It’s time to touch your audience with a genuine feeling – says Jeannie Deva
They walk into the venue with the silent hope that your show will make them FEEL something.
Your audience is there to be engaged by you in an emotional experience; one that will carry them to a different universe than the one they brought with them to the show.
If the art, the aesthetic and emotional impact of your performance touches them so that they feel sad, happy, dreamy, exhilarated, inspired – any genuine feeling that you impart to them – your show will be a success and they will be your fans.
Recently an American Idol contestant sang the Elton John song “Circle of Life.” Her voice and musical style might not have been the taste of everyone listening. Her voice was not always “perfect.” BUT, she performed with such honest passion and personality, such believability, that the emotional impact transported all who beheld her. The cheers and standing ovation were long and loud with many teary eyes – including those of the judges – and she made it through to the next round.
Let’s look at a few key elements involved in breathing life into a song and transporting your audience:
1) Make the lyrics your own. If you don’t believe the lyrics and really want to communicate them TO others, no one else will believe you and certainly won’t feel anything from your performance. Establish your own reality within the lyrics so that they are now YOUR words. If you don’t like the song and can’t make those words your own, don’t sing it.
2) Believe in yourself. Don’t be someone else when you sing; you will sacrifice honesty and your connection to your audience. In order to communicate, there must be someone there sending the message and that someone is you.
3) Work out any technical issues. Range difficulties, pitch and rhythmic issues all need to be addressed and resolved so that they don’t distract from your communication. Your voice and the tones, rhythms and range you use help you express and get across your feelings, attitudes and meaning.
4) Move your body and eyes with conviction. Use body movements, facial expressions and your eyes in a way that complements the message of your performance. Staying in the moment and naturally expressing your feelings happens after the three steps above are done fully.
5) Develop Mic Technique. When your vocal volume sporadically booms and fades due to poor mic technique, you can lose your audience. Remember that proximity of the mic to your mouth greatly influences your volume in the venue. In sections of the song where you sing a good deal louder, move the mic slightly to the side of your mouth. Otherwise, to get the best sound, sing with the nose of the mic directed to the front of your mouth about one to one and a half inches from your lips.
An unforgettable performance does not happen by chance or luck. Practicing the above is what achieves it.
My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids
Leah Louise – “I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys (Cover)
Leah – in this video and so with this song, you demonstrate a sense of style and plus you’re young and you have a great look .. But in all honesty, I feel that you have more potential than you’re letting come out. You have a good voice. But it looked like you were thinking about what you were doing instead of fully doing it. Towards the end of the song I felt like you began to feel something about what you were singing and I began to feel it too. As your listener, I want to feel you – I want to feel what you’re singing about. That means you need to sing without any attention on yourself, no considerations and no reservations – BE the song. Use your voice to express the emotions of what you’re singing about. In this profession, that adds up to believability and that is what makes for a memorable performance. This is an emotional song and I truly believe that you have it in you to get that across and make me feel it too.
Tia Rhian – “Kiss Me Again” by Jessica Lea Mayfield (Cover)
Tia – You have a lovely strong and clear voice. This is a great song choice for you. I also like that you accompanied yourself. My advice is, when you perform a song – even though on video – put yourself into the song more. Unfortunately, in this video rendition, I did not see the connection between you and this song. Consider this: If you were saying these words to someone for the first time, if this was something that was really coming from your heart, how would you express it? That includes what comes through your eyes. As you sing, when you look at the camera or wherever and to whomever you direct your eyes, stay inside the song and what you’re expressing. Since singing is communication, when you sing like you mean it, there’s communication and both you and the song and your audience come alive.
Katie Peters – “Billionaire” by Bruno Mars (Cover)
Hey Katie, you were really inside this song. I love how expressive you were with it. You know, at the end of the day, it’s about how well you express what you’re singing about and that’s exactly what you did. I love the rap part. One little point: If you need to move your hair back, do it as part of the expression of the song so that you totally stay in the moment. Every aspect of what you do, from how you move, the looks in your eyes, the expressions on your face, what you do with your hands, everything, should stay within the context and attitude of what you’re singing about. You did a great job doing that overall. Nice job!
Jeannie Deva is a celebrity voice and performance coach, recording studio vocal producer and originator of the world renowned Deva Method®, Complete Voice Technique for Stage and Studio™ now celebrating 37 years of helping singers achieve excellence. Endorsed by producers and engineers of Aerosmith, Bette Midler and many others, Jeannie teaches in her Los Angeles studios as well as… READ MORE.