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How Soon Should You Work on Your Show?

Tom working with singer songwriter

I’ve gotten both kinds of calls — the kind where I’m asked to help an artist with their show 1-2 months in advance of a tour or showcase, and the kind where I’m supposed to be the “fix-it” guy working with someone a few days before a big, important show. So when is the best […]

Why You Should Use a Headset

Tom Jackson

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Your 5 Onstage Tools

“I can’t do that — it’s goofy, cheesy, hokey. And besides, (insert name here) uses one! I’m original. What would my friends and peers say?” That’s the usual response I get when I ask an artist to consider using a headset for one of their songs. Frankly, I don’t care what artist has used a […]

4 Rules to Follow So You are the Opening Act they Remember

Stacy Stone showcase

In 1991, Pearl Jam opened for the Smashing Pumpkins and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In Kim Neely’s Pearl Jam book Five Against One, drummer Dave Abbruzzese said, “We’d play for 30 minutes, and it was like the Smashing Pumpkins had to earn their 30 minutes, and the Peppers had to earn theirs. By the […]

How Your Perspective Effects Your Success (or Your Failure)

The Audience

Looking out into your audience, it’s hard to know why they react the way they do — or why they don’t react at all! The reason it’s hard to know is because you’re facing the wrong direction. You’re not sitting in the seats out front like they are. Perspective is everything. And it’s not just […]

The 7 Requirements of a Great Front Man

Lead Guitar Player in band_courtesy of Studio 34

So you’re the front man (or woman) of the band. It’s time to up your game and really lead your band to success. Oh, and if you’re a soloist or a singer/songwriter, don’t stop reading just because you think this article isn’t for you — when you’re onstage by yourself, you automatically become a front […]

Get Creative Before the Show

Get Creative

Most people think planning their live show will make it less creative or even make it boring. They’re “artists,” after all, and real artists are spontaneous, instinctive, organic, led by the Spirit… you name it. Really, it’s what I call “winging it.” Unfortunately for most musicians, planning and preparation means to: learn the songs in […]

Performers: It’s About Them

Performers Its About Them

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Your Audience: Knowing & Loving Them

For years, people have been asking what (or who) it’s all about. Whether it’s a question of why we go to work, who the best player on the team is, or just generally what life is all about, we want to know what our focus is supposed to be. When it comes to your live […]

Why Knowing Your Audience is Crucial to Planning Your Success

Audience at festival

What are you focused on? I mean with your music. On songwriting? On how well you play your instrument? On booking shows, getting a manager, or handling your social media? Most of you know my main focus is on the live show. That’s because I believe it’s where an artist gets the most satisfaction, fulfills […]

4 Ways to Help Your Audience Listen When Lyrics are Important

Performers sitting on stools

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Your 5 Onstage Tools

The garden hose was stuck on the faucet. (Being the strong guy I am, I guess I’d put it on too tight.) My solution: get out a pliers and start twisting on it with all my might. Result: the hose is still stuck and now it’s getting crimped. My wife, the true handywoman of the […]

You Can Learn Charisma

Dez Dickerson and Prince

It’s 1979 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Newly signed Warner artist Prince had just finished a showcase. Warner had a problem. Prince wasn’t good enough to take out on tour. So what’s a label to do? They sent him into the studio to record a second album. (And that’s a whole-nuther subject which I won’t get into […]