpacking shoes….my biggest advice would be always to make a list of what you need to pack before you head off, and in my case – remove at least 3 things from the list that aren’t necessities!!!!!
Hope you found that a bit helpful, we’re still learning and would love to hear your advice on what you think works when packing for tour.