4 Helpful Tips For Artists Who Can't Perform

Not every entertainer’s stage presence is a present. Some need cliff notes on channeling their inner Busta Rhymes. Performance coach Laura Kessler (Usher, N’Sync, Eve) breaks down how artists learn to roc the mic right

Illustration: Salene Casteneda

BREATHE EASY
Muscles don’t lie. You can tell when someone is nervous—it transcends through the entire nervous system. I teach grounding your nervous system through martial arts or yoga. The exercises are designed to engage all the muscles emanating from the core. Frank Ocean is sincere [on stage], but he doesn’t use much of his body at all. He needs to use his legs as a base, like a tripod or pyramid. Sometimes when he holds the mic, his whole shoulder goes up and that changes the tension in the neck area. That could literally make you more nervous. We’re creative athletes. You have to treat it as a physical sport.

PSYCH OUT
The psychological element makes the difference. One singer had been robbed in her home and ever since then, it affected her voice. I try to avoid that cliché of envisioning the crowd in their underwear. I think of a lesson from The Brady Bunch when I hear that. You really wouldn’t worry what people are thinking if you knew how seldom they do. There are so many distractions—cell phones, texting—they don’t have a heck of a lot of time to tear you apart. Perfectionism is a huge factor. I emphasize being in the moment and not so much the destination.

YOUTUBE SESSIONS
I have them list artists they like and dislike. Then, I assemble a group of YouTube videos and we study the body language and note what we like and don’t like about their performances. If they’ve had acting in their background, I get more theater-ish and have them imagine roles, scenarios and circumstances. Nicki Minaj has good energy, but she can be inconsistent. I would try silent bodywork with her, where she’s moving her body without singing or making any utterance.

COMIC RELIEF
Take a comedy class. It’s a fun, silly environment and you get used to acting out as different characters. Comedy helps to break out of your shell. Drama to use your emotions more; sports or dance for the physical. I can teach technical things, but experience breeds confidence and knowing technique puts it all together faster.

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Dr. Dre Released From Hospital, Will Receive 24-Hour Home Care

Dr. Dre was released from L.A. Cedars Sinai Medical Center on Friday (Jan. 15), nearly two weeks after he suffered a reported brain aneurysm. Ice T confirmed the news tweeting, “Just FaceTimed with @drdre. He just made it home. Safe and looking good.”

The 55-year-old music mogul will remain under 24-hour care for the next few weeks as medical professionals continue to monitor his progress. Doctors are still unclear on what caused the aneurysm.

Dre’s hospital release comes days after new details were revealed in his divorce from estranged wife, Nicole Young. According to court documents publicized this week, Nicole accuses Dre, birth name Andre Young, of putting a gun to her head in 2000 and 2001. She also details other alleged abuse incidents in 1995 (before they were married) and in 2016, when he allegedly punched her in the face and kicked down her door.

The Grammy winner has denied Nicole’s abuse claims.

Nicole and Dre tied the knot in 1996. The pair share two adult children, Truice and Truly. Nicole filed for divorce last summer.

In addition to demanding that Dre cover her legal fees, Nicole wants the court to take the abuse allegations into account when “awarding support and fees.” Dre has already agreed to pay $500,000 of Nicole’s legal bills and $2 million in temporary spousal support.

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Cardi B Lands Leading Role In Comedy ‘Assisted Living’

Cardi B is making her way back to the big screen. The Bronx native officially landed her first leading role in the upcoming Paramount comedy, Assisted Living.

According to Variety, Cardi will play a small time crook struggling to find a hiding place after her latest heist fails. Her character, “Amber,” disguises herself as an elderly woman and hides out at her grandmother's nursing home. The film is described as a “raucous comedy” similar to Mrs. Doubtfire and Sister Act.

Paramount acquired the rights to Assisted Living in 2019. The film’s script was penned by This Is Us writer, Kay Oyegun.

Cardi, 28, made her film debut in the 2019 celeb-heavy stripper flick, Hustlers. The “WAP” rapper appears to have hinted at her Assisted Living role in a recent interview with Billboard where she dished on filming scenes for Fast & Furious 9.

“After ‘Hustlers’ I filmed a little bit for 'Fast & Furious' so I felt like ‘I’m ready for this,’ I knew what to expect,” she explained. “But the characters were a little different so I was like ‘Oh wow, I’m going to need more acting classes.’ I’m planning on doing a movie this year and I’m going to be the lead role so I’m like ‘I need to execute this flawlessly.’”

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Wendy Williams Reveals She Was Date Raped By ‘80s R&B Singer

Wendy Williams revealed that she was date raped by  ‘80s R&B singer, Sherrick, early in her radio career. The talk show host shared the story with reporters while promoting her Lifetime biopic Wendy Williams: The Movie on Tuesday (Jan. 12).

“He mesmerized me with his twinkling eyes,” she recalled. “He flipped the interview around to where he was interviewing me — I was just gaga over this man and he asked me to go to an album release party with him that night.

“Before the party, I was date raped by him,” said Williams.

Sherrick, born Lamotte Smith, was a member of the group Kagny, whose song is featured on The Last Dragon soundtrack. He signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1987 and scored a marginal hit with the single “Just Call” off his debut self-titled album. Sherrick struggled with sobriety but declared himself “drug-free” before dying of unknown causes in 1999.

Williams says that she was raped in Sherrick’s Washington D.C. hotel room and it, unfortunately, wasn’t her first time being sexually assaulted. The New Jersey native had been date raped in college. “Those types of things happen to girls all the time and they’ve been happening a lot, to a lot of our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and their great-great-grandmothers too.”

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“As I will never minimize or dismiss the horrid actions of sexual assault, I am saddened that Ms. Williams feels the need to publicly make these allegations when the man she is accusing is no longer on this earth to defend himself,” Lynne Conner Smith said in a statement to Page Six.  “Our family does not know Ms. Williams and are not aware of any relationship or encounter they may have had.”

The sexual assault will be chronicled in the film, as well as other details from Williams' life -- like her rise to talk show fame, her battle with drug addiction, and marriage to ex-husband Kevin Hunter.

Wendy Williams: The Movie premieres on Lifetime on Jan. 30.

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