There’s a difference between a singer with incredible stage presence and one still struggling to find it. Those who make superstar status will always have it. Others, if they can’t figure out how to get it for themselves, will fail.
Stage presence, however, is an elusive thing. It’s something some people say you’re born with. Others realize it’s actually a manufactured thing and, if you know what you’re doing, anyone can have it.
After all, stage presence is nothing more than body language and the belief an artist must have above anything else – that they really are a star.
Because, when they believe it, the audience believes it as well.
That’s why Pink, Celine Dion and Conchita Wurst — they are my ‘case studies’ here when it comes to showing what I mean about stage presence. One has it on stage. Another can’t get to a soundcheck without her body language screaming ‘superstar’, and the third has perfected it on the catwalk.
Pink, stage presence and illusion
Pink is an artist who you might think has never felt nervous up on stage in her life (of course, that’s rubbish as everyone does).
But I realized just how good Pink is at manufacturing stage presence when I watched this video of her performance at the 2010 Grammy Awards. A performance I have to say goes up there with ‘the greats’.
But, it’s not just Pink’s performance itself that’s mesmerizing (and it is one of the most amazing live performances I’ve ever seen — come on, she’s suspended from a flimsy piece of fabric 50 feet in the air, spinning furiously, singing perfectly, and doing acrobatics), it’s also her stage presence.
Stage presence that allows Pink to perform this number in front of half of the music industry’s most influential people, and not look remotely nervous or unsure.
And, of course, that stage presence it’s all ——— illusion.
And the trick? It’s all based on the positive thoughts she has about herself in her head and her initial entrance onto the stage – something every singer with any kind of stage presence has already perfected. An entrance that has the artist not only feeling like she is the most amazing person in the room, but looking that way as well.
That’s because that initial entrance sets you up for everything that follows so……it has to be perfect, and…… you have to look and feel like a superstar while you’re doing it. Something Pink has mastered.
Watch her as she walks down that long blue corridor and out into the main arena. Slow, majestic and incredibly smooth. She’s taking her time and you — well, you’re just going to have to wait. That’s because she’s already got that idea fixed in her head before the spotlight even hits her – she’s kick ass and she knows it.
Then look as she takes off the robe, shrugs it to the floor, steps out of it and….. she’s off – striding down towards the raised platform, head held high, hips moving suggestively, as if she’s in perfect control (and she is), and she’s already telling you “Don’t even bother looking at anyone else – I’m the best thing you’ll ever see here tonight”. And you know what? She’s right.
Body language – it really is that simple.
Celine Dion and ‘diva’
Other superstars, of course, have also perfected this trick. Look at Celine Dion at the beginning of this concert when she’s just doing the soundcheck (and no, I’m not a fan, but I can still spot ‘diva’).
Watch how she walks out of her dressing room and onto the stage.
She’s completely in control, head up, focused, hips swinging and moving at speed, and the aura that’s pouring off her? “Diva. Get out of my way”.
She’s got that idea fixed into her head and, because she believes it, so does everyone else.
And no, of course, she wasn’t always like this. She taught herself how.
Conchita Wurst – Weltstar in the making
Just about my favorite person on the planet is another artist who has perfected her stage presence, at least when it comes to the catwalk, and that’s Conchita Wurst. Watch her at Jean Paul Gaultier’s fashion show in Paris a couple of months back. She’s nervous. I know it. But, unless you know what to look for, and 99 percent of the room does not, she’s already got you fooled.
And that girl? She walks that runway like she’s been doing it her whole life, because she’s got that one word fixed in her head — Weltstar. No wonder everyone in that room believes it.
Conchita, however, being new to the international superstar arena, is still a bit spotty when she’s up on stage singing, as she hasn’t quite got her stage presence sorted out there yet. Sometimes she’s full-on diva when she appears. Other times that superstar-like entrance escapes her and, when it does, her subsequent performance suffers.
Give her a few months more, though, until she believes she is that fabulous person everyone loves and adores, and she’ll fix that idea in her head before she ever comes on stage. And then? Weltstar — not just on the runway but all of the time. No doubt in my mind.