Voice, Breath, Songs

EPISODE #40 How to Sharpen your Live Performance

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Bio of the Artist:

Raphaël Noir has been a singer, song writer, keyboard player, writer and composer but most importantly an arranger and producer. However, he is no stranger to the industry and has been doing music for more than 25 years and now mainly a stage director and artistic consultant for pop and rock projects and is highly influential in the French speaking part of Switzerland.

Raphaël gives us an insider view into the world of music direction and all the key elements that make a live performance really impact your audience. He speaks about the importance of being ‘you’ and how this plays a vital role in being able to produce something authentic that reflects the creative vision of the project as a whole.

In terms of having an artistic edge it really just boils down to your ability as an individual and a project to produce something that stirs your audience leaving them  wanting more. Raphaël speaks about these really simple but essential tips and tricks to keep in mind during this interview.

What he shares on the episode:

“one should gently destroy pop music to recreate it or the opposite.” – Raphaël Noir

It can be hard to focus on elements other than just the music during a live performance. For instance what you should think about as an artist on stage? What are some of the challenges to deliver an authentic proposal? How to connect with members of the group, keeping in mind that they are unique and different individuals? How to connect with and understand your audience? What are the ways you can sharpen your live performance in order that the vision of the group really gets through to the audience?

Raphaël gives us a view of how all of these elements work together and how each element is important in making a live performance have its desired impact on the audience.

What started off as being asked by a friend for some advice on their live performance at a big music festival kick started his profession as a stage director. His main concern was the global aspect and image of live music more than anything. Looking at a live performance not just for the music but in entirety, including the sound of different instruments, the mixing, the attitudes of people on stage, what to say between songs and most importantly what to put on stage to create the atmosphere an artist or a project desires to convey through their performance.

Raphaël speaks about the basic essentials that enable you to capture and seduce your audience and how to work with your weakness and use it to your advantage. When it comes to connecting with the audience he says that, there are no generic solutions, you just have to dwell in the moment and be mindful of the reality of that moment that you cannot avoid.

The key to great overall live sound is to remove elements and make it less complex, this way the audience is able to acknowledge and appreciate all these elements. Recognising also the importance of dynamics between all the members of the project. Emerging musicians that he works with usually expect ready to use recipes to be great on stage, but his focus is to equip them for every situation. He works extensively with each group going over all the details ranging from technicality to specific feedback to the side members of the project.

Raphaël could not have stressed more on being unique and true to the person that you are and to use this to your advantage on stage. He speaks about knowing and connecting with your audience and it most likely will never be the same experience every time you are on stage. As a stage director he reflects the vision of the project back to them thereby empowering them. Giving them a reason to go back and understand where and why it all started. What their singularity, uniqueness, artistic vision as individuals and a group was. And what are those aspects of their music that can change the way people think and behave. As a stage director his primary goal is to facilitate thinking and creativity and at the same time being mindful that it is their show and their vision.

One of the biggest challenges according to Raphaël in being authentic artists is to “Try to forget who you want to be and be yourself” he says that it is important to focus on the person that you are. He talks about how we fail miserably when we try to pretend to be someone else, it is important to escape these icons and idols that we have. On a lighter note considering how punk destroyed progressive rock, he says. Acceptance of who you are and what makes you is important. It is important to use your own keywords and punchlines for instance something as basic as Gangnam Style became a universal hit. Be original keeping in mind the spirit of each “avant-garde”

In terms of having an artistic edge to your live performances it is key to remember that you need to create something that causes a reaction in your audience, something that will stir their spirit. You could spend hours trying to put something very elegant and intellectual together but this might be boring to the audience. Make use of key words and one liners that are unique to your personality to connect with your audience.

In order to make something happen it is important to keep in mind that it is a concoction of vital elements like, your behaviour, your voice and your emotion it could also involve the chorus of a song or a solo that really causes something to happen in your audience. At the same time we might also find the need or impulse to say everything during a song or a project but his only makes it complex and your audience will be overwhelmed with all these concepts.

In closing, a few words on being a stage director, you are allowed to say things to the members of the group and give constructive criticism that the other members might otherwise not be able to say. He says he plays the role of a mediator or music therapist as he would like to call it. Music is just a tool to bring people and allow them to connect with each other in a good way.

In this episode of the creator mindset podcast:

  • Things that musicians and artists need to keep in mind when they are on stage.
  • Ways to create an authentic performance.
  • The key elements that give any performance an artistic dimension.
  • The general dynamic you need to create with the audience

Takeaways from this episode: How to sharpen your live perfomance

  • Be mindful of your specific audience and inspire them.
  • It is important to be original and your unique self on stage. Try and forget the things you want to be and be yourself.
  • Little is always more. Remove elements that are not relevant or unimportant.
  • Keep in mind the artistic and creative vision of the project being aware of each individual as a unique person.

How to connect with the guest: