In this Preshow Rituals segment, the alternative pop artist, Emily Jackson, reveals what she does before taking the stage.

Emily Jackson

In this Preshow Rituals segment, the alternative pop artist, Emily Jackson, reveals what she does before taking the stage. You can check out the story, after the break.

I’ve come to learn pre-show rituals (and post-show) are some of the most important parts of my shows. I have such a massive surge of adrenaline that usually starts the day before, so I’ve have had to find ways to focus that energy in a positive way. I notice the pre-show jitters manifesting in ways that sometimes reflect in my vocal cords feeling dry (or something like that) so I try my best to keep my schedule clear of any plans the night before so I can stay home, rest my voice and relax. I just got the MyPurmist vocal steamer and it’s been a game-changer for me. I use this for 15 min to a half hour the night before, the morning of, and then again about a half-hour before I go on.
Day of the gig, if we aren’t rehearsing, I’ll have a coffee, steam the chords, and then begin lightly warming up. This usually consists of running through the set with headphones and vocally marking through. I then will dance through some of the set to start warming my body up. My shows are pretty high energy so I do my best to stay loose throughout the day without exerting too much energy. I’ll do this for about an hour or two and then take about an hour to properly warm up my voice.
Before I leave for the venue I’ll have hot water with lemon and raw honey, make sure I have a massive bottle of water on deck, a banana, my vocal steamer, and my throat spray. A vocalist friend recently turned me onto bromelain, so I’ll pop that right before I leave my house on the way to soundcheck. Bromelain is amazing. I won’t go into the benefits here but I will say the first time I ever used it I was playing a gig where I was so exhausted, under-slept, etc. and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to make it through the show. Somehow my voice was able to just persevere and hit notes I am not confident in on my BEST day. I highly recommend taking bromelain before a gig!
Just before soundcheck, I’ll spray a few sprays of my throat spray (the one I use is from Whole Foods – it has echinacea and bee propolis.) 1/2 hour to the gig I’ll steam my vocal cords again, take a slippery elm lozenge, and do some light vocal warm-ups. I’ll usually try and find a place to sit quietly by myself. If there are a lot of people around in the green room I’ll usually put on my headphones and listen to some of the track instrumentals to stay focused and tune everything else out. 10 minutes before I’ll start hopping around to check in with my body and keep the nerves channeled. Last but not least I’ll have a little pow-wow with my bandmates. They are really great at keeping me calm and grounded so I like to be with them just before we go on to express my gratitude towards them and say a little prayer to the gig gods!

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(Photo credit: Jamie Dack)