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Front Singer Stage Banter

I am a new front singer for a dance band (we don't do concerts; rather sing at bars, restaurants, festivals). I have around 100 new songs I am learning, and naturally have to look at an ipad as I sing or I will mess up the lyrics. Yet, as a front singer, I am hearing complaints that I am not interacting enough with the audience. My questions:
1--Any tips on how i can both read lyrics and schmooze to build rapport with the bands followers? Keep in mind, these followers have not warmed up to ME; they are followers of the other two band members, who they knew and followed for many years, when another front singer was with the band. Sometimes, even when I try to greet t hem before or during a break, they will tak to the other musicians but not me. so I really do need very much to make a connection.
2-What kind of stage banter do you suggest? A Joke? personal story? audience interaction?

Thank you!


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    Klaus_TKlaus_T Moderator, 2.0 PRO Posts: 2,416
    @Lina , sounds like a tough position to be in. what seems to come naturally to you? that's what you should be doing. if you are new in the band, it will just take a while. but being yourself is the safest way I think. some interaction with the audience can be done between songs, i.e. when you don't need to read lyrics at the same time. but, you should try to look at the audience during the song as well, they don't want you to be buried in your ipad. maybe start by looking up at the choruses, you will know them better than the verses. and build from there. make statements about the songs, like, why is this meaningful to you. do that for your favorite songs, where it really is the truth. be honest and real (I know, easier said than done). can you be humourous about the tough situation itself: as in, "I know, the old singer knew the lyrics by heart, I don't... but I love the next song because...". if your band knows them, you can be playful with them. they are extended family, treat them as such.
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    highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,359
    For one thing, it will help if you are working from a set list, rather than randomly going from song to song.

    That would allow you to 1) have the lyrics arranged in your iPad in the order you will be singing them. They have footswitches you can use with iPads to advance to the next page. Then you could just either tap and swipe, or better yet, click a foot switch. That would allow you to not be futzing with your ipad so that you could be conversational and the iPad situation become transparent.

    Thank people. Acknowledge them. Interact. Start talking about the next song. Who wrote it, what year, was it a big hit, is it a dance song, a slow dance, that kind of thing. If it's something near and dear to your heart, go on about that. Interact with your stage partners, too. Give them praise and kudos.

    Have fun. Convince yourself that these people in the audience like you and you like them. It's all good. Act as if everything is cool and you are having a great time, because you actually are. Be humble. Be kind. Be energetic. Be happy. Be someone you would enjoy watching and listening to.

    Look up from you iPad as much as you can and look into the audience, or at least just above their heads so that they think you are looking at them.

    Have fun. Fun is contagious if it's genuine.
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    Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,421
    Agree with all the above.
    Feel free to comment on band birthdays/milestones.. even crazy sports stuff, and or funny anecdotes.
    I usually have a few verbal setups for songs that I have honed over time, and sometimes that takes things out on new tangent. You just have to be sensitive enough to catch on to funny waves as they happen.

    The lyrics will sink in over time, especially for choruses. If the crowd starts singing the chorus, point the mic at them to help engage them.
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    LinaLina 2.0 PRO Posts: 77
    Thanks, guys! great ideas...performing this Saturday and hope I can break through the ice. The former singer passed away, so those are hard shoes to fill as it is..Appreciate these tips!
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    doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management Posts: 3,978
    Hi @Lina,

    I am curios what you will tell us after your gig.

    Good luck, mate.

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    LinaLina 2.0 PRO Posts: 77
    Thanks, Doc--will let you know tomorrow!! Just warming up for tonights show, with my favorite audioCD of the series (for warmup purposes)--Vol 2!
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    LinaLina 2.0 PRO Posts: 77
    THANK YOU ALL--the stage banter actually went great! Also, I looked up more from the ipad, on the choruses or bridges, that I was able to memorize, so the crowd was really warming up to me. UNTIL---other things went wrong, causing me to be recovering today from a disastrous gig and making me wonder if I should bow out. I will post this under "bad gig recovery" since it is off the topic of banter. The banter however went really well!!!

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