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Today I interview Grammy Award-winning country singer, Linda Davis, as she talks about what makes the ideal performance…in any musical genre.Linda describes herself as “a wife, a momma, and a grandmomma who just happens to do music for a living.” “I’m blessed that the music that I make has made me a living,” Linda explains, “but my life works
because there’s balance. Linda has led a full musical life, including 8 years of touring with Reba McIntyre and a collaboration with her that led to a Grammy for the song, Does He Love You? However, the biggest reward of that
collaboration, Linda adds, was the relationship she was able to form with Reba. Linda’s eldest daughter is Hillary Scott with Lady Antebellum, and her husband Lang Scott is also an accomplished country singer/performer. Linda is also part of a trio that performs nationwide, singing songs and telling stories of the road and providing up close and personal performances.
Linda believes a successful concert is one by which you give your audience something to take away with them. Most audiences are non-musical though they appreciate music, she explains. Therefore, they are forgiving of little bloopers and are already in awe of you for being onstage. They are pre-dispositioned to love you. So we need to give them our best, Linda adds.
Being real and genuine is the best thing for our audiences, she notes, though you must have a structure and plan. Familiar pieces are important for non-musical audiences as one needs something with which to grab the audience. “You’re teaching and informing the audience – that’s fine – but sometimes they get weary at having to work too hard,” she explains. “Throw them a bone.” Linda also suggests using dialogue in between songs to separate pieces that are similar in style but also to become more relatable to your audience. She suggests letting choir members talk to the audience as well.
To summarize, Linda believes the blueprint for a successful concert is as follows:
1. Meet the audience at their level; know them! Consider quality music of any/all genres for your concerts.
2. Interact with the audience
3. Pace your concert so that it fits the audience
4. Leave your audience with a satisfied feeling and also make sure they have experienced emotions during your concert – happiness, calm, remorse, excitement.
5. Consider your selections carefully but don’t put your ego first. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Throw in some humor.
6. Do a quality job and the audience will continue to come and singers will continue to join your program.
Linda sums up her feelings about performance by reminding us that if we just want to hear the music, we can get the CD. When we come to a venue, we come to experience something we just can’t get from listening only. For the most part, that’s the emotion and the stuff in between the songs. It’s easy to forget about the parts of the show that are before and after the songs but they are ultra-important.
Linda also reminds us that we’re never performing for the same audience so what we offer is always new to them. Something beautiful can be exchanged. “That’s a divine appointment for all of us!” she adds.
When working with choristers, a director also needs to remember that you never know on what day the lightbulb will go on for a certain singer. Always think “this might be the day” that so-and-so opens their heart to the music and you’ll always remember to stay fresh.
Go to www.lindadavis.com for more information about Linda and for her tour dates including locations
for Kenny Rogers’ farewell tour.