You’re in a room full of people chattering and drinking. There’s music playing but you aren’t really focused on that, you’re focused on the 5 minute countdown until you go on stage in front of these people you don’t know. The Majority of them are here for the main act, but you have had a handful of people tell you that they saw you somewhere else and they wanted to see you again. This fuels you. This inspires you. This frightens you. What if you aren’t as good? What if your voice cracks and you can’t make them laugh? What if they don’t like the new songs?
This is only a slight inside look into my brain when I’m about to go on stage. Hours before that, I was eating a burger and laughing with the band and my mom. We discuss what songs I’ll get up and sing with them onstage and we talk about how long of a set I have. I am usually feeling fine at this point. My soundchecks are fast so I have time to just explore the venue and set up my merch. I always do it myself because it feels more personal, like I set it up JUST for you guys. When the first few people start to come in I will stand behind my merch and just smile, hoping someone will buy something. Sometimes I’m lucky and I have people come up and buy my cd right from the start, other times I have people asking me who Katie Rose is. In my head I always go, “what a loaded question...who AM I?” but I usually answer with, “Oh that’s me!” My favorite thing to do is pretend like I have no idea who this chick is.
“Who is this? Is she any good?”
When the crowd becomes large, I will go back into the dressing room and do some breathing exercises to keep my head level. I have an hour before I need to be out there and I must remain calm so my voice doesn’t shake. I will busy myself on my phone, look over my setlist, look over my setlist again, and I will play video games on my Switch. At this point I have had a whole water bottle and will need a new one. Then, it’s time to get out there and wait for my turn.
Usually, I will bounce up and down and let out deep breaths, double check I have water, repeatedly check the clock, and close my eyes and say a prayer. I am not super religious but it is comforting to hope for goodness before I go out.
Before I can blink, it’s time.
I climb the stairs and clutch my setlist in my hand, careful to not trip on any cords or instruments. I walk up to keyboard, set my setlist and water to the side, take a deep breath, and sing.