In this Preshow Rituals segment, the indie pop artist, tiger lily, reveals what she does before taking the stage. You can check out the rituals, after the break.
I began regularly playing concerts around Seattle when I was 15 years old in an all-girl grunge band with my sister and cousin. When I began performing, I honestly couldn’t imagine anything more dreadful than performing onstage, but I also couldn’t imagine anything cooler than being in a rock band, so it was an inevitable dilemma that I developed a number of pre-show rituals to combat.
The first was drinking copious amounts of “Throat Coat” tea with about a cup of honey per glass. I used to get so distressed in the weeks leading up to my concerts that I would manifest some obscure throat ailment like clockwork the day before the gig. I mean, I really put myself through the wringer: bronchitis, laryngitis, strep throat, mononucleosis, even whooping cough. One of the first shows I played in middle school was opening up for a bunch of legendary female rockstars from bands like Hole, L7, and the Go-Go’s. Of course, I developed bronchitis before the show, but I performed anyways, and my voice sounded like I’d been chain-smoking for decades; I really sounded like a hardcore rockstar in the form of a tiny middle schooler.
The second ritual was locking myself in the bathroom of the venue before the show so I wouldn’t get psyched out talking to people. Typically, that’s what a green room is for, but I didn’t want to see anyone so I’d hide out in the bathroom. Oftentimes soundcheck would be hours before the actual gig, so I’d be holed up in the stall for a hot minute while outside I could hear everyone being like “where is she!?”
The third ritual was writing every lyric to the songs on our setlist on my arms. This was a ton of work when we were playing sets up to three hours some days, but there was nothing that terrified me more than forgetting the words or chords to my own song. Logically, this ritual made little sense because, in the heat of the moment, if I forgot a word, there was no easy way to scan all of my arms for it, but I carried on doing it for years.