I was asked on my Youtube channel by a subscriber about how he could be more confident when performing in front of people. I thought it would make a great newsletter subject... so here goes.
Confidence is something anyone can acquire. It just comes with self-knowledge and self- awareness. If you know who you are - good and bad - you can become a confident performer.
I was a very withdrawn, shy kid. Very introverted. If you had known me back then, you would have never figured I was the sort that would end up teaching dozens of people in a seminar class for singing. Public speaking? OMG! Are you kidding me? I would have rather drank bleach than speak in front of people I knew... let alone a room full of strangers.
There's an old showbiz saying "Sincerity - if you can fake that you've got it made". Though confusing, its point is well made. Some of the greatest performers look exactly the same, night after night, show after show. How? Because even if they feel like crap, are hung over, have a cold or are just plain fed up - "the show must go on". They've learned how to "fake it".
Now, you don't want to be a phony, but we're all human and we have our "bad days". If you can set it aside and "put on a happy face" and fake your sincerity well, the audience never knows the difference. I've done shows where I was arguing with a band member five minutes before we went onstage. But we were both professional enough to set it aside, smile and put on a good show for the people who paid money to see us. We continued the argument after the show.
As I found myself becoming the singer in my post high school bands, I realized I had an avenue to become someone else on stage. I became "him" - that guy other people see on stage, not necessarily the guy I am at home with friends and family. Little by little, that confident guy I was on stage crept into who I am offstage.
Back in his "Beatle days" John Lennon used to throw up before their performances he was so nervous. So you're not alone if you get nervous before a show - you're in good company.
Building confidence just takes stepping outside of yourself for a while. Imagine being someone else and you'll find it easier to get through performing in front of people. But make it "somewhat" genuine. Don't be an obvious fake - people can spot a fake right away. Be who you wished you could be - a confident, in your face performer.
Before you know it - you are that person.
This essay was first published November 27, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008.