Commanding the Stage

To have stage presence, you need to:

1. Be a little cocky. You’re the rockstar, you know it and dammit you are going to strut like the rooster that you are (to borrow a phrase from Mick Jagger). The only way you are going to embarrass yourself is if you don’t act like one.

Nidji – Biarlah, live at the AMI 2008

2. Leave nothing to chance. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.  Do you think the way Teru stands and the rest of the gang’s stage movements are accidental?

Glay – Shutter Speed no theema, live in concert

3. Do/play/sing (or all three!) something that you are damn good at. Leave all experiments at home. On the stage, there is no try.

KT Tunstall – Black Horse and Cherry Tree, live on Jool

4. Three lessons from the next one:

(i) If you want to preface your song with a story, share  your own personal experience so that the audience can connect;

(ii) If the song requires you to hit high notes, make damn sure you can hit those high notes; and

(iii)You don’t have to jump around if you don’t need to. Your “feel” and emotional energy is enough.

The clip below, subtitled, illustrates all the points above.  See how strongly restrained and tightly Sakurai held on to his emotions (up to a point where it almost bubbled to the surface but he reigned it back in);  and how his facial expression changes (happy, sadness, pensive, regret etc) according to the lines of the song. Then, watch the audience reaction.  You don’t have to understand the meaning of the song to get what it means.

Mr Children – Shirushi, live

5. And the last lesson, have fun. You need to like what you do. When you are onstage, your enthusiasm infects the people who are watching you. Showmanship first, skills second. Again, watch the audience. It was not just the people in the front rows that were doing the dance moves, it was the whole freaking stadium.

Ayumi Hamasaki – Trauma, live in concert

… and just one additional one, wearing a pink pleated skirt while playing the guitar is so damn sexy hot coz everyone expects a female guitar player to be in boring jeans and tank top.


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