“Keep it short.”
Last weekend, while roaming the grounds at Rolling Loud—a hip-hop fan’s wonderland despite heavy crowds and the usual exhaustion that comes standard with any festival—I was able to link up with Hot 97 host and NYC personality Peter Rosenberg.
We talked at length about a variety of subjects, none more interesting than his advice for any up-and-coming artist in regards to performing live:
“Keep it short. That’s literally the number one thing I tell everyone when I’m hosting is, whatever your set is, cut it down. Your goal should always be to have people—[especially] with a new artist—leaving like, ‘who is that? I want to hear more from that guy.’ If people don’t know you that well, and you don’t have a bevy of hits… they are going to be sort of waiting for it to end. You know, particularly if you are an opener, or you’re on a stage with a lot of other people. You should be the act that ended it with people being like, 'I want more,' not the person that ended it with people being like, 'oh my gosh when is this going to end.' So, get your ego out of the way and cut your set down.”
Peter's right on the money. As it relates to publishing, his commentary echoes the same advice we tell our writers all the time. Say more—and do more—with less. This is especially necessary advice for 2017 when attention spans are nonexistent, competition is at an all-time high, and most people are under the impression that more equals better (thanks, Zaytoven).
“If I could tell everyone who’s not a star to keep it to 15 minutes, I think you’d see a lot of people growing and having better shows quicker,” added Rosenberg.
In review: cut your performance down to only your very best material, practice the hell out of that material, and give that material everything you’ve got onstage. And at no point should you still be performing once your energy is tapped out.
As for any additional advice, Peter says, “A lot of reps and knowing you are the shit” are your only options when dealing with nerves.
“Knowing that even if it doesn’t go great you still think you’re good, that’s basically it. I walk into a situation knowing if this doesn’t go the way I felt it should go, I will still know at the end that I’m good at what I do, and there’ll be another one.”