Country music’s biggest stars are opening up about how they get in the zone before stepping on stage.
One thing many of the musicians have in common is they like to stay hydrated and make sure their dressing rooms are stocked with everything they need. Cole Swindell told Fox News Digital that his dressing room always has “plenty of water” and “maybe just a couple of drinks” in case his nerves become too much to handle.
“We don’t have much of a pre-show ritual. We always, me and the band, and whatever guest we have, we always get together and do a little toast before, and pretty much remind each other how thankful we are to get to do what we love,” he said. “We do a shot and then hit the stage.”
Tim McGraw previously opened up about how his pre-show ritual has changed over the years. He wrote in his book, “Grit & Grace: Train the Mind, Train the Body, Own Your Life,” that he used to drink before every show, but changed his habits after his family expressed concern.
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McGraw made the switch from drinking to working out, saying exercise “took the place of alcohol” and resulted in him improving his health. Working out before shows now acts as a way for him to bond with his band members.
“We end up talking about the show a lot and talking about different things that we want to do and how we might change the light or maybe change a certain guitar sound,” McGraw told Entrepreneur in 2017. “Some of our best ideas about the show come during our workouts,” he added.
“It’s a direct translation to what we do onstage. When you’re out there with a team, and you’re pushing each other to work hard in the afternoon, you do the same thing when you’re on stage together.”
Jimmie Allen told “Entertainment Tonight” in 2022 his preparation for a concert “always starts with a shot of whiskey, for sure,” joking that he takes a shot even when he’s getting ready to perform in church.
When speaking with Fox News Digital, Jordan Davis explained his pre-show ritual also involves taking a shot of his favorite drink, but unlike Allen, he isn’t drinking whiskey.
“Tequila. That’s both the one thing I can’t live without, and the pre-show ritual,” Davis said. “Me and the band, we try to do a little working shot, is what we call it, tequila before we go out. If we’re having fun, we feel like the crowd has fun, so that’s a must.”
In 2018, Dierks Bentley shared his pre-show prep with his fans on Instagram, posting a picture of himself sitting in an ice bath backstage while on tour. In his caption, he explained, “I got energy for days after this.”
Bentley shared that the ice bath was part of the Wim Hof Method, which promotes a deeper connection to your body through breathing and cold therapy.
While preparing to host the 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards with Blake Shelton in 2015, Luke Bryan shared that the two of them would pump themselves up with a little liquid courage when getting ready the night of the show.
“We huddle up and do some read-throughs and mix us a drink and get ready to do this thing,” Bryan told “Entertainment Tonight.” “It’s the country guy’s chill-pill — a little vodka.”
While Bryan drank vodka, he outed his co-host Shelton as preferring to indulge in Bacardi, saying, “I think Blake’s a rum guy.”
Miranda Lambert told the outlet she “usually mix(es) a drink” before going on stage.
She also told Palm Beach Illustrated in 2018 that she likes to include her band in her pre-show traditions.
“I’m really close with my band, so we always hang out in Wanda, my Airstream, before the show,” Lambert revealed. “We also do a prayer before taking the stage.”
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Carrie Underwood likes to keep things very “regimented” when it comes to her show days.
She told Audacity Music in June 2022, “I have a schedule, I know my schedule, I like my schedule.” Underwood said she even eats the same thing every show day, including nut butter-based bars for breakfast, and hummus and veggies for lunch.
The singer also told “Entertainment Tonight” that she likes to have “a little tea before, a little prayer before” she and the band go on stage and start the show.
Cody Johnson’s pre-show ritual is admittedly “pretty simple,” and involves his band and some alcohol.
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“We have a big sip of Grand Marnier. It’s good for the throat. It’s pretty simple,” he told Fox News Digital.