L-FRESH the LION is emerging as a unique force on the Aussie hip hop scene. His politically and socially-charged lyrics together with a captivating stage presence have made him a highly sought after performer, and 2016 has undoubtedly been a breakthrough year for the Sydney-hailing musician. He also released his debut album Become just a few months ago.
Recently L-FRESH ran through the emotions and his experiences that come with performing live and has here shared with punters what performers go through when they’re up on stage giving their all.
Let me set the scene for you. I stand in a dimly lit corridor, 15 steps away from the artist green room and another 10 steps away from the stage. The start of the show is moments away. Adrenaline begins kicking in. I can hear my heart beat speeding up like it’s urging me to go and grab the mic already but my mind is telling it to remain patient.
I hear the crowd’s voices rise as the anticipation builds. At one point, a single voice peaks out over the top of the noise as if representative of the entire collective, letting me know they’re all ready to go.
The noise in the room out there replaces the dialogue in my head. No longer am I thinking about the sometimes seemingly endless list of tasks to be across while on tour. It all becomes about the moment. Artists: we put ourselves through countless hours of stress, enough to make the hairs in my beard turn grey, in order to create this moment. This opportunity. To perform in front of all of the people who’s lives have been affected by your music. It truly is a privilege.
Then I hear Mirrah’s voice bust into an acapella rhyme. There must be a tech problem with the band. Mirrah’s buying the crew some time to fix whatever’s out of place. MK-1 speaks into the foldback speakers to let the crew know it’s all fixed. We’re good. It’s time.
I’m stage ready. Rocking RES double denim, black turban and my hi-top kicks, feeling so right. The music starts.
It’s show time.
There’s nothing quite like performing on stage. For me, it’s about the connection between us on stage and the people in the crowd. It’s about the cypher: the circular way in which energy is passed between everybody in the room to enliven, uplift and embrace each other. We carry each other through this moment, which is a passage of time that can never be recreated in exactly the same way ever again.
I think what I’ll continue to appreciate most from this tour is those moments of vulnerability. On this tour, I shared some difficult songs with crowds. They’re difficult, not from a technical or musical stand point, but rather, they’re difficult to express because they expose my innermost fears, doubts and insecurities. Prior to the tour, I didn’t know how a song like unBECOME would go down. But it became a highlight of the set because of its vulnerability.
That’s the beauty of music. It brings us together to share these experiences, which may seem isolating when we think about them in the context of our own lives, but when we share them, we realize that we are not alone, that others too also share similar experiences. It’s all there in the moment.
May we share many more moments like these in the future. May we recognize how connected we are, despite our differences. And may we continue to build through music, creating moments like these that will last forever, that serve as examples of our ability to create an embracing world.
This is some of what goes through my head before, during and after a show. It’s bigger than music.
L-FRESH the Lion has just released the official music video for his track unBECOME featuring JIMBLAH; from his recently released debut album. The track calls back to a time in L-FRESH’s life when he had to fight through adversity, and the clip features letters that fans sent in about how the song affected them.
Watch: L-FRESH THE LION – ‘ unBECOME’ (ft. JIMBLAH)