5 Things That Make A Great Frontman

What makes a good frontman or frontwoman? Sure, you’ve been practicing and know the parts, you’ve memorized the words and the melody…but how do you captivate an audience? And just what separates a good frontperson from a GREAT frontperson?

1. Leaving (almost) nothing to chance

How are your idols able to effortlessly interact with the crowd, move naturally with the music, and hold everyone’s attention without breaking a sweat? The honest answer is that most of them play the same show night after night for upwards of 3+ weeks. They know the entire flow of the concert like the back of their hand. And even if they didn’t – even if the setlist was wildly different – they have enough experience to know exactly what to do and when to do it. How do you accomplish the same thing when you lack the 15+ years of experience? Simple: plan everything out. Every word you speak, every move you make – plan it ALL out. When you rehearse with your band, play the show. Speak between songs as if you’re addressing the audience. Plan your transitions and your moves. Leave no part of the show to chance.

2. Keep a mental repertoire of banter

The more you play, the more you’ll understand what sort of between-song banter works, and what doesn’t. When my band is out on the road, I’ll typically plan 50% of what I’m going to say, and leave 50% open for inspiration. Some nights – mostly due to the power of gin & tonics – I’ll come up with banter that’s really good. After the show, I’ll add that banter to my repertoire, and replace some older banter with it. That’s how I keep what I say on stage fresh.

3. Connect with the audience – even if you have to fake it

If you’re not used to it, looking at your audience when you sing can be a bit…unnerving. However, no fan wants to see a singer that simply looks at the floor the entire show, so here’s a tip: stare at the top of someone’s head. This avoids the awkwardness of looking someone in the eye, and nearly EVERYONE in the audience will think you’re looking at the person directly behind or directly in front of them. Works like a charm!

4. Always look like you’re having fun

Fans come to your shows to feel emotion, and one of the things that will cement connections with your fans quickly is when the fans feel like the band actually likes each other. That means you should always look like you’re having a good time on stage, and having a good time with your bandmates. Smile, interact with each other, and share a laugh – even with serious music. This “human connection” allows your fans to connect with you on a emotional level.

5. Mistakes will happen – brush them off

One major part of portraying confidence on stage is being unshakable in the face of adversary. Problems will arise during some of your shows – that’s only natural. The one thing you do not want to do is let those problems affect your outward demeanor. You may be panicking inside, but your job is to stay as cool as a cucumber on the outside – crack a joke, make a witty remark, or just laugh it off. No matter what happens, own it, and make it seem like no big deal. This is the difference between a quick blip in an otherwise successful show, and a show-stopping event that gets spread on social media.

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