We have all, from time to time, witnessed this scenario at open mics as well as major concerts:
-An artist gets on stage and starts performing, in ONE PLACE, not even working the floor. -Either at that time or a few minutes later, their "crew" comes out in the form of a sea of people surrounding the artist. -Some are getting the crowd involved, others are showing more energy than the artist, and the rest are just … there.
I'm certainly not the only one who thinks this is a major eyesore. With all of these people on stage, the question we begin to ask is, "Who is the artist?"
WHAT'S BAD ABOUT HAVING YOUR CREW ON STAGE?
In case you are wondering why this is an eyesore, put yourself in the shoes of the audience: You're sitting / standing in the crowd. You're watching a group of people crowded in one spot. It sounds like someone's rapping / singing, even if they're performing over their own track (which I will discuss in my next installation). But quite frankly, you can not even tell which person is holding the microphone, let alone performing. So you lose interest and start to focus your attention on another conversation (or what basketball team is playing on TV), because you decided not to waste your time trying to figure out who the artist / group is. This is what your potential fan is more or less thinking without you even realizing it. You usually only get one shot in making a good first impression.
GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!
For some artists, they have the sea of people on stage with them because they're emulating what they see on TV or at their favorite rapper's concert. But for others, it's a lot deeper than that. You never know who may feel insecure being in the spotlight by themselves or suffer from stage fright. They feel more comfortable with the people / supporters being on stage with them to keep from being nervous with all eyes on them. And that is completely understandable. But …….
THIS IS GOING TO HURT YOU IN THE LONG RUN !!!
Your fans did not come to the open mic / showcase / concert to see a bunch of guys / girls that have no reason to be up on stage embarrassing themselves. They came to see YOU! You have to learn how to step out of your comfort zone and grow from there.
PREFERRED STAGE SETUPS THAT ARE PLEASING TO THE EYE
1. The artist by themselves. NOTE: If you're the only performer, you are the only one that should be on stage, which also means that you need to be working the performance with stage presence and energy, which gets the audience involved.
2. The artist + 1 or 2 hype men. Please make sure the energy is equally balanced between you and your hype man. They should not be standing there with you doing nothing, nor should they have more energy than you, making you look bad.
3. The artist + the featured artist (s). Again, you and the features should be the only ones on stage with equal energy being given into your show.
4. The artist + background singers / dancers. This is acceptable as long as their involvement does not clash with your performance.
5. The performing group of artists. DISCLAIMER: If any of the people in the group are not the actual performers, they do not need to be on stage.
And everyone else? Their job is to be the floor support. They belong in the audience, either at the front or scattered through the audience for visual presentation and to get the surrounding individuals involved. This especially helps if a person likes you and wants your music; the supporters can get a CD in their hands and collect e-mails for your newsletter, either while you are performing or in the venue but may be unable to make it to everyone.
IN CLOSING ….
It's not enough to have a hot song in the streets. The determining factor also lies within your ability to connect with the audience through your performance. In the words of Eminem, "You only get one shot." So why not use that shot and present yourself the right way, making a lasting impression on old and new fans that could potentially alter the course of your career for the better?