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Would You Want Free Publicity Like This?

I recently was sent a live show review from one of my artists that blew me away. The band is called Nikki’s Wives and based near Toronto.  I’ve talked about them before but this review was one I just HAD to show you, because of its focus on the live performance.

The band had played at a bar in a Midwestern college town. I was struck by the impact their show had on the writer when most critics talk mainly about the music. I’ll focus in on some key points throughout the review…

“A slim woman in high heels, dressed in all black took the stage, almost as if she was claiming it. Behind her, two young men dressed in all white took their places confidently behind the drums and guitar. Immediately they unleashed their most popular track, ‘Lonely Being Cool.'”

She CLAIMED the stage!  Stepped out there with AUTHORITY.  The guys looked CONFIDENT. This is key always…even though you may be nervous, you’ve got to give an air of confidence – more importantly, prepare until you GET confident!

“The music and performers moved as one, almost as if they were extensions of each other. The lead singer, Nikki Whitehead, instantly seduced the crowd with her alluring voice and performance.”

Love this.  The music and performance were connected! This means the visual is really matching what we’re hearing. So important to interpret the song visually and emotionally to enhance what we’re hearing.

“Nikki’s Wives are performers, they know their way around a stage and can easily control a show. Guitarist Dylan Lauzon constantly jumped and skidded across the stage only to throw his guitar behind his back and rush back to the keyboard to add a more electronic groove.”

Performers yes…NOT just musicians.  And they were in control.  Although CONSTANT movement isn’t necessary, I’m guessing this wasn’t a negative thing for the writer. You need to know when NOT to move as well, as to not misdirect the audience’s attention. Dylan has his own style and it works to bring energy to the show.

“The chemistry between the band members was incredibly enjoyable to watch. They were all having a blast together and they made it clear, whether it was Nikki and drummer Nate Baylor having a drum off or Dylan and Nikki performing back-to-back, center stage.”

It’s SO important to interact with each other onstage…people love to see that you get along, you love playing together…they are all about relationships! It’s definitely no fun to see a band or duo, NOT having a good time together. Huge downer.

“The band was unique and certainly one of a kind. They had their own distinct brand that seemed like it would belong in a larger venue. Their inventive style extended to the music as much as it did to their stage presence.”

The fact that the reviewer could see them in a larger venue tells me that just because they were playing a bar, they didn’t ACT like a bar band.  They are putting on the kind of show they want to do in larger venues, and the reviewer felt that! 

Developing your own style is key too. These guys definitely aren’t copy-cat…they’ve discovered who THEY are and are working it.

This band has great songs, no question. But you see how a great show hit this critic between the eyes when he wasn’t expecting it.

This is why we want to teach you guys this stuff…it makes a big difference! End of story.

We’d love to hear your feedback….have you received reviews like this?  Let us know! Or if something isn’t working, let me know and I’ll try to figure out why.

Amy Wolter

As a trained Live Music Producer for Tom Jackson Productions, Amy Wolter brings her years onstage as a lead singer & keyboardist - along with her experience as a producer, arranger, and songwriter - to singers and bands who won’t settle for ‘good enough’. She’s worked with artists at all levels, and genres ranging from Rock to Celtic, empowering them to have confidence and authority onstage, and put on memorable live shows, a few of whom have been on two of the largest US tours in recent history. Some of her clients include Grammy award winners The Band Perry & Lacrae, CMA and ACM –winning country acts, Gloriana & Thompson Square, 2016 The Voice contestant Mary Sarah, CCMA (Canada) winners High Valley, Jess Moskaluke & Chad Brownlee, and Winter Jam Tour veterans Sidewalk Prophets & Love and The Outcome.

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Greenroom Comments

  1. Amy… what advice can you give for a solo singer-songwriter in this regard? How much can you really do to make 1 person with a stand alone guitar seem eventful and interesting? I get a little bored myself listening to even the best singer after a couple songs.

    • There’s a lot you can do Linda and it would take lots of blogs to cover everything, but I’ll hit a few high points for you here. First, make sure you have a variety of tempos in your set – many singer/songwriters have mostly mid tempo songs and it gets old fast! Of course, we talk about mining the moments in your songs, which will alone keep the audience engaged. Tell the story behind some songs that may turn into a touching moment…get them singing along or repeating a line to create a fun moment…these things keep people engaged. But you also need to change your playing style…from picking to strumming, to a muted scratch/rhythm – all to create dynamics and interest within the song. Then visually, make sure you get away from the mic/stand when you’re not singing…do the instrumental break at the far right end of the stage, for example! Use angles at the stand to focus on different parts of the audience, and make direct eye contact. There’s more we can do in a session, once we know your skill level, willingness to try new things, etc., Thanks for the question Linda!

  2. Thank you for sharing this great review! Have been so encouraged by the book I purchased from you guys recently. So much good and useful information. I know our duo could really benefit from one of your sessions so we hope to book with you someday soon.
    We have been together for almost 10 years doing mostly Americana covers and just about 6 of our own songs. Folks seem to love our blend of harmonies most so we try and capitalize on that.
    My question is as a duo that is not married we have struggled with being “not together” yet projecting love and intimacy of what we are doing and expressing the songs, alot of them love ballads. The Civil Wars seemed to be over the top for us in their interaction together, but finding the balance between not communicating just two separate singers on stage has been a struggle. Any suggestions?

    Thank you!

    • Very good question Pamela! Though you don’t need to sing every song to each other, it will look awkward to the audience if you don’t have some sort of interaction and ‘connected-ness’. I worked with a band where the male and female lead singers intentionally weren’t looking at each other or singing together and it was so uncomfortable to watch! I asked the girl what was up and she said there was some misunderstanding in terms of one’s feelings toward the other. I told them they needed to get that sorted out cuz it was VERY obvious to the audience. It’s okay to think in terms of being an actor onstage…talk it through and agree with your duo partner that it’s okay to play the part sometimes during the right songs so that the audience feels the moment. I have some friends in a Fleetwood Mac tribute band who perform the Stevie and Lindsey songs.Even though they are not a couple, they interact as if they were those characters and audiences LOVE it. Hope this helps! Look forward to hearing you guys 🙂

  3. Hi Amy,
    Just watched your video on the review of Nikki’s Wives. I felt the review was well written. It allowed me to have a mental movie of what was happening on stage and then your commentary brought home the why and gave some excellent tips.

    I am not your typical client (or maybe so). I do not have a desire to tour, get a record deal, or even play my original material at a gig.(Although if appropriate I would like to throw a couple in…) I’ll try to be brief and only give you my background as it relates to my question.

    In my 20’s I played around my area (St. Louis) for about 10 years (in the late seventies into the 80’s) as a singer/guitarist in a cover rock band. Got married, kids, mortgage, and a job. Gave up music but stilled played at home and church. Fast forward to 2014 kids grown I started doing a solo acoustic show at coffee houses wineries and bar and grills. Recently, I had a back surgery that will not allow me to return to the type of work I have been doing. I have decided to devote full time to music. (Extremely excited!).

    So, this brings me to my question(s) that me and so many other musicians in my age group are asking…I guess we are all baby boomer come back musicians. But speaking for myself I normally do a 3 to 4 hour solo show and use a combination of backing tracks and just my acoustic guitar and voice covering 70’s and 80’s music which is liked by both older and younger generations it appears. I’ve invested in good sound equipment and practiced till my fingers bleed and my voice is raw. However, now that I am full time I am really aspiring to take that four hour show and captivate the audience which is difficult to do. I have been a fan of Tom Jackson since I was introduced to his program at our church 5 years ago and have been trying to follow the advice of the program by creating moments and rating my songs for my set list. I feel I am falling short and not really sure why.

    If you could point me in the right direction to take me to the next level and or your suggestion on what product would benefit me the most I would greatly appreciate it. I know without seeing what I am doing your at a disadvantage but if you had the time to check out a crude video on my FB page that may help. So anyway keep up the great work you guys are doing and God Bless You.

    Sincerely,
    David Edrington

    • Good to hear from you David – excited you can devote yourself to music full-time! It’s hard to say without seeing you perform but 4 hours by a solo artist OR a band is a long time to keep a crowd engaged! The most immediate way to see what’s not working (long distance) would be a video critique or Skype session. You can find those at this page: http://onstagesuccess.com/booking/ Tom’s book Live Music Method and his video series are amazing and would help you. For many artists though, it takes that outside eye/ear to zone in on what’s not working. Email me at amy@tomjacksonproductions.com and let’s talk!

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