"The best time I have ever had in my life"
Recently Singers Playground client Hilary Weaver had the opportunity to join Danny Fernandes recent tour of Ontario, Canada. Having worked extensively with Hilary on her voice technique and career strategy over the past few years I was impressed with her determination to make the most of the career opportunity. We recently sat down with the up and coming rock pop artist to discuss how she prepared for the shows.
Micah: For those who don’t know you Hilary.. what kind of music do you make and who is your fan base?
Hilary:I am a pop/rock singer songwriter based in Toronto whose influences are to Demi Lovato, Kelly Clarkson and Pink. My fan base is mostly a younger audience of 12 to 25 year olds.
You are already an instinctive kick ass live performer but this touring opportunity came up fast for you didn’t it?
This tour experience was a very last minute decision and offer. For this tour I had less than a month to prepare for a 9-show tour opening the show for the already established Danny Fernandes.
Had you been doing live shows in the month’s prior?
No I hadn’t, the last show I had done was probably back in January of 2013, so almost a year later.
Yikes.. thats a long time since you had been on stage. What were you the most worried about in terms of getting ready?
I was worried about so many things! I am a huge perfectionist and am extremely hard on myself. So when it came to preparing for this tour I was worried my vocals wouldn’t be up to proper standard, I was worried I wasn’t going to have enough time to get in some kind of shape to be able to do a show night after night and also how I was going to look on stage.
You must have felt very rushed to have to decide about all the various things like Clothes, Fitness, Voice, Material, personal of the Band, rehearsal time etc!
You have to think and decide about everything! Even the finest details have to all be figured out. The one thing I had to do for tour was figure out 9 different outfits for each individual show, including jewelry and shoes. I had to make sure I was running and getting my cardio up so I wouldn’t be out of breath on stage. Every single day I had to vocalize and run through the songs for the show and practice exactly what I was going to say between each song. Figuring out the band and making sure we were all-together and had no mistakes. Let just say there is a lot to think, decide and worry about.
The 'brand" or identity of an artist is expressed so many ways but none more importantly as in what clothes we wear on stage.Can you tell us the process of deciding about your outfits for this tour?
I would have to say the timing for this tour was quite good. Before for my CD Release I had gotten a stylist to help me and move me a little out of my comfort zone and I thank her for that because she actually helped me find my style in that one session. That’s why I was able and confident to do all the shopping for tour myself. My theme was very much old vintage rock and roll / musician shirts with lots of leather and studs. So I did about 3 bottoms and 2 leather jackets, with 9 different musician shirts. Dressing yourself is a lot about knowing who you are and expressing that with what you wear, and being confident doing it!
Sounds like you smartly chose to focus your fans on the music you play and a powerful image.
What about choosing which material you were going to perform for this tour?
Picking the songs was the easy part! We had a certain length of time for our set so we picked what we thought would be strongest songs. Debated back and forth on the order and finally decided to do an Up Beat – Ballad – Up Beat as our approach.
What about deciding what kind of band you were going to use for this tour. Of course finances are often a consideration here, what with travel and accommodation costs.
For this tour, being an indie artist, money was very tight. We had many factors to figure out as for what might look best on stage and present me in the best possible way as well as weighting out the cost. As I am sure a lot of you know hiring musicians are not cheap! We thought at first a guitarist and keys with track would be good, and then it was like well maybe drums and keys with track are better. It was a big toss up. You had to think about the fact that drums are a big instrument to take on tour with you and would guitar be the best? We finally decided that the best thing would be to just have keys for an economical perspective and then the keyboardist can play the tracks on stage herself as well. Even though I usually play with a full band.
What specific daily preparations did you make in terms of bringing your card and vocal chops up to speed?
Vocalizing and cardio would be for 40 minutes a day at least. I really had to make sure I was on top of that everyday because I had such a short time to get ready for such a huge gig! I also needed to actually run the show exactly how I was going to do it and exactly what I was going to say between each song so I didn’t have to think about it. You see a huge difference when you do all of those things.
'YOU KNOW YOURSELF BEST AND YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED"
How did the tour dates go for you overall?
The tour went absolutely amazing! It was probably the best time I have ever had in my life. It was definitely a highlight in my career. I proved so much to myself and to others, that I was actually able to do back to back shows and handle my first tour!
I know the tour was hugely successful for you and built a new fan base for your music across Ontario, what would you do differently next time in terms of prep?
Of course I wish I had had more time to prepare and be in even better shape then I was on tour, but that was the circumstances. Next time I probably would spend the extra money to have a full band on tour to have a better real and live show. But honestly otherwise I don’t think I would have changed really anything.
What advice would you have for other artists who are doing multiple tour dates?
The best advice I can give is from what I have learned from my own experience. Give yourself enough time to be in the best shape overall with your voice, doing your cardio, and getting your band together. Be extremely organized even down to the littlest details and make sure everything is set in place so there is no stress or anything to worry about. I did all my planning right away and didn’t waste any time at all. The best thing I can say is you know yourself best and you know exactly what you need or at least you should! Make that a priority and everything will fall right into place.
Check out Hilary's world online (see below) and watch for upcoming career strategy, voice technique and performance workshops at Singers Playground at Singers Playground