Dealing With Performers’ Egos … In A Professional Way

Looking out at the Crowd 1Backstage at Raven Gig
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Music & Arts: If you want the art, you have to stroke the ego…


The music industry is a crazy place. Its so dynamic that it contains some of the richest and some of the poorest people in the world. However, regardless of what level a musician stands on or climbs to, there is always one underlying nuance poised to raise its ugly head when the time is right – THE EGO…

As sound engineers we deal with all types of performers. Some are enlightened people, very easy to work with and who truly appreciate what we do.  Others-not so much.  In the heat of stressful production, there are troubleshooting issues, and the always ticking time constraint. How do we deal with the ego-driven folks who can make life miserable?  Raven Sound’s company reputation is on the line at all times, and we rarely work in a relaxed setting.  Live production has its way of bringing out the extremes in a person.


At Raven, our sound engineers have developed a few methods of dealing with the unhappy musicians who come our way, as well as how to deal with each other when tensions are high.

1. Always do everything you can

Keep your confidence in what you are there to do, and know you control the stage.  Never try to overcome an ego, but stick to your core. You will be perceived as a more professional and solid human being.

2. Don’t give up

Monitor engineers who mix the sound that musicians hear on stage have this issue the most. Some musicians are INCREDIBLY PICKY about how their monitor wedge or in ear mix sounds.  When the sound isn’t coming out right, they tend to take all their day’s frustration out on the poor monitor engineer.  But, you need to keep at it until they are satisfied with their mix.  A lot of musicians who complained at the beginning of the gig can be really thankful, if you keep your attention on them and work at what they want to hear.

3. Keep your cool

As much as you want to walk out on stage and read this guy the riot act, you have to try and stay cool, calm, and collected. Try walking off stage for a few moments. Go vent to someone else.Put on some of your own
music in your headphones. Smoke a cigarette if you must. Just do everything in your power not to talk back and meet the person’s level of anger.

4. Let it slide

One of the biggest themes we at Raven have as a team is letting things go.  Like I said earlier, live production brings out extreme tensions in a person.  If you can’t learn to let conflicting personalities go by the end of the night, then you need to rethink your career.  We have an uncanny ability to let most anything go by the time the gig is over and we are drinking a beer.  If you can learn not to take personally any of the harsh or demeaning things that are said in high pressure situations then you will be far ahead in the game.  This quality will also produce longevity in the industry as well as more friends.

Raven Sound Owner Phil Papotnik comments on musician egos in an excerpt from an Erie Times News Interview -”Sometimes the artist comes in and he’s just not secure in himself. Typically we find the really top-notch musicians are easy to work with because they don’t have anything to prove, they just do their gig. Sometimes you get people that are a little more egotistical, they get a little fidgety, can’t make them happy. But, obviously, we try.”

Read the Whole Article Here.

Learn more about Raven Sound at their site.

Nick Corsi has been on the trail for nearly 3 years with Raven Sound and has encountered a multitude of different people while on hundreds of gigs.  He works with a talented group of engineers with a combined 60 years of experience in the industry and is consistently learning from their insights.

Work Hard, Take It Easy

Nick Corsi

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2 Responses to “Dealing With Performers’ Egos … In A Professional Way”

  1. Thinking Big Works » Blog Archive » Real. Cool. Soul. Says:

    [...] seeing Joy perform twice and I am now working with her. She is definitely NOT one of those “Performers With Ego’s” like in my previous post. She graciously accepted the offer to play at a benefit concert, [...]

  2. Thinking Big Works Says:

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