Behind the Curtain: Unveiling Singers’ Pre-Show Rituals

By April 5, 2024April 8th, 2024No Comments

Behind the Curtain: Unveiling Singers’ Pre-Show Rituals

Every performance we see on stage, whether it’s a stepping stone in a singing career or a display of versatility in music is the culmination of hours of unseen preparation, where artists engage in personal rituals to ready themselves mentally, emotionally, and vocally. This blog post aims to unveil these behind-the-scenes practices, offering a glimpse into the secret world of singers before they step into the limelight.

The Essence of Pre-Show Rituals

Pre-show rituals are as diverse as the artists themselves, encompassing a range of practices from vocal warm-ups to deeply personal, sometimes spiritual activities. These rituals, embodying the versatility in music, serve multiple purposes: they help calm nerves, ensure vocal readiness, and set a focused mindset.

Famous Musicians and Their Rituals

  • Adele – Before her performances, Adele has shared that she engages in sipping honey and lemon tea to soothe her vocal cords, ensuring her powerhouse voice remains in top condition.
  • Beyoncé – Known for her impeccable performances, Beyoncé utilises meditation and rigorous vocal exercises to prepare herself physically and mentally, demonstrating the discipline behind her dynamic stage presence.
  • Lata Mangeshkar – The late legendary Indian playback singer would often pray before her performances, seeking divine blessings to touch the hearts of her audience through her voice.
  • Lady Gaga often engages in a series of vocal exercises and a physical workout, emphasising the importance of both mental and physical readiness before her performances.
  • Ed Sheeran has shared that he spends time alone with his guitar, playing and singing softly to himself, focusing on the feel of the music rather than the technical aspects.
  • A.R. Rahman, renowned for his spiritual approach to music, reportedly meditates and prays before his performances, seeking a deeper connection with the divine that he believes guides his performances.

Let it be known that the practices mentioned are based on widely reported habits and interviews where these artists have shared insights into their pre-show rituals.

These examples showcase how rituals, ranging from practical vocal preparation to spiritual practices, play a crucial role in an artist’s performance, highlighting the secret of singing at its best. Exploring these diverse rituals offers valuable insights for anyone looking to sing better and advance their singing career.

Science Behind Rituals

The Science Behind Rituals delves into how these practices, crucial for those aspiring to sing better, impact performers psychologically and physiologically. Scientific studies suggest rituals can significantly reduce performance anxiety, enhance focus, and foster a sense of control and confidence. This is attributed to the brain’s response to structured, repetitive actions, which can create a calming effect and prime the body for peak performance. Essentially, rituals help in mentally transitioning from everyday stress to the heightened state required for performing, underscoring their importance in achieving optimal onstage presence.

The Psychological and Physical Impact of Rituals

Engaging in pre-show rituals also has a significant psychological effect, offering a sense of stability and control in the highly variable world of live performance. For many artists, understanding these impacts is a key step in learning how to sing better, balancing the physical and emotional demands of their singing career.

Physically, vocal warm-ups and exercises are indispensable for singers to perform at their best. These routines can prevent strain and injury, ensuring the longevity of an artist’s career.

Beyond personal rituals and preparation techniques, gaining insights from those who have mastered the stage can be incredibly enlightening. The Musicians in Conversation (M.I.C) series, led by Ranjith Govind, offers an exclusive look into the diverse world of pre-show rituals practised by singers from various genres. Through intimate conversations with established artists, MIC peels back the curtain on the strategies and experiences that have helped them navigate performance anxiety and step confidently onto the stage. This series is a testament to the power of shared knowledge in fostering a deeper connection with music and enhancing one’s performance skills.

The Power of Preparation: Beyond Rituals 

While the world of performing arts often highlights the unique and sometimes eccentric pre-show rituals of artists, it’s essential to recognize that not all performers follow such practices. For some, the essence of preparation lies in practical, straightforward measures rather than symbolic rituals. Here’s a closer look at basic yet impactful ways artists ensure they’re ready for the spotlight, highlighting that it’s perfectly okay not to have specific rituals as long as one is prepared.

  • Vocal Warm-ups: The Cornerstone of Performance Readiness

Vocalists universally acknowledged the importance of warming up their voices. This can range from simple scales and arpeggios to more complex exercises designed to enhance vocal agility and strength. These warm-ups ensure the vocal cords are flexible and ready, helping to prevent strain or damage during the performance.

  • Instrumental Tune-up: Ensuring Harmony and Precision

For instrumentalists, tuning their instruments is a fundamental pre-show step. This not only ensures the music sounds harmonious but also aligns the performer mentally with their instrument, setting the stage for a flawless execution.

  • Setlist Review: Mapping the Musical Journey

Going over the setlist meticulously allows artists to internalise the flow of the performance. This step is crucial for both solo acts and bands to ensure transitions are smooth and each piece is performed in its optimal order.

  • Hydration and Nutrition: Fueling the Body

Maintaining proper hydration is crucial for vocalists to keep their throats clear and prevent voice fatigue. Similarly, eating a light, energising meal before the show can provide the necessary stamina without weighing down the performer.

  • Mental Preparation: Finding Focus and Calm

Finally, taking a moment to centre oneself mentally is a practice many artists find beneficial. Whether through meditation, a brief period of solitude, or a simple breathing exercise, achieving a state of calm focus helps artists connect more deeply with their performance.

These preparatory steps underscore the notion that while rituals can add a layer of personal significance to the performance process, the core of preparation is about ensuring physical readiness and mental clarity. Whether an artist follows a series of elaborate rituals or adheres to these basic practices, the goal remains the same: to deliver an unforgettable performance that resonates with the audience.

While the performing arts world often shines a spotlight on the unique and sometimes eccentric pre-show rituals of artists, it’s key to recognize that not all performers lean on such practices. For some, the essence of preparation is rooted in practical, straightforward measures rather than symbolic rituals. This is where PaatuClass steps in, an innovative online e-learning platform, dedicated to nurturing aspiring singers. At the heart of PaatuClass is the belief that everyone has a unique voice that can be honed and developed with the right guidance.

PaatuClass Level 2 is where things get exciting for those who have already dipped their toes in the fundamentals of singing with PaatuClass Level 1. Tailored for those who’ve laid the foundational groundwork in Level 1, this course is all about elevating your skills to effortlessly ready yourself for the stage. Ranjith Govind, a seasoned professional with a rich background in various musical genres, guides students through advanced vocal techniques, live performance strategies, and even how to leverage social media as an emerging artist. 

In essence, PaatuClass aligns perfectly with the practical measures of preparation we’ve been talking about. Whether you’re fine-tuning your instrument, hydrating to keep your vocal cords in prime condition, or seeking mental clarity through meditation, adding PaatuClass to your preparation regime can significantly impact your journey towards becoming an unforgettable performer.


Pre-show rituals are a vital aspect of a performer’s life, offering insight into the discipline, spirituality, and dedication behind the magic of a live performance. These practices are not just about vocal readiness; they are about setting the stage for a connection with the audience, making each performance an authentic expression of the artist’s craft and passion.

This exploration into the world behind the curtain reveals the depth of preparation that goes into every note sung on stage, highlighting the blend of the physical, mental, and emotional journey artists undertake to bring their music to life.

Qushay Ramchandani


A copywriter who enjoys learning and researching music from time to time.