The It Factor.
It’s that intangible quality which makes the difference between super-stars and runners-up. Some lead singers just make crowds want to look at them, and those are the ones who rise to the top.
However, contrary to belief, a lead singer’s stage presence is not just a magical thing that a few have and most do not. While a handful are truly “born with it,” for most people, it’s a skill just like any other! As you learn public presentation and how to carry yourself onstage, that in turn frees you, your artistic self, to express itself more clearly.
So if you’re getting onstage and you’re just not clicking with the audience, here are a few tips to help you refine your stage presence!
Three Ways To Hone Your Stage Presence
I – MOVE!
This is the single most important thing for a lead singer to remember: you (almost) always gotta be doing something. Unless you’re still into Shoegaze, leading a band is about more than just singing – it’s about expressing yourself through your movements as well.
Try out different moves. Watch the greats. Put your own twist on a classic move by your idol. Make a fool of yourself in front of the band, laugh about it, and find the ideas that the fans are going to like!
Either way, don’t just stand there and sing. Move. Do something.
Remember, you’ve got arms and hands and feet. Use ’em! And your face too. Remember, the audience has no way of knowing how pumped you are about the show unless you show them! Body language is a huge factor in establishing rapport with a crowd.
To steal from stage lingo, play to the cheap seats. Make use of your body to express your emotions, and play them bigger than they really are. The folks in back who came in slightly late should still get to see what’s going on too!
“Overacting” just a bit, and making full use of your face and body boost your stage presence dramatically. Or, go full camp. Hey, it worked for KISS and ICP.
III – Involve the Audience
Audiences since the beginning of performance have loved getting in on the show, so why deny them? Talk to your audience. Ask them questions. Get them to sing along parts of your songs, or join in on the cover of an old classic. Invite them to remix the show and upload the results to share.
Audience involvement directly makes people part of your show, and helps make it feel like they had an experience rather than just going to some random act. It builds your stage presence by making the lead singer the facilitator of this connection and shared experience.
Finally – Know When To Step Out of the Spotlight
All the greats back off from time to time, and let their bandmates shine as well. Everyone remembers Freddie Mercury at the front of Queen, but that didn’t stop Brian May from becoming one of the gods of 70s rock guitar right alongside him.
Bands get torn apart by spotlight-hogging, so try to avoid that. Step aside from time to time and let your bandmates find their own audience that adds to your fanbase.
Hone Your Craft
Stage presence is practiced and learned throughout a singer’s career. Keep your eye focused on always connecting with the audience, always helping each member have the best time, and you’ll build fans.
Stagecraft doesn’t come to singers overnight, but you can get better at it with every show!