In this Preshow Rituals segment, the singer-songwriter, Justin Jesso, reveals what he does before taking the stage. You can check out the story, after the break.
I try to almost always do the same thing before every show. Even if its a show from my living room over the interwebs, I try and prep the same way to make sure I am ready to give the best show possible.
I start with a workout. Usually something easy… 30 minutes. A p90x tape… something that gets me sweating a bit. Then I take a shower and warm up my voice to a pre-recorded vocal warmup that my vocal coach made me. I’ve been lucky to have had a bunch of fantastic vocal coaches over the years, (Winifred Brown, Jeff Morrow, Joan Lader, David Stroud), and I have been working off a tape in the morning for at least the last 10 years. Even if I don’t have a show that day, it is rare that I miss a day doing a shower warmup. I probably miss less than 10 days a year warming up… and that only happens on days when I’m not talking or on a vacation (which I don’t take too often). The current warmup tape I am doing lasts around 15 minutes.
I will then warm up again before a soundcheck. Then I like to take a bit of time to decompress… and will end up re warming up before I go back into show mode. I won’t eat if its within 45 minutes of hitting the stage. Right before I go on, I will re warm-up and stretch. I do this deep lunge yoga stretch thing (even though I am terrible at yoga) and twist my body all the way to the left/right in a lunge while bracing my elbow against my knee. Then I go down into more of a pigeon-esque thing. It ends in me jumping around to pump myself up.
I have the same hot water lemon honey ginger pretty much before every show. Sometimes I’ll drink it throughout the day if I’m having a rough or scratchy voice. Which unfortunately happens to me quite often.
If I have crew with me, I always make sure we say good show to each other, and we will pump each other up with an all-hands in chant. Every time it is something different or funny from the trip we are on. For example, one time I saw a sign that said “no diseased cats allowed in Finland” when at the airport. I was deliriously tired and asked my crew when they were arriving if they had seen it. They all said no, but Diseased Cat became a running joke for us… so before every show on that tour, we would put our hands in and chant “diseased cat” before raising them up and doing a show. We are super weird, I know.
Right before I go on, I try to center myself, control my breathing so I’m not already out of breath from nerves or excitement when walking on.