How to Overcome Anxiety Before Gigs

It is inevitable to feel anxious before your gigs, especially if you’re a newbie. Anxiety can be a good thing if properly managed. It is just a reminder that you are about to perform in front of a passionate crowd who can’t wait to enjoy your beautiful performance. Even the biggest and best DJs have to deal with anxiety, so it is essential always to remember you are not alone in this. Use it as a reminder that you are living your dream. Nonetheless, let’s look at how to deal with anxiety as a DJ.

Reframe it.

A lot of anxiety has to do with your mindset at the time. Your heart is pounding, sweat dripping down your face. And your throat seems very dry. You can barely speak. It’s normal to feel this way. If you can, try to laugh about it, tell yourself it is not the end of the world and the moment will soon pass. Try as much as possible to enjoy your performance. While performing, imagine you are a kid in your bedroom having fun. Just go with the flow. Don’t try too hard to impress.

Scared of messing it up.

Trust me. Your fans are tolerant. They won’t even know if you made a mistake or not. Just don’t stop playing. Keep the party going and adjust along the way. Always prepare for the best but expect anything. Be Flexible and open-minded when you play. Every famous DJ you can think of as made mistakes, and they continue to make mistakes. They never stop because no one notices or cares as long as they have fun.

Even if they notice, no one cares as long as they get a chance to jump around and have fun. So never stop the party, keep it going no matter what. It is not the end of the world, and it is not the end of your career. Just have fun with it.

Prepare well, but expect anything.

There’s no such thing as perfect preparation. No matter how much you prepare, some things are just out of your control. This is the industry you find yourself so deal with it. It is not always your fault. Just be ready to perform and have fun.

Remember your best performance.

This is a quick way to change your mood and get you feeling excited again. The thought of past great performances can elevate your mood. The same feeling you had during that performance will be activated. This is how you turn a moody vibe into an upbeat and excited one. If it is your first gig, think of a fond memory when playing.

Pick a target.

Another trick is to pick a target — usually someone upbeat and enjoying your performance. Feed off their energy by continually checking with them, keeping eye contact. You will be amazed at how this takes off the edge and keeps you relaxed. Imagine you are playing for them and do everything to impress them. Lockout everyone else and focus on your target. If you lose your target, pick the next one and continue with the process.

Take a deep breath.

If you feel like you are not connecting with the audience or your songs are not hitting the right spots, then take a deep breath. It might be because you feel like you are losing control or you feel like you are messing things up. Just pause, take deep breaths and continue. Anxiety causes shallow breathing leading to racing heartbeats. So slow things down and breathe slowly.

Anxiety will never disappear, unfortunately. Whether you are a pro or just a beginner dealing with anxiety is something that never goes away. Just learn to deal with it and use it to your benefit. That is what the greatest DJs have done over the years. They enjoy anxiety. It is their superpower. They can use it to take their game to the next level. Learn to do the same.



International Music Summit | The importance of recognising and treating the early signs of anxiety and depression for performing artists

A study to explore the effects of music on the mental health of musicians reveals that music affects your mental health. The study involved interviewing 2,211 musicians, with 71.1% of them confessing of having suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. Also, 68.5% of the interviewees admitted to struggling with depression.

The study, commissioned by Help Musicians UK and completed by the University of Westminster, cited money as the main issue. Most musicians attributed their hectic schedules, juggling between jobs, dealing with unpredictable pay, and poor working conditions as the causes of their mental challenges. Additionally, musicians were also susceptible to bullying, sexual abuse and discrimination as some of the challenges they face in their jobs.

Mental Health Crisis Debate

In this year’s IMS Ibiza, Klas Bergling, Avicii‘s father, will share his thoughts on avoiding unnecessary loss of life in the industry. Klas Bergling will also discuss the role of the Tim Bergling Foundation in supporting people and organisations working in the fields of suicide prevention and mental health.

The keynote topic of this year’s summit is MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS DEBATE, and it will have Professor Green, music artist and mental health campaigner, and distinguished DJ and producer Luciano as critical speakers. They will get some backing from mental health experts who have been treating some of the most prosperous talents in music.
IMS Ibiza, as a premier platform for culture, business and education in the electronic music industry, will unite the most influential figures in the music industry to drive discussions that make a meaningful difference in the industry.

Source: International Music Summit

Pressure of Work

Regrettably, by design, the music industry is fashioned to expose every player to the impact of mental health. The tension in the music industry is immense, with musicians consistently on the go, shuttling between strenuous tour cycles and away from families. Also, deadlines from labels can create a lot of anxiety, especially for new artists.

Warning signs

Within the music industry, the warning signs are glaring and the earlier they are addressed, the better for musicians. The oft ubiquitous use of substance abuse among industry players may look like a lifestyle but, in reality, it is an early sign of depression. While the industry seems to encourage drug abuse latently, industry players need to sensitise artists on the perils of drug and substance abuse.

Take care of your body, because it’s the only one you’ve got. There will be other gigs to book. Learn how to say “no” to commitments that do not offer value in exchange for your efforts. Schedule time for rest and relaxation. It’s OK to not be a “type A personality.” You do not need to be productive every waking second. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is slow down or rest.

Loss of Avicii and Keith Flint

Following the shocking and devastating loss of Swedish DJ and producer Tim Bergling, popularly known to as Avicii, and the recent heart-rending demise of Prodigy frontman Keith Flint, the music industry has come out to recognise the existing mental health problems in the industry.
The music business is purely a human enterprise. The players, by virtue of their celebrity status, are very vulnerable. Even the deaths of Avicii and Keith Flint shouldn’t have occurred if the industry could learn from the tragic suicide of Kurt Cobain. However, because of negligence and lack of direction, we are still discussing similar issues 25 years later. Leaders in the industry should focus on protecting the health of artists.

(Photo source:

(Photo source:

Source: International Music Summit