In this Preshow Rituals segment, the alternative pop artist, BYLAND, reveals what she does before taking the stage. You can check out the rituals below:
I’m about to head out on a run of tour dates with The Bones of J.R. Jones. I’m opening these shows solo, and I’m so excited to be out on the road again. Lately, I’ve been not drinking alcohol until after I perform, and that’s been a very interesting way to truly feel all of my anxiety, but also the true joy of connecting deeply to my music and to others. I am so grateful for this very fulfilling and fun life I am living.
When I show up at a venue, I always greet and briefly get to know the staff, especially the sound person, who holds the fate of our night in their hands. I write out my setlist before I get to the venue, and add their names so I don’t forget to genuinely say thanks. I always bring my own mic and unload/soundcheck as quickly and professionally as I can.
On a recent full-band run of shows from Texas to Seattle, we tried to eat a healthy meal before performing. Soups or Pho were always a go-to. I ate a little before, but then absolutely scarfed down my leftovers immediately post-show. I generally drink at least a Nalgene of water the day before and the day of a show. At the venue, I like warm water with lemon. I have a travel nebulizer from this brand called VocalMist, too, which is great for long car rides to help keep my vocal health up on tour. Skyler Mehal, our guitar player, does push-ups before shows. I like joining him. He’s also my morning yoga mate on tour. Manny Rodriguez, our bass player, always gets dressed nice, like in a wool vest or something, and smells good. We fight over who gets to play next to him. My partner Jake Byland is our Manager and TM/merch/mustache boy. He’s always networking, meeting new people, and dealing with merch and all the “other important shit.” It’s either Nate Yaccino or William Mapp playing drums with us, and they both always have their practice pads out in the green room. If it’s William, he’s probably also getting some last-minute Oreos at a nearby 7-Eleven. We huddle backstage to check in, go over transitions, do some push-ups, and then look each other in the eyeballs while breathing deeply. We set our intention, usually ending with an all-hands-in, “BIG CLT ENERGY” cheer (my little change up from “big dik energy,” you know?)
Before heading out on stage, I need to visualize and imagine the show going the way I want it to, and how I want to feel during and after. In my mind, I work backward from that point to now. “Letting it fly” hasn’t worked well for me in the past. I feel way more comfortable up there when I have a plan. I always change the plan, but it’s important for me to have visualized what then is possible to experience and create.