Pro Tip for Shy Performers: Create a Split Personality

Posted by Sarah Spencer on Apr 4, 2016 08:00 AM

shutterstock_131881610Image via Shutterstock

It may sound crazy, but hear me out.

Being a performing artist requires incredible amounts of energy. If you’re onstage more often than you’re not, then you know this intimately. You feel like you always have to be on your game. Like you always have to be “on.” Throwing all of your self into your performances is not only physically draining, but if approached from the wrong angle, it has the potential to strain you mentally, as well.

Have you ever said any of these things to yourself?

“Man, I love my fans, but I feel like I have to act a certain way around them and onstage.”

“I love my music… but I don’t always feel like I can be myself when I’m performing.”

You’re not crazy. It’s okay, it happens. Consider trying this: split your personalities.

How to create a distinct onstage personality

Right now, while you’re not performing, take a moment to analyze yourself when you’re onstage. What do you love about performing? What songs are the best received? What kind of person do you feel like when you’re up there, in front of a crowd? Think about the cons as well. What do you not like about yourself? What do you want to do better?

Think about the ultimate version of yourself onstage. Think about the performers you admire. Envision yourself with all those qualities you want to possess, even if you don’t feel like that person is necessarily “you.” Write all these qualities down. Before the next time you take the stage, give yourself a moment to look over them again. Close your eyes, if you can, and picture yourself as that ultimate performer, throwing the best show for you and your fans. Imagine that person as someone separate that you’re channeling.

What’s the point of all this?

When you’re able to separate yourself from your onstage self, you save yourself massive amounts of mental energy.

You don’t have to burden yourself with the responsibility of being exactly what every single person in the room wants you to be. Because, as we all know, if you try to please every single person out there, you’re only going to wind up disappointing yourself. By creating an onstage character version of yourself, you're able to give that burden to him or her.

This has saved my own shows many a time. When I’ve felt like I’ve lost the room, I simply step back outside of myself for a moment, and remember what it feels like to perform as if I'm someone else. Someone better, someone who is more outgoing. Someone who is even funnier! If I allow myself to get into that headspace, it works every time. 


Next up: 4 Ways Even the Shyest Artists Can Develop Their Onstage Persona


Sarah Spencer is a singer/songwriter and blogger, working, living, and playing in Nashville, TN. By day, she's the creative director at boutique creative agency for the music industry. When she's not on the web, she's writing songs, playing shows, and singing as a session vocalist.

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Topics: Performing, Honing Your Craft


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