In the music making process, so much time is invested in the studio, making the beats, vibing sessions, recording and sound mixing. When the song is ready, the energy is then focused on promotions, this could range from radio to digital streaming platforms marketing, to distribution store promotions as can be found on the TuneAfrique store, to social media and other traditional and new media outlets.
"The real test of a musician is live performance. It's one thing to spend a long time learning how to play well in the studio, but to do it in front of people is what keeps me coming back to touring." Neil Peart
The hustle quickly moves to live shows and performances, the music doesn't stay online and in stores, the artistes must step out and put a face to the music, using the opportunity to serenade the audience with her or his voice, accompanied by the mixed sound or live instrumentals. Many a promoter is interested in the performance phase of the artiste's career, people look out for different qualities based off the delivery - stage craft, stage presence, vocal display, charisma, the ability to connect with the audience - the outcome of a performance is either high or low, there is never an in between.
"In a live performance, it's a collaboration with the audience; you ride the ebb and flow of the crowd's energy. On television, you don't have that." Jon Batiste
Recording in the studio is one challenge in itself because you have to put your voice to test and get an output suitable for radio, however it comes with a lot of help, the artistes can do multiple takes till the sound is perfect; also surrounded by a support team, some bits of the song can be edited and enhanced to sound a certain way, it's another whole challenge on stage. On stage, an Artiste has to replicate everything done in the studio in one take, there are no real breaks except the occasional rest in between performances, so a performance must come clean.
"There's something distinct and interesting about a live performance. There's this weird immediacy that's, for me, really invigorating, and it just feels really rewarding." K. Flay
The urgency of delivering on stage makes one to deal with the issue of stage fright, facing an unfamiliar group of people and trying to impress them, getting past the judgement in their gazes - eyes fixed on you, waiting to see if you captivate them or bore them, and then handling the acceptance or dealing with the rejection that follows, the act of performance is the ultimate training that every Artiste needs. Because of the intensity of the emotions that come with performance, it's important to rehearse extensively before getting on stage, this way an Artiste is able to test their ability to bend, and plan to deliver a full on experience moulded by the stage.
"Live performance is everything. First of all, I have terrible stage fright. But beyond that, once the music starts, it's OK." Fantastic Negrito
Different artistes find their place, some stay producing records in the studio and putting out on the market while others focus on being performers, they distinguish themselves by also playing an instrument, a core quality that separates them from the crowd. Instrumentalists are mostly tagged musicians because they read and write music, so they are called composers and many end up also producing music in the studio as well. These set of people already have a performance mindset and are usually familiar with stage performance.
"For some artists the live performance is the chicken before the egg of writing or recording of repertoire. For other artists the writing or recording of repertoire is the chicken before the egg of live performance." Frank Black
Can any artiste really have a thriving career without getting on stage at any point? Pre-covid, pre-lockdown era, where music streaming was not yet a big part of music in Nigeria, it was important to get a live performance show in order to make a substantial financial return on a new release. Many times, a good performance would lead people in the audience to go looking for the artiste and the song on the online digital platforms, helping them discover other music catalogues, this makes live performance a very good and direct source of publicity.
"I love watching live shows from different artists from different stages of their lives. I'm always interested in the mastery of the live performance." Stjepan Hauser
As an Artiste, where do you find you fit? Do you consider yourself a recording Artiste or a performing Artiste? Do you think you should only focus on recording or you should inbibe the stage as part of your personal career development?
Hembadoon is a Singer, Songwriter and Artiste & Label Services Director for Nigeria and Anglophone West Africa with TuneAfrique Distribution. With the team, she is currently on a drive to get as many artists in the inner cities of Nigeria to take advantage of the DIY opportunity available on TuneAfrique.com to monetize their music. Her music "Lady", "Hey Lover", cultural single "Odo Aye" are distributed through TuneAfrique and available on all digital music platforms. FB @hembabubba | IG @hembabubba | T @hembabubba