In this Preshow Rituals segment, the indie pop artist, L.A. Chai, reveals what he does before taking the stage. You can check out the story, after the break.
Performing live is a pretty crazy experience, you get one shot, once the music has left your instrument, once the lyrics and melodies leave your mouth that’s it!
For me, it is so important to be in the right headspace when walking on stage. If I’m too in my head about it the audience will feel my stress and they will be uncomfortable, If I’m too relaxed and flippant I won’t perform with passion and excellence. I have found a few tricks and practices that help me land in the middle of these two so I am present and have some edge while also being able to have fun.
The first thing I do and the most important- Make sure I know my show context. I don’t present my music and banter the same way in a music hall as I would in a club. I will cater the experience to the crowd while also keeping the core of who I am, this is my music after all. The day of the show I will find a quiet place and sit alone, I then close my eyes and picture being on stage. I picture the audience and the venue and feel the atmosphere. I get comfortable being there in front of them and imagine talking to them. What makes them laugh, what stories do I tell to get them engaged in my music and songs.
The second thing I do is forget all about it, it sounds weird but going the rest of the day thinking about the show will only make me get in my head. I find things to keep my mind busy like riding my electric skateboard around the city I am in. I’ll get some local food and a chaí if I can find a coffee shop… And yes, if you didn’t get it from my name I love a good chaí! If I’m in L.A. the Blue Bottle is my spot!!!
Last, before I am about to go on stage I’ll get with my band and crew to touch base, we will have some laughs and talk through any specifics of the show. Then it’s time for the pain!!! If you have ever heard of a five-star there is nothing better to wake your senses up and get the blood going than a slap on the back from a bandmate! They call them five stars because if you hit the way you’re supposed to it will leave a handprint outlined in red on your back for a while.
I once heard someone say this and I stand by it-Everyone has butterflies, the pros can make theirs fly in formation. This is my way of doing just that.