You are about to live your first tour, or what is the same, to fulfill a dream that you have longed for, for a long time. It is perfectly normal if you feel a little nervous. Few other stressful situations come to mind. As do exciting ones. In front of you is what will undoubtedly be one of the most important experiences of your life and a founding milestone in your career. To help you we have put together 10 tips that will help you to survive.
1. Modulate expectations:
If there is a lesson that we have learned while crossing an ocean of monotonous and boring New Year’s Eves, it is that expectations are never good companions. The higher they are, the more difficult it will be to accept reality without falling into disappointment and self-scourging.
Your first tour is a very important moment in both your professional and personal life. It will undoubtedly be an experience that you will always remember. Therefore, it is vital that you set realistic goals. Goals that excite you and that challenge you, yes, but at the same time are feasible.
2. Plan, plan, plan:
Don’t be fooled, even the most famous rock stars have an agenda tailored to the millimeter. However, our advice goes a bit further. It is not about organizing your time in such a way that you can act in the maximum possible places, but that you do it in the best possible way.
Whenever you can, try not to run from one place to another. Accumulating plane trips, jet lags, and weather changes is probably one of the worst ideas you can have. Like any hangover, when you are young you may tolerate it well, but when the years begin to weigh you down you will notice the dent it has left on your body. So take your time between travel and performances: rest, go sightseeing, meet up with people. It may not seem important but we assure you it is.
3. Explore the performance space:
It doesn’t matter if it’s a room the size of your grandmother’s closet or if it’s a large stadium; Exploring the space will help you feel comfortable, confident and relaxed when the time comes to act. Remember that knowledge is power.
We know that sound and lighting tests are not the best plan in the world. Especially after a twelve hour drive and a sleepless night. But even if you’re good at making excuses, don’t avoid them. Because above all you must be professional and because it is convenient for you to know who is going to be in charge. You don’t want to not get along with the person in charge of making you look good during your performance, right?
4. Be part of the team:
It doesn’t matter if you are a DJ, singer-songwriter or have a band: you are not alone. And we do not say it from a metaphysical angle that speaks of humanity as a twinned collective. You are not because you will work with managers, booking agents, promoters, sound and lighting engineers, drivers, pipes, makeup artists, hairdressers, other musicians and a very long etcetera.
Be part of the team, join in, encourage everyone to do it, give priority to collective dynamics and make everyone feel that they are part of your first tour.
5. Listen to advice:
There will surely be people on your team who have much more experience than you. Don’t act like an insecure teenager – ask for and listen to their advice.
We live in a time in which individualism prevails with a permanent struggle to see who has the strongest and most overwhelming personality. Having your own voice is important, but so is knowing how to listen, rethink decisions and being able to pack everything up when needed.
6. Know the public:
The people who party at night are not necessarily the ones who go to festivals, nor are they the ones who close the afters. And as you’ve probably already realized, each audience has its demands and needs.
Researching a little about the idiosyncrasies of the places you are going to visit during your first tour will allow you to get to know the public more. You will find out what they like and in this way you can offer them an appropriate performance. Plus, they’ll notice, appreciate your effort, and feel like you care about them.
7. Prioritize your mental health:
No, this is not the latest trend. In fact, mental health is one of the topics that most concerns artists in the music and entertainment industry. More and more people are raising their voices and pointing out that the current model has an unbearable stress load in the long term.
Go ahead. Take control and learn tools that allow you to handle situations of great stress, pressure and nervousness. Do not hesitate to give yourself spaces for yourself and times for introspection. Be aware of what you need at all times and ask for help. If you want your career to be extensive, prioritize your mental health.
8. Have a solid group around you:
We are talking about that group of people who are your refuge. Those who accompany you in the good and also in the bad and who are able to tell you that perhaps you are flying too high and have lost perspective.
And who is part of that group? Whoever you want. Your family, your friends, your neighbor, it’s up to you.
9. Live in the present moment:
When you are immersed in the maelstrom, it is easy to lose sight of the present moment. Get away and appreciate what is happening. Be aware that every moment of your first tour, and all the ones that follow, is a unique and unrepeatable experience. And give it the value it deserves.
10. Learn from mistakes:
We are sorry to be the ones who give you this news but yes, there will be things that go wrong, it is inevitable. Pretending and craving the opposite is on one hand illusory and on the other an inexhaustible source of disappointment. Avoid it at all costs. How? Accepting the existence of mistakes and above all, and more importantly, learning from them.
We know that this is easier said than done and that we are one sentence away from looking like a catalog of unbearably good-natured mugs. But experience has taught us that wallowing in failure is not a good option and blaming others is not a good option either. Adopt a self-critical stance that allows you to improve, but also see all the good that will have happened. Because yes, there will be many things that go well.
Pic © Daniele Faieta