In this Tour Tips segment, the singer-songwriter, Natalie Holmes, gives you her tips for being on tour. You can check out the feature, after the break.
1. FOOD. I am a big foodie, and I like to eat things that aren’t super processed and make you feel horrendous afterward. I also don’t like to have to fork out the cash BECAUSE I want healthier food. I found in Europe especially, services are few and far between, and more often than not we’re at McDonald’s. Plan a trip to a supermarket! Instead of services, we tried to find stop offs in towns where there was an ALDI for example. My best discovery was buying a packet of Ryvita and topping them with things like cucumber, avocado & tuna. The boys bought bread and sandwich fillers and we had a car bonnet sandwich station. Just make sure you pack a tin-opener & some cutlery! Or keep the plastic ones you get given when you occasionally do buy something to go. The trickiest situation I found myself in was when we got to Switzerland late at night. We were shocked by how ridiculously expensive everything was – I think a pre-made feeble sandwich in the services was over £6. I found a bizarre pack of 6 hard-boiled eggs that were painted fluorescent colors and it took me a while to figure out whether they were edible, but in the end, although they were still pricey they were a handy addition to packed lunches for the next few days! (Cool box essential).
2. CLOTHES. No matter if you are tight on space or not, I think it’s nice to keep it minimal on tour so you don’t have to think about what to wear too much each day. Pack things that can all mix and match, rather than tons of separate outfits. My golden item when I went to Europe was this light jumpsuit, which I could wear for days on end because it was so loose it didn’t touch under my arms, and it was super comfy whilst also looking really pretty so I could dress it down in the day and even wear it for the gig in the evening! I rolled it up when packing it to avoid it getting creased. Another thing I thanked myself for when I was getting flights every day with Above & Beyond (polar opposite experience to Europe tour haha, but both were incredible experiences in their own way!), was buying a cute thin pair of jogging bottoms that looked acceptable for day wear but felt like pajamas. America had way better clothes than England. If you do happen to be touring in Winter, choose one coat that will work with everything and just a couple of jumpers! Your favorite big scarf will be a welcome comfort too and double as a blanket in the car/plane.
3. Take time to yourself. The company is a blessing but can get very intense on tour when you are with the same people every moment of every day. My thing to do as soon as I got to each new city was look up recommended independent cafes. Alongside being a coffee lover and trying different roasters around the world, it doubles as a quick sight see-er. You’ll often only have a matter of hours in one city and it’s impossible to see everything, so I would find a café that was say, 40 minutes walk away, and just use that as my way of looking around and feeling like a local for a bit. Watching the world pass by gives you a bit of time to really take in the fact that you’re halfway around the world doing what you love, and be thankful.
4. BE THANKFUL. It’s so easy to get disheartened if you are touring your own material in places you’ve never played before and perhaps you’re playing to almost nobody. But look at your life in that moment – you’re traveling, you’re playing music, and those 10 people that came are absolutely loving you. What good is it doing wishing you were somewhere else? It’s incredibly easy to compare yourself to other musicians and how well they’re doing, but the truth is social media glamourizes EVERYTHING – and you know that because you do it too. Touring with Above & Beyond was literally a dream, it didn’t feel real. The people couldn’t have been nicer, the venues we played couldn’t have been more mind-blowing, and we got to have a room to ourselves in a hotel every night. I mean, it was intense and it was hard work, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. You can get very used to a certain lifestyle and take it for granted, but I remember sitting in a coffee shop in Chicago – Bowtruss I think – and it would hit me just how insanely out of this world amazing the whole thing was, and who cares if you don’t get to do it again, you’re doing it NOW.
5. PRE-SHOW. Take some time to zone into artist mode before you perform. Clear your head, stretch out your body, your neck, and shoulders (especially if you’re a singer!), and warm up your voice. In general, you know your body and your limits so ensure you aren’t too hungover or tired to perform at your best! This ties in with all the other points too. If you’re looking after yourself physically and mentally you will be all the more on form for your shows, as well as feeling better in general throughout the tour. Save the real party for the last night when celebrating will feel super wonderful, or if you have a few days off if you’re on a longer tour!