In this Preshow Rituals segment, the emo rap artist, Ryan Oakes, reveals what he does before taking the stage. You can check out the story, after the break.
As an up and coming artist, it’s safe to say the nerves of getting on stage when I’m headlining or co-headlining on a tour still get to me pretty bad. In order to help with this, I have come up with my own set of pre-show rituals. The first thing I do seems to be constantly peeking out of the curtain backstage to see how excited the crowd is. If they’re excited, I’m excited and jittery, if they seem kind of dull (even though it’s my job to hype them up and I’ll do just that) I start to get super nervous and panicky. Nerves come with both sides of the spectrum. In order to counter this, I have formed the habit of drinking my kypronite before getting on stage — the classic rum and coke. And the lucky number seems to be three. Sometimes I’ll drink two and bring the third on stage with me. It helps me get relaxed, a little buzz but not to the point where it hinders my performance capabilities, and overall just sets the mood for me that I’m there to party and have fun. Although there are a ton of shows I hardly remember that I did back in my college days when the partying was absolutely excessive, these days I tend to limit myself so I can remember each and every incredible person I meet and to humble my self that this is my job and alcohol is something that can limit me from giving the best possible performance for my supporters that were nice enough to pay to come to meet me and see me in concert.
Secondly, I tend to pace a lot. It’s just something that’s always been there. When I’m using a lot of brainpower to brainstorm on how to give the best possible show I’m pacing back and forth. It helps calm the nerves a little and helps get the blood flowing before I go on stage. In my music, I talk a lot about anxiety and it really does constantly flow through my veins and believe it or not letting myself pace it out really does help me relax a bit (in combination with waiting for the little bit of alcohol to hit for sure).
Thirdly, I try to stay away from any and all cheap food. It’s one thing to go get a 15$ burger at a pub that’s famous in the city I’m touring too, and another to go to a Macdonalds and load up on bad food. For some reason, cheap food and me performing don’t mix. The energy levels are low, and the motivation is next to nowhere. I just want to sleep and I don’t want to bring that dull mindset or attitude anywhere near someone that paid entry into one of my shows. In combination with good food, hydration is key. Before any alcohol goes into my system I probably am 2-3 liters deep of water just to make sure everything is working in my body and good to sprint around a stage for thirty minutes to an hour!
On stage, I literally go as hard as I can to the point where I need about a 15-20 minute break afterward just to get my energy back. And of course, I am nowhere near a point where I want to ignore my supporters that I’m incredibly grateful for so after every show I shake every single person’s hand or hug them, sign whatever merch they’d like, and take unlimited free pictures with everyone until they are happy with their experience coming to my show. I don’t believe in calling people fans anyone that supports my music is a friend and will be treated so!