In this Preshow Rituals segment, the alternative pop artist, Ryan Nealon, reveals what he does before taking the stage. You can check out the story, after the break.
Before a show, I have a lot of rituals that help me center myself and prevent me from being a nervous wreck on stage. Between making sure that all of my charts are prepped (I chart my own music for my band, shocking right?!), making sure that I provide my band with updates regularly on show day so I can avoid the 1,083 sporadic text messages about where the gig is, what time the gig is, what songs we’re playing, etc., and above all else make sure that my voice is in good health, shows for me can be quite the ordeal. As an artist, I’ve always prided myself on being extremely organized. When I had first moved to Los Angeles in 2013, my first few shows were so terrible that it’s still funny to this day. Between the horrible charts, unclear direction, and overall bad music, I wasn’t getting off to a good start, but going to college for music definitely whipped me into shape and I was lucky that my bandmates were forgiving, always gave me constructive criticism even when I didn’t want it, and still stuck by my side regardless. Now, 8 years later, I’ve become a fully realized performer and bandleader, and I’ve got my show prep down to a T.
The first thing I make sure to do on the day of the show is to send out a blast to my band letting them know all of the details for the show. I let them know the time of the gig, the address, parking situation, what time they should leave their houses to dodge traffic, and pretty much anything and everything—I’m really reeeeeeally thorough lol. I’ll then make sure to send out a blast to friends, family, and fans about the show, then I take a solid 2-3 hours to have some good old time conditioning my voice. I’ll first make a pot of tea—I mostly go for throat coat even though it tastes awful, but it really gets the job done. Then, I’ll make myself a nice warm breakfast, steam for about 20-30 minutes, then proceed to warm up for another 20-30 minutes. After this, I organize all of my charts and make sure that they’re all ready to go for the band, then put them in my car before I leave since I have a bad habit of forgetting things at home (especially on show days). After everything is prepped, I have a good old dance party to myself—I listen to 80s pop, disco, and old school RnB—to get my mind off of things, then I’ll brush my teeth, do my hair, get dressed, then head out for the show.
All of these things might sound silly when you read them back, but for me, it’s a process that basically assures me that I’m going to have a solid show. I stress very easily, and when things are all organized like this, it’s seriously a night and day type of difference. Even if one of those steps gets compromised, it could change the whole show dynamic, and my mood entirely. Call me a diva, but heck I’m a functional one haha!