By: Lindsay Longacre
Whether it’s during a paid meet and greet or if you just happen to bump into an artist or band member that you like, it can be very stressful when it comes to talking and interacting with them.
We all wish that we could appear calm and collected when meeting the artists that mean the most to us, but most of the time that isn’t the case. We’ve all said something that we wished we hadn’t, done something that embarrassed both ourselves and the artists, or not been able to say anything at all until it was too late. Even if you’ve never met any of the artists that you admire, you’ve thought about what could go wrong when you finally do. It rare that you think about all that could go right. In the end, though, those awkward instances are sometimes what makes the interaction the most memorable. With almost everything we do in life, meeting your favorite artists can take some practice.
I know from personal experience how terrifying it can be when you know that you are going to be able to meet and talk to an artist that you like. I also know how extremely terrifying it is when you get the opportunity to meet and talk to them when you weren’t expecting to. I’ve been in various situations where I’ve paid and knew that I was going to meet an artist and was still unprepared and scared. I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet artists when I didn’t know that I was going to and didn’t have any time to prepare whatsoever. Over time, I have learned what sort of things make it easier to talk to and interact with some of my favorite artists. Granted, I still struggle, and I have not mastered the perfect meet and greet interaction, but here are a few pointers that could potentially steer you in a comfortable direction for when you get the opportunity to meet some of your favorite bands and artists.
*All tips are what have worked for me, keep in mind that some of these may not work for certain people and you should adjust them to fit your level of comfortability if you need to.
What to think about and remember before the interaction:
1. The first time is always going to be the toughest, but you have to go through it in order to get to the second time. You are going to stumble over words, say something you wish you hadn’t, and probably forget to speak at all sometimes. That’s ok. The artist knows that it may be tough to express how you are feeling in the moment, so don’t get flustered or worry too much. They might even help you to gather your thoughts and ease you into a conversation.
2. They are human beings just like you. Yes, they’re talented, probably good looking, and often someone that you admire, but in the end, they are just another person. They enjoy music just as much as you, probably want to talk about it as much as you do, and appreciate that you are taking the time to talk to them.
3. They want to talk to you. Whether you had to pay to meet this person or they stopped to say hi, this usually indicates that they want to talk. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have created a space to do so. So, don’t feel like you are bothering them unless they indicate that in some way. You’ll know when the proper time to approach an artist is if it is not a scheduled and purchased meet and greet. Try not to interrupt them if they are talking to someone else, eating, or trying to get somewhere. If they stop to talk to you or any other fans you know that they want to and will most likely chat for a bit.
4. You are one of the many reasons that they get to do what they enjoy, which is making music. Most of the time they want to show that appreciation during a meet and greet.
5. Just remain respectful and usually that respect will be reciprocated. Don’t chase them into places, follow them, or put yourself or them in any situation that is unsafe.
6. Sometimes [and honestly, most of the time] meet and greets aren’t going to go as expected. There are always components like time, security, management, and how the artist is feeling that can factor into how the meet and greet plays out. Sometimes it’s better to go in without any expectations and to just let the whole thing play out as it will.
7. If a meet and greet doesn’t go how you wish it would have; you can always think about what you might do differently the next time. Don’t consider your first interaction to be how it will always be. Remember, the meet and greet interaction takes practice and hopefully, you will have many opportunities to practice and create the interactions you want to have.
8. If you’ve paid for a meet and greet, pay attention to the details that are sent to you before the meet and greet. Know what time you need to be at the venue, where you need to check in, and what the meet and greet will include. Always consider knowing where you will park or how you will get to the venue beforehand, so you know what time you need to leave to arrive for your meet and greet on time.
9. HAVE FUN! After all, you’re meeting someone that you like, and you want the experience to be as fun as possible.
Talking points and suggestions:
1. I’ve found that artists really like it when you ask them how they are doing. Taking an interest in them as a person and talking to them before asking for a photo usually leads to a better meet and greet experience.
2. Remember something that they once said in an interview or on social media and use that as a talking point. When I recently met Corbyn from Why Don’t We, I brought up the random countdown he made on Instagram and then showed him the countdown I made on Instagram counting down to that very interaction. It gave us a common topic to talk about.
3. Talk to them about the show. If its before the show, tell them what song you’re most excited to hear or ask them which song they are looking forward to performing. If it’s after, tell them which song you enjoyed the most, or ask them which one they had the most fun performing that night.
4. Show them something you’ve made for them, something that reminded you of them, or maybe even compliment them on something they’re wearing. I sometimes notice that an artist and I are wearing the same shoes, so I sometimes mention that. Again, being personable is how I’ve found it easiest to connect with most artists I’ve met.
5. You obviously don’t have to do this, but a way that I’ve started conversations with artists is by giving them a gift or a letter that I’ve written. They don’t expect you to spend money on them, but it could be another way to be personable and connect with them.
6. Share a story with them about how they or their music has helped you. Or even just tell them how much they mean to you. This can get tricky because emotions are tricky, but if you can get it out, I’m almost positive that they’ll appreciate it and listen to what you have to say.
7. Tell them a joke or try to make them laugh. Seriously, if you can’t think of something to say at first breaking the ice with a joke or something silly will lighten the mood, open everyone up, and get the ball rolling.
8. Just be yourself. They’ll appreciate how genuine and how much of a person you’re being that they’ll try to make you comfortable and the conversation as easy as they can.
Remember, these are just some suggestions based on what I’ve tried when I’ve met some of my favorite bands and artists. No matter how many times I’ve talked to and met the same artists, there are still nerves and awkward moments. It’s going to happen. We’re human and we’re awkward sometimes. As long as you’re being yourself and you’re there because you genuinely enjoy that person, talking to them will become easier as you do it more and more. Making memories through conversations with your favorite artists is well worth the initial nerves and awkwardness.