Ugandan singer Alexander Bagonza a.k.a A Pass shares his pre-stage stage rituals and how they help him to deal with stage fright.

Stage fright, or performance anxiety, is a state of anxiety or fear which occurs when an individual is faced with the requirement of performing in front of an audience.

Even for performers who have lasted the longest in the craft, stage fright is still a thing that can hit you right before you step on the stage at a big event.

A Pass has performed at many events and concerts across the world and has often experienced that anxiety.

Drink a lot of water. Have water even if it’s on stage. Not Waragi!

A Pass

Also Read: Paying presenters to play your music won’t grow our industry – A Pass

While speaking to MBU in an interview, A Pass shared some of the things he does to prepare for a performance and how he overcomes stage fright:

Always Listen To The Songs You’re Going To Perform

I’m always listening to the songs I’m supposed to perform continuously. I make a playlist of every song I’m going to perform and I just listen to it continuously because repetition helps you remember every line. If you don’t repeat this stuff it can be crazy. You may get on stage and forget the lyrics.

Master Your Songs: “Remember Every Line!”

Before you step on stage there is a little nervousness. You’re like, “Will I lose my voice? Will I do too much?” because it’s a big crowd.

You have to remember every single line. Most of my songs are technical so you find that you have to always remember every line.

Because you’re looking at songs like Ccupa ku Ccupa which has like four verses. Just imagine if you’re on verse one and instead of going to verse two you go to verse three.

I Go With My Own Mic

I always make sure I have my mic because I don’t want to start complaining, “Oh, they brought a fake mic.” So I got to the stage with my own mic.

Soundcheck Is A Must!

I make sure I do a sound check. I make sure I do rehearsals whether at home just to go through the songs or with a band, I make sure I don’t skip any rehearsal because it’s important for you to be in sync with the band. You don’t want to be in a predicament.

Be Cool, Composed, And Comfortable

So much is running through your head but at the same time, you have to be cool and composed and know that your mind is capable of remembering all this stuff.

When I stepped on that stage (at Roast and Rhyme 2020), it was beautiful. It showed me a lot. Whenever I look back I’m like “Yes, I’m improving on my stage performance and stage presence.”

That’s one of the parts that has been weak in my music journey because it’s actually not easy to perform on stage. It’s not the easiest thing because you’re thinking about a lot of things. You’re thinking, “Okay I’m going to make this dance move,” but what if people don’t like it?

I lost myself, I said, “Let me be myself, let me just do my thing,” and it’s one of the few shows where I was very composed and comfortable. I felt the love in the audience and I also kept myself composed and that experience was amazing.

Pace Yourself

You need to pace yourself. You don’t want to get on stage and start shouting for two songs and for the next five songs you’ve lost your voice and you can no longer sing. That’s another thing I had to learn.

I talk to other artists like Dexta Daps and other artists and they tell you to just pace yourself because you could sing and go way above the level you should sing at, lose your voice, and you won’t be able to go through the whole performance. That’s one thing artists need to look at a lot.

Drink Water, not Waragi

Drink a lot of water. Have water even if it’s on stage. Not Waragi, and all those other things, people don’t need that. So many people think they need it but they are destroying their voices.

Artists think they need to smoke some weed, they need to drink and get high. It’s not motivation, they just lack confidence yet they should be confident within themselves. You don’t need a drink to be confident.

You might forget your lyrics, something might happen. What if you really go off and you don’t know how and what to do? It becomes a big problem. These things happen. You have to have a clear mind and I think a lot of water and eating well is important for you to go on stage with good energy.

Make Yourself Confident…Dress Well!

You need to look at yourself and make yourself more confident. I put on suits because I love them When I meet people in a nice suit, with a nice perfume, with a nice show, a nice watch, I don’t mismatch. Going to people when you’re a certain way, you feel confident about yourself and artists need to prepare themselves that way.

The Show Must Go On!

I know what it means to be on stage as a young artist. You’re new, you’ve never done it, and there are so many people some of whom don’t know you. They’re not so excited as you think they should be so it’s crazy.

Singing live is like creating music in the studio but on the next level. You have to sing everything and it’s back-to-back song after song. Even if you hear that one of the instruments that excite you the most is not put up well for you to hear it, you have to perform, you have to go on.

Josh Ruby is an Editor with high interest and knowledge in the Ugandan entertainment space, an industry he has been actively part of since 2010. Leads to breaking stories are welcome!

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