Is it possible to be just as comfortable on stage as in the practice room? Alyssa Bonagura shares her strategies.
Robin Gibb of the BeeGees says of her: “Alyssa is stunning, original, a future star in the making.”
Singer-songwriter Alyssa Bonagura has just returned from the UK where she and her collaborator Ruby Stewart played packed out shows opening for Rod Stewart on his UK tour.
We asked her how how she finds her best self on stage:
When I’m in my room practicing, I take risks because it’s just me.
When I’m in front of people, I want things to sound just as I hear them in my head – this is where fear enters the picture.
Being afraid of messing up is always something that can inhibit you from being your best self on stage. So here are 3 ways I combat it!
1) Recognize That Adrenaline Is The Flip Side Of Fear
The biggest thing that has held me back at some shows is my fear to sing certain high notes, or my fear to play a certain guitar part = fear of messing up!
One thing that has made a difference to me is considering the importance of adrenaline to make or break for a great performance.
Behind my fear is a rush of adrenaline. However, it is this same adrenaline that gives me energy to perform.
By focusing on my thankfulness for having adrenaline in my life (!) this diverts my mind from my fear and back to my performance.
To channel that energy is the most important part of performing and that is what will help any performer be their best self on stage.
The artists I love probably were scared out of their minds when they got up on stage to play their first shows. They probably still get nervous before a set.
So, that fear is normal – but what made my favorite artists prevail was their ability to channel their energy.
2) Do A Vocal Collaboration
It’s been really great teaming up with my friend Ruby Stewart. We started a band together called The Sisterhood in the last 9 months.
We help each other not be afraid on stage because we can lean on each other up there together. It takes a lot of pressure off.
It’s fun for me to let her take some lead and let myself jam on guitar. I love playing guitar so much but sometimes when I’m singing and playing I don’t take as many risks as when I’m just playing.
So it’s fun for us to let each other do our own thing and help lift each other to the next level on stage musically.
You start to face fears differently as a duo. You feel stronger together as a team then when you’re trying to do something by yourself. So I feel I’m gaining more confidence on stage and off stage.
3) Treat Myself Well On A Gig Day
I try and treat myself like an athlete, especially when I’m on tour. On a normal show day I wake up, go to the gym, run to clear my head and think about my show.
Then I do little things to ensure I’m ready: change my guitar strings and write out my set list.
Before each show I give myself 20 mins to get in the zone and warm up – normally just by singing songs I love!
Then, right before I go on I say a prayer out loud and thank the universe for giving me the opportunity to share my music.
I remember how blessed I am for what I am able to do, and hope my songs reach someone in the audience to help them through something.
With a voice that touches somewhere deep inside, her melodies and lyrics are as haunting as they are beautiful. From the youthful, bouncing ukulele sing along you may have heard on the nationwide 2012 Lowe’s commercial, “I Make My Own Sunshine” to her rockin’, power-pop influenced “Warrior,” and everything in between, Alyssa has polished her own unique musical style.