It’s not easy. Believe it or not, most entertainers suffer from severe stage fright and social anxiety disorders. Look at Babs. Barbra Streisand took a 27 year concert hiatus because of one lyric snafoo at a live concert. She put aside her singing career just because she forgot a few words. So what?
I’m no Barbra Streisand but there is a palpable stress that comes along with live entertainment. People expect perfection. Everytime. I can tell you I am the worst at memorizing lyrics. I make myself sick over it. And you know what? I forget lyrics all the time. I came to accept my imperfections. Sometimes I forget words not because I don’t know them but because I’m so in the moment I totally forget where I am and what comes next. And, then again, sometimes I forget them because I am just a dork and forgot the words. Then my stomach sinks and I think ‘oh crap, oh crap, oh crap’ and then I just pull myself up by the bootstraps and say to myself ‘sing something, silly, SING!’ And everything is ok. And all of that happens in a millisecond.
How does one get over stage fright? Well there is no easy answer and some people (me) will always get sick before a performance. One sure fire way to reduce the stress of performing live is to practice, practice, PRACTICE! The more energy and time you put into your performance the better. During the ‘oh crap’ moments you have more of a chance to climb up out of the hole you just started to dig for yourself. Another way to practice is being quick on your feet. I’m the queen of alternate lyrics. They may not make one bit of sense, and sometimes will be offensive, but they always rhyme and fit into the rhythm of the song. And if you can do it with confidence the audience is none the wiser.
I would say the biggest way to get over stage fright is getting used to people hearing you sing or act or play an instrument or see you dance. If you love it…do it! Our job as entertainers is to make others fall in love with our songs and dances and plays. Just like a chef wants his diners to leave dreaming of the next time they will have that meal again, an entertainer wants his audience to walk away whistling, humming, and smiling from ear to ear. So, if you’ve ever found yourself saying ‘I love to sing but I could never get up on that stage’, come on out to one of our open mic events and give it a shot. What’s the worst that can happen?
“Our fate lies within us. We just have to be brave enough to see it.” ~Merida (Brave)