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How to Shine as an Entertainer - Part 1 - On Stage
CD Cover Picture
Autographed Picture I Got When I Met ONJ
If You're Having Fun - Your Audience is Having Fun
The first time I remember doing a solo performance, I was eleven and terrified. I had a song in my heart and butterflies in my stomach and throat! I had agreed to sing for a church social and I was regretting it. I wanted to run. If it hadn't been for my parents coaxing and encouragement, I probably never would have developed a love for performing. It started that night, and led to a lifetime (up to now) of singing, songwriting, recording and performing.
The one thing I had to get past was the fear.
If the butterflies have got you down, here are some tips that might help - and no - I never did have any luck with trying to picture people in their underwear!
1. Know you're material backwards and forwards. (Ok, not literally) When you've practiced the words over and over, you can concentrate more on your technique and stage presence. *Don't let the words trip you up. People memorize differently. It helped me to actually write out the words as part of memorization. Typing them into a computer document sometimes helps too. There are songs I listened to over and over, but wasn't able to memorize until I actually sang them myself. Find your best memorization tools and use them. With all of the Karaoke songs available, a home Karaoke machine can really help in the lyric memorization process. It takes a lot of the fear out of performing when you are confident with your lyrics.
*I DID muff the lyrics in the Marilyn video, "Square shaped or pear shaped" should be, "Square cut or pear shaped." If the unthinkable happens - and you flub the words - remember the golden rule of show biz: The Show Must Go On! Wing it, baby! It's not the end of the world. (Unless you're a contestant on American Idol)
2. Be yourself. Ok, that's funny. I have a video of me doing a Marilyn Monroe tribute. But most performers aren't trying to impersonate a celebrity. The Marilyn thing is just something I did once in awhile for fun. It is important to find your own style. I loved Olivia Newton-John and listened to her a lot. In my early days of singing, I started to sound a lot like her. That can be of use, when you are learning. But the world doesn't need another Olivia Newton-John, or whoever your favorite singer is. Find your own style (Unless your job IS impersonation).
Fun Digression: I have to mention here, that in 1989 I actually did get to meet ONJ. She was amazingly sweet and humble. I told her that she inspired me so much with my singing career. I expected her to say something celebrity-ish, like "Thank you so much." Instead, she sincerely asked how my career was going. I was surprised by her kindness and a little discombobulated, not knowing quite how to answer. I just smiled and said, "Fine." So actually, the world would be wonderfully blessed to have many more people like Olivia Newton-John. I took to heart her humble sweet spirit, and promised myself to always try to emulate that.
Have I totally undone what I said about being yourself? LOL The point is: You can learn wonderful things from professional performers, but the best thing they can teach you is the importance of uniqueness. There. I think I'm back on track now!
3. Know the notes before you try to improvise. Learn the tune of the song as it was written before you start "changing it up." Once you know the original tune very well, you can spice it up with your own ideas and style.
4. Connect with the audience by pretending you ARE an audience member. What kind of things do you love about your favorite performers? You can learn from them, without copying them. If you're really nervous, the audience will be nervous for you - or annoyed - or bored. When you're having fun, the audience senses it. Have fun and the audience will have fun too!
Good Luck! Next time I'll have some recording tips for you. Now go out there and SHINE!
Marilyn Monroe Tribute
Original Song/Written & Sung by Heaven Leigh/Faith in You CD
Faith in You CD Heaven Leigh
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Embraceable You CD HeavenLeighJazz - Heaven Leigh & Jasmine
- HeavenLeighJazz | Embraceable You | CD Baby
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Nina's Story: The Crimson Flowers by Heaven Leigh
- Amazon.com: Nina's Story: The Crimson Flowers (9781461078784): Heaven Leigh: Books
Amazon.com: Nina's Story: The Crimson Flowers (9781461078784): Heaven Leigh: Books