In this Preshow Rituals segment, the singer-songwriter, Struan Shields, shares what he does before every show. You can check out his rituals, after the break.
I have fairly crippling day-of-show anxiety and as a rule, I’m a pretty neurotic person. This all makes the day of a show a bit of a nightmare at times. Once I’m on stage the nerves almost always dissipate completely, but the lead-up is the problem. It doesn’t help that prior to a show I’m usually sitting for hours in the car, on a plane, or in a city where I don’t know anyone except my band. That means a lot of downtime to diagnose myself with vocal nodes and worry that I’ll forget how to play piano.
My pre-show ritual has evolved over the years but I ALWAYS have excessive amounts of Bigelow Peppermint Tea on hand and drink about two cups throughout the day. In the past, I used to have to sing Don McLean’s “American Pie” as a vocal warm up to get my voice feeling exactly “right”. These days I’ve evolved to doing super weird vocal warm-ups. I always sneak off to the car and do them out of earshot because singing while sticking your tongue out makes people uncomfortable. Unfortunately, with fly-dates or other shows, I don’t always have a car or green room so that has led to some embarrassing moments in bathrooms that I thought were empty.
Up until a couple years ago I always used to psych myself out completely. One time, however, my girlfriend at the time told me something that I’ve never forgotten and I always tell myself before shows. She said, “Struan, literally everyone out there is going to be dead in fifty years including you—who even cares what happens?” Super morbid, I know. And I know what you’re thinking—“I don’t plan on being dead in fifty years”. Neither do I. That said she is a nurse so maybe she knows something that we don’t. Either way, I’m not nervous anymore so I’m not complaining.
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