Updated: Apr 18, 2019
I recently went to one of my mates gigs in Sacramento – a very talented musician and songwriter. He’s got a very loyal following of dedicated fans, people clinging to his every chord and song. When he starts singing he immediately captivates the crowd. He has their full attention. His songs are perfectly crafted stories with powerful and meaningful messages. Then at the end of each song….
The song is over and the flow of well crafted storytelling and songwriting is interrupted with meaningless and interruptive jargon. My friend is “Umming” and “ahhhing” all over his well crafted atmosphere. His improvised casual and pointless chatter between songs boils down to half sentences and clichés like “so how are you all doing tonight?”
He loses the audience’s attention.
Now they are more interested in talking with their friends or grabbing a cocktail at the bar. This happens every 3 and half minutes-yes I timed it out-in the hopes when I tell him, he will learn. The gig by nature is choppy. People engage then disengage, focus and then get distracted.
Singer/Songwriters, you are losing opportunity to connect. You need to address and value your talk between songs.
Your world isn't going to and so don't go into a panic – you are all in good company. Trust me. My best friend went to a John Mayer Concert. She text me after the concert and told me she was disappointed. She said “it was kind of boring.” My best friend said that when he talked between songs “it didn’t even make any sense!” They didn’t even know what he was talking about.
Bottom line: When people know your music already – they come to a gig wanting more.
She felt she had a “relationship” with John. His songs spoke to her. They went to his concert because they wanted more…more closeness, more intimacy, more secrets, more bonding, more of John. She didn’t get that. She left the concert feeling like they had just been on a bad date.
Audiences want to know who you really are and what’s really behind those songs.
Value your talk between songs. You can use it to deepen the story and message of your songs. You can use it to deepen your audience’s experience. You can use it to deepen your relationship with your audience. You don't have to tell them your most deepest secrets-as an artist myself I wouldn't' do that! You need to give them something beyond the music and lyrics they already know.
There’s a colorful place that lives beyond the gig… beyond that meaningless chatter between songs from both you and your audience. You want to paint the Sistine Chapel and bring your audience along for the experience.
It’s called Musician Showmanship Land
This is a land where useless and boring gig choppiness is replaced by the continuous flow of musical theater. This is a land where the Singer/Songwriter has the full attention of their audience- where the audience is engulfed in a more personal, fulfilling relationship with the performer as the performer shares a deeper story than their songs can go. It is a land where distraction and disengagement are replaced by a true symbiotic relationship of hearts and souls between the audience and the performer.
Don’t fill the silence with "anything"- just by taking a little more time to think about what you are going to say between songs is much more better. When I first started to do live shows, I spent a lot of time planning out what I was going to say. It came out sounding like a college lecture. It was not effective. It didn't flow.
But everyone loves a good story!
My bestie won’t be going back to a John Mayer concert in the near future. He lost a valuable opportunity to value his “talk in between” and it cost him a die hard fan.
What is it costing you? Think about that and observe your beloved audiences faces next time your finish a song and open your mouth to vomit meaningless banter.
Don’t allow your “gig talk” to be a lost opportunity.
Cross the threshold and write your Musician Showmanship Land
Music Creator Empowerment Coach