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Musician Expert Advice: How Performance Calamities Can Help You Shine

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Musician Expert Advice: How Performance Calamities Can Help You Shine

by Teri Danz

How Performance Calamities Can Help A Musician Shine

How performance calamities can help a Musician shine

Every performer faces challenges, but it is how you deal with them that make the difference. From an audience perspective, performing can look easy when you’re skilled at it. What they don’t see is what every performer knows, and that is, it’s not. It takes practice, patience, training and experience to “look” like it is effortless (or for it to truly “be” effortless). Plus, a great performer develops a “can do” professional attitude to make the best of any situation and make it work in the moment.

Here are some tips that will help you make some sweet “lemonade” from any sour occurrence during a performance.

  1. Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is contagious. Many performers and bands have a difficult

time (and consequently a bad attitude) if the venue isn’t full, the sound isn’t great, etc. Your audience, no matter how big or small (even if it’s just the bar staff), wants to be engaged and like you. Pretend you’re in a huge arena (it’s good practice) and give them a reason to root for you.

  1. If you’re the front person/lead singer, you set the tone. The front person’s main job is to engage the audience (unless you’re Oasis’ Liam Gallagher—but that’s another story), communicate the song and command the stage. Of course, there are many more tasks (like sing well or dance!), but the band takes its cues from the lead singer in terms of energy and handling situations that arise. Hint: Don’t ever criticize or admonish your audience or audience members. This can go south quickly. It is better to ask someone ahead of time, like the club or a manager, to handle rude behavior or loud talking, etc.
  1. Be in the moment. Remember that music, in general, and singing, in particular, are “right now” propositions. Being present in the moment is key to making “lemonade” from challenging, difficult and embarrassing situations.
  1. Not perfect, but genuine and real. Audiences want to see you—not you as “perfect”—but you as an artist they can relate to. How you get to a moving performance is by letting go of having to be great and perfect. This means that your training, technique and experience holds you through it and allows you to take your performance to the highest level.
  1. Stay in the song. The song is your emotional context—especially for singers. If you are truly in the song, that is your focus. Interruptions, technical difficulties, band difficulties, audience activities (coming in—going out) handled well are a passing thing. Handled badly, it only makes things worse. You are there to give your best performance, and the key to that is in the song. It is in that context only that the artist truly shines.
  1. Transform the moment. I saw U2 perform at the Oakland Coliseum back during their Joshua Tree tour, and I was sitting way in the back. I remember something happened to The Edge’s guitar, but Bono and the band never stopped. In fact, Bono engaged the audience by asking them to sing with him. The entire place rang with their voices. So huge, in fact, it became an experience (not just a performance). By accepting what happened and responding by embracing the audience, Bono and the band created something magical. In that moment, I knew I wanted to do that—move people through music.
  1. Embrace the audience as your friend. Talk in-between songs and introduce yourself to them. Be open and share your experience. If a mishap occurs—you trip or knock something over on stage, your guitarist breaks a string, etc.—it’s okay to motion or talk to the audience, crack a joke and so on. The audience is not your enemy.
  1. Go with the flow. This means take the whole experience as it comes. Here’s an example. My band once played a club that was having major technical difficulties as we arrived. We, and all the other acts, were delayed, having to wait for them to get it working and hope that the audience would wait, too. When we finally started setting up, our bassist told me that he needed to leave due to another gig. Talk about a curve ball! Playing without a bass player is not what I had envisioned and had no clue how to handle. I could have fought with him, insisted he stay or refused to pay him—but I didn’t. I thought, “Okay, if that’s the way we need to perform, so be it; we’ll make it work!” I offered to pay him and let him go. Remarkably, he decided to stay, and the set went great. Lemonade!
  1. Be professional and respectful. A professional attitude can make the difference between a huge scene and a small adjustment.  It’s okay to stand your ground on some things, if it makes a difference in your performance, but make sure you are calm and professional.
  1. See performing as an adventure. Performing is a choice and a gift. It always changes. With challenges come big rewards, if you can meet them with an open attitude. For inspiration, think of Prince’s performance in the pouring rain at the Super Bowl. He defied the “lemons,” rose to the occasion, and gave the performance of his life!

[Permission Reprint by Music Connection magazine]

TERI DANZ, Ed.M., is “America’s Vocal Coach” and a club hit recording artist. She specializes in pop vocal technique, performance coaching and vocal producing; with a focus on vocal resonance and technique, range and presentation. Named one of the Top Vocal Coaches in Backstage magazine (6-25-15), Danz was also a Backstage 2014 Reader’s Choice Finalist. Her writings include the book, Vocal Essentials For The Pop Singer: Take Your Singing from Good to Great (Hal Leonard Inc.), and articles for Electronic Musician,Music Connection, EQ, Roland and Boss Users Group Magazines, Guitar Player and many more. Danz also publishes The Singer’s Newsletter (free to subscribers) with monthly tips and sponsors, Casio, Sennheiser and The Modern Vocalist World. An accom- plished singer/songwriter, her act has PRO Endorsements by Sennheiser and Graph Tech. See teridanz.com.

For more information on the 12th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to: http://www.inacoustic.com

 

 

 

 

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Size does NOT matter: The REAL secret of great musicianship with Meghan Trainor

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by Kate Beaudoin & Jessica Brandon

Meghan Trainor, singer-songwriter

Meghan Trainor, singer-songwriter

How did Meghan Trainor do it? It’s been a year since pop singer Meghan Trainor hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts with, “All About That Bass.” Within the year of the video’s release, it racked up an impressive 1 Billion views on YouTube. Before long, the single hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed for nine weeks (also hit #1 in 58 different countries) and helped Trainor’s debut album, Title, debut No.1 on the Billboard 200 charts. The media has written that Trainor came from nowhere, but did you know she was discovered in IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) in 2009 and won Best Female Artist with an acoustic song “Waterfalls”? And she became one of the most-talked-about artists of the year. And she did it all on the mantel of empowerment — at least, that’s what she’d have you believe.

 

“All About That Bass” was so successful in large part due to the idea that it was the new feminist anthem; after all, 2014 was the year of the booty and empowerment was in. But to those who read between the lines of Trainor’s clever marketing ploy, it’s clear as day that “All About That Bass” is as far from a feminist anthem as they come. Trainor’s problematic stance extends far beyond that single. By simultaneously claiming a feminist mantle and advocating an anti-feminist agenda, Trainor has become a threat to all the gains that pop music has made in feminism recently.

What the lyrics are really saying. The messages in Trainor’s songs are often ostensibly about encouraging healthy self-confidence. “I hope [‘All About That Bass’] helps girls love themselves more, because they’re adorable. Women too,” Trainor told Glamour. The issue, however, is that those supposedly empowering lyrics encourage impressionable girls to be happy with themselves only when men deem them acceptable. People criticized “All About That Bass” for its skinny-shaming, but even more concerning is that Trainor claims your worth comes from what men think of you.

“Boys like a little more booty to hold at night,” Trainor sings, explaining why it’s OK not to be a “skinny bitch.” It’s OK not to be a “skinny bitch,” but only because some boys prefer you that way.

The crown jewel of Trainor’s anti-feminism is easily “Dear Future Husband.” When the video for “Dear Future Husband” hit YouTube in March, many rightly claimed that her message was sexist. Trainor’s lyrics advocate outdated gender roles (“Cause if you’ll treat me right / I’ll be the perfect wife / Buying groceries”), seeking self-worth based on men’s opinions (“If you wanna get that special lovin’ / Tell me I’m beautiful each and every night”) and, of course, confirming the idea that all women are crazy, emotional creatures (“You gotta know how to treat me like a lady / Even when I’m acting crazy”). But those who defended Trainor claimed that it was just a song and shouldn’t be taken so seriously.

“I don’t believe I was [being sexist],” she told MTV. “I think I was just writing my song to my future husband out there, wherever he is. He’s chilling right now, taking a minute getting ready for me; it’s going to be great.”

He’s getting ready — doing crunches and 200 pound dead lifts so he’s ready to be strong enough to impress Trainor!

 

For more information on the 12th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to: http://www.inacoustic.com

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7 Ways to Improve Your Live Performances

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7 Ways to Improve Your Live Performances

by Bruce Wawrzyniak

IAMA Winners Downhill Bluegrass Band  performing live on stage

IAMA Winners Downhill Bluegrass Band performing live on stage

Booking the shows, playing the shows, promoting your live dates, keeping up your website and social media, and writing and rehearsing. These are all a regular part of the schedule that a singer/songwriter keeps. But where in there is time left – or where in there are you making time – to evaluate the end product?

You’ve got the songs written, and certainly those are the key. Not only because without songs to sing you’d be on stage in front of mic like a stand-up comedian, but, because you can be real good at booking yourself, but if the songs don’t move anyone, no one is going to attend all those shows you so successfully scheduled yourself for.

Here are some tips on making sure that once you step into the spotlight, the people stay – and listen.

  1. Arrange to have a couple of your live shows filmed. Yes, it’s great content for YouTube and/or your website, but more importantly, this is for your own internal review. You know how you sound on-stage, but do you know how you look? This doesn’t have to be a huge production or a new line item in your music budget. Even if you just put a camera on a tripod and leave it there, get some footage you can watch. I’m not a big advocate for video off of a smartphone, but to just have something for your own study, that will even suffice so you can see what the audience members are seeing.
  2. Don’t do your entire show sitting down. Singer/songwriters face enough stereotypes (see the aforementioned stand-up comedians). Don’t add to it by sitting on a stool for two whole hours. (Dare I say don’t even bring a stool at all?!) Stand up, move around, and give the audience a reason to not nod off or look down into their phones. If you don’t look interested, why would they want to give you their undivided attention?
  3. Be very strategic about your set list. I’m amazed at people who tell me, “I don’t do a set list. I just play what I feel in the moment.” And thus they play four ballads in a row and start losing audience members to sadness or disinterest or fatigue. Mix up the ballads and the mid-tempo and the up-tempo songs. Plus, during the booking process, ensure that you can play all originals. If they want a mix of cover songs, have a good combination that will keep people interested when you start playing a song of yours that you want them to know.
  4. Be a good storyteller. There’s a huge difference between saying, “Here’s a song I wrote about my first car,” and painting a picture of what the make and model was along with the color, any defects, the reason it had meaning to you, and why it made enough of an impression on you to actually write a song about it. Imagine going to a songwriters festival and just playing your songs without any explanation or setup. The stories behind them would be noticeable by their absence.
  5. You don’t know what the audience members are each going through, good or bad. Hopefully you are playing shows where they’re paying to see you. That in itself should be a big reminder that they’ve made a conscious choice to hear you add to their celebration or help them with their current plight. There should be no cruise control setting in your act. Play every time like it’s your first show and your last show.
  6. Pick one table or audience section to play to and draw them in. Then move on to the next table or section. And so on. Don’t play just to the person or people right in the front. The guy at the back deserves to hear you just as much and he could very well end up being that “you never know who might be in the crowd” person.
  7. The devil is in the details, as they say. Practice good mic technique. Befriend the sound tech. Have your guitar in tune so you’re not adjusting on the fly during your very first song. Don’t close your eyes the whole time you’re singing. These are all a part of the equation that add up to a live performance you can be proud of at the end of the night.

As they say, wash, rinse, repeat. Use the above as a checklist and/or create a Live Show checklist so that you are ready each time you take the stage, and leave the audience members applauding and wondering when and where they can see you perform next.

————-

Bruce Wawrzyniak is the president of Tampa, Florida-based Now Hear This, Inc., which specializes in management, promotion, and booking for musicians. He is the host of the weekly show, “Now Hear This Entertainment,” which has gotten listeners in 80-plus countries around the world. He writes a weekly blog at www.NowHearThis.biz and is the author of “Bruce’s Bonus Book: A Collection of Tips for Up-And-Coming Entertainers.” He is a regular attendee of songwriters festivals and served as a speaker at a Young Songwriters Workshop in Nashville. Look for him as a panelist at a major music conference in the southeast later this year.

For more information on the 12th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to:

http://www.inacoustic.com

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IAMA Winner Nominated for 2 Grammys, Breaks Multiple Records

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IAMA Winner Meghan Trainor receives 2 Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year

Meghan Trainor receives 2 Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

 

IAMA is extremely proud to announce that our winner Meghan Trainor has just been nominated for Record of the year and Song of the Year at the prestigious Grammy Awards. Meghan Trainor hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts for the 9 weeks, making it the biggest hit of the year by a female artist. She has beaten the biggest names in music today: Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, etc. Also, she is also #13 with a bullet on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts this week (at press time) with “Lips Are Movin'”. She was nominated for Best New Artist on American Music Awards. This is an unbelievable success for such a young music artist.

 

HER BEGINNINGS & STRUGGLES

Most music industry people laughed when Meghan entered and won Best Female Artist in 2010. But, when she hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, heard her Multi-Platinum selling song on the radio, they were left completely stunned and speechless. The entrants of IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) were surprised and even angry when a 16 year old girl won 4 years ago, completely unaware of the incredible success she was going to achieve.

Meghan Trainor has continued to shock the entrants, winners, judges of IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) and now the music world.

 

TOP OF THE CHARTS, BREAKS RECORDS

Her song “All About The Bass” has sold over 5 million copies and reached #1 in 25 different countries. The video has garnered over 300 million views on YouTube (at press time). From June 2014 when she released “All About That Bass”, in a span of 4 short months, she has gone from obscurity to  superstardom within in short time. With her debut single staying #1 for 9 weeks, it is also the second biggest debut single of all time by a debut artist. The biggest debut is Debbie Boone’s “You Light Up My Life” which stayed at #1 for 10 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts. However, Meghan, at 20 years old, is the youngest most successful debut artist in history with most weeks at #1 for a debut single. This is because Debbie Boone was 21 years old when she hit #1 in 1977.

 

MOST WEEKS AT #1 For A PERFORMANCE COMPETITION WINNER

With Meghan’s debut hit staying at #1 for 9 weeks,  this officially becomes the most successful hit single in history for any music performance competition winner. Meghan’s debut single stayed longer at #1 than any American Idol, The Voice, X-Factor winner’s debut single. Yes, it stayed longer at #1 than any debut single by Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia, Taylor Hicks or Clay Aiken.

ABOUT IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards)

IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) promotes the art and artistry of acoustic music performance and artistry. In it’s 11 year, IAMA has a proven track record of winners going on to hit the Billboard Charts. 2nd Annual IAMA winner Zane Williams’s winning song was recorded by country music star Jason Michael Carroll, that song hit #14 on Billboard Country Charts and #99 on Billboard Hot 100 Charts. Jeff Gutt, finalist at the 9th Annual IAMA was a runner-up on X-Factor USA. For more information on 11th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to: http://www.inacoustic.com

 

 

 

 

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IAMA Winner Hits #1 on Billboard Hot 100 Charts

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IAMA Winner Hits #1 on Billboard Hot 100 Charts

Meghan Trainor Shocks The World

Meghan Trainor Shocks The World

They laughed when she entered and won. But, when she hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, heard her Multi-Platinum selling song on the radio, they were left completely stunned and speechless. The entrants of IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) were surprised and even angry when a 16 year old girl won 4 years ago, completely unaware of the incredible success she was going to achieve.

Meghan Trainor has stunned the entrants, winners, judges of IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) and now the music world. An incredible success for a debut artist and a music awards entrant. “IAMA is so proud to announce that Meghan Trainor is currently the most successful artist so far in the history of the International Acoustic Music Awards. What her hit song has achieved is so incredible for any music artist, even a superstar like Madonna would love to have”, said Jessica Brandon, artist relations of IAMA. IAMA has been around since 2004.

If you have been listening to Top 40 radio, you wouldn’t have missed her song. However, few people know that Meghan Trainor was discovered by IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) and she won Best Female Artist in the 6th Annual IAMA (International Accoustic Music Awards) in 2010 when she was just 16 years old with her songs performed in acoustic format. She is the most successful artist IAMA has to date.

 

BEATING SUPERSTAR TAYLOR SWIFT

Meghan Trainor has been #1 for the past 5 weeks since September 10th. “All About That Bass” debuted at #84 with a meteoric rise to the top. The pop newcomer’s debut hit dethrones superstar Taylor Swift’s song ‘Shake It Off’ after Taylor Swift spent two weeks on top. Also, beating superstars such as Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj is an amazing feat that most music acts dream about. She also beat Iggy Azalea.

Other highlights of Trainor’s Hot 100 coronation: “Bass” is the second debut No. 1 by a lead female artist this year, following Iggy Azalea’s seven-week reign with “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX.

 

INTERNATIONAL HIT & GOING MULTI-PLATINUM

It is now also an international #1 hit, topped the charts in other countries such as Australia, Canada, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand and more. Her album “Title” debuted #15 on the Billboard Album charts. The song has become phenomenally successful selling over 4.2 million copies worldwide at press time (Double Platinum in United States alone). Her music video has over 112 million views at press time.

This is an incredible fairytale story that most music acts dream about: hitting #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts. Hitting #1 on Hot 100 charts is equivalent to climbing to the peak of Mount Everest. However, only less than 1% of all music acts will ever achieve this glory.

“Bass” also brings acclaim to Trainor’s label, Epic. It’s Epic’s first Hot 100 leader since Sean Kingston’s fellow debut hit “Beautiful Girls” in 2007 (which Koch co-promoted with Epic). “Bass” is Epic’s first No. 1 by a woman since Shakira’s own ode to seductive shaking, “Hips Don’t Lie,” in 2006. The last lead female artist on Epic to take a debut hit to the top of the Hot 100? Minnie Riperton, whose soul classic “Lovin’ You” led the April 5, 1975 list. (The late Riperton’s daughter is actress Maya Rudolph.)

Trainor additionally makes her home state proud, joining other Massachusetts-born acts that have led the Hot 100, including Donna Summer, Bobby Brown, Aerosmith, Extreme and New Kids on the Block. (The latter group reigned 25 years ago this week with “Hangin’ Tough.”)

She has written two songs for Rascal Flatts’ Rewind album with Jesse Fraser and Shay Mooney. She has been performing her hits song “live” on most national TV shows such as “The Today Show”, “Tonight Show”, “Ellen DeGeneres Show” and more.

 

WITH JOHN LEGEND

Meghan Trainor is one in-demand artist at the moment, which isn’t surprising since her hit “All About That Bass” is sitting pretty at #1 on top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Meghan Trainor is‘Freaking Out’ because she Has John Legend On Her Album.

From Nantucket, Massachusetts, She wrote “All About That Bass” this year with hit Grammy Award-nominated songwriter and producer Kevin Kadish. Her publishing company told her that many artists might be interested in recording the song. Music mogul L.A. Reid heard Trainor’s demo of the song and signed her to Epic Records, where she was able to release the song as a solo artist.

Berklee College of Music trained Kevin Kadish has written and produced for the biggest names in today’s pop music such as: Jason Mraz, Miley Cyrus, Michelle Branch, O.A.R. and many more. Trainor is also a successful songwriter and has had songwriting cuts with Rascal Flatts, Sabrina Carpenter and Macy Kate.

 

ABOUT IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards)

IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) promotes the art and artistry of acoustic music performance and artistry. In it’s 11 year, IAMA has a proven track record of winners going on to hit the Billboard Charts. 2nd Annual IAMA winner Zane Williams’s winning song was recorded by country music star Jason Michael Carroll, that song hit #14 on Billboard Country Charts and #99 on Billboard Hot 100 Charts. Jeff Gutt, finalist at the 9th Annual IAMA was a runner-up on X-Factor USA. For more information on 11th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to: http://www.inacoustic.com

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