The greatest pinnacle that a singer can achieve is probably to hold a live concert, preferably at some prestigious place. Live concerts can be nerve-wracking. Imagine singing to a whole crowd of people when you used to just coop yourself up in a tiny studio singing to a microphone and an audience of gruff music producers. Then again, I suppose every singer’s dream nowadays is indeed to step up onto the big stage and show his skills to the world. It’s hard to imagine a shy, soft-spoken singer who only wanted to sing for entertainment but could not bear crowds, not in this age of self-importance.
That said, live performances are like public speaking, perhaps even more than that. You dress in highly uncomfortable clothes on a burning hot platform, have heavy, itchy makeup all over your face, and sometimes you’ve even got to perform acrobatic stunts if you’re famous enough. People can be quite critical of live singers, insisting that they have to sing like their original MP3 versions, but the acoustics are way different and more importantly, back when the person was recording his album, he probably had not sung every single song in succession in a span of 3 hours, not to mention screaming at the audience to cheer — if you’re talking about rock concerts.
Singers probably have to do lots of preparation before their show. They have to drink herbal tea and refrain from any spicy, deep-fried or icy cold food. They have to sleep early because they’ll have to stay up all night. I don’t know what they can do to avoid going deaf, though, which I guess is an inevitable circumstance after a concert. No doubt, the speakers will be turned away from the stage, but the amount of fan cheering can sometimes exceed a healthy number of decibels. I suppose the earphones they wear can substitute for earplugs too, protecting their ears from the shrill cries of fans.
I hear Rihanna is often criticised for having no singing ability on stage, and that most of the singing was done by her backup vocalists. This is one big problem that singers face, the suspicion that if they sing too well they’re probably lip-synching. It seems the crux is to sing well and on-tune, but also sound more genuine — sound out of breath at the right times, for instance. Then again, thinking back, people like Faye Wong never had any trouble being suspected of lip-synching, even though her voice on stage almost closely mirrors that of CDs. Sometimes one black sheep can really ruin the music industry.
People like concerts for the atmosphere. There is an atmosphere of excitement and ecstasy, and you get to see the celebrities out of the screen — them talking to you, sharing their off-air personalities, and of course the chance to get up close with them, and get their autographs or a handshake! Attending a concert really brings your music to life, and many people profess loving their idols even more after the concerts, so much so that they’re willing to queue up to get tickets.
It’s also a good idea to hop down to pubs or nightclubs where indie bands hang out. You may be able to catch the next rising star, or even buy them a drink.