In this Tour Tips segment, the pop artist, Lenka, recommends advice for being a musician on the road. You can check out the tips below:
It goes without saying but Rule #1 is remember which country you're in! We don't want any Spinal Tap moments up on stage. You also need to know how to pronounce the city name, at least with a touch of local flair, but nothing too pretentious. I tried to say Jakarta with a local accent recently and I sounded like a total loon...
Speaking of local flair, knowing a few phrases and a bit about the local culture is always good and definitely worth 5 minutes of your research time. I usually write some phrases in phonetics on my set list if I'm unsure of them. Even just "Hello" and "Thank You". For my next tour in China, I'm expanding this to learn a few harder phrases so I can communicate with my crowd a bit more. Who knows if I'll pronounce my Mandarin correctly, but at least I'm trying. Maybe I'll be up on stage telling the crowd to throw my cat out the window, but hopefully I'll be saying "we're so happy to be here tonight!"
The other good thing about doing your research is you may learn a little about the local culture and cuisine, and this is my favourite part of touring the world. When it comes to mealtimes, my band and I try not to make the easy choice of eating in the hotel, but rather request a local foodie experience from our guides and we end up eating the most delicious food! I'm looking forward to the Shanghai soup dumplings and Sichuan delights of Chengdu.
One last tip for touring Asia, or anywhere foreign for that matter! Don't forget your power adapter! I have an amazing worldwide adapter with ins and outs for all countries and it is my most prized touring possession, along with my kindle, pyjamas and lavender oil.
One more final tip! Try to be grateful. It can be easy to winge and moan when you are stuck at airports in foreign countries (trust me, I do it all the time) but it's important to remember that you're bloody lucky to be out there in the world sharing your music. I'm about to be the first Aussie travelling to China to play shows since the covid lockdown and that feels pretty special to me.