Stage fright or performance anxiety is the persistent phobia, which may be triggered in an individual by the requirement to perform in front of an audience, be it actually or potentially. It is one of the most common fears, take note, not just for newbies; But, believe it or not, for some of the most famous celebrities with stage fright as well.
It is but natural to feel stage fright if one is under great stress or pressure. It is not always a bad thing; As a matter of fact, it often gives the person the right pump of adrenaline before stepping out on stage. For some, it’s less debilitating. While for others, merely stepping in front of the audience is a huge hurdle to jump over.
Stage fright is not synonymous with shyness. Sometimes, the shyest person does not experience stage fright at all, while the most extroverted one will find out he has the most horrible performance jitters.
Top 10 Celebrities With Stage Fright
Now, how interesting would it be to find out who among those famous people that we know of experience stage fright despite their success and popularity. Here are the top 10 celebrities who get nervous before taking the stage.
Demi is a is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She rose to fame for her role in the musical television film, Camp Rock, in 2008 and its sequel in 2010. Her debut single This Is Me was a duet with Joe Jonas and was at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. She signed with Hollywood Records and made album releases one after another, which gained recognition. She later infused soul and mature themes into her music, where she earned Grammy Award nominations. Her seventh album in 2021 reached number two on the Billboard 200.
With her successful musical career, the singer divulged that in 2012’s MTV VMAs, she experienced major stage fright before her performance. “I’m really nervous to perform because there’s going to be a lot of celebrities walking the red carpet at the same time that I come out and perform,” she said at the time. “So not only do I want to do a good job because it’s on camera, but also there’s people that I really admire on the red carpet.” She further says that she even listens to Nicki Minaj prior to going on stage to help her cope!
Andrea Bocelli is an Italian opera tenor and multi-instrumentalist. He first diagnosed with congenital glaucoma at 5 months old and became completely blind at age 12 from a football accident. He became famous in 1994 having won the preliminary round of the 44th Sanremo Music Festival performing Miserere, with the highest marks ever recorded in the newcomers section. His music accomplishments include 15 solo studio albums of both pop and classical music, three greatest hits albums, and nine complete operas, and he sold over 75 million records worldwide.
He has had success as a crossover performer, bringing classical music to the top of international pop charts. Named one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 1998. He was made a Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2006. And honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010 in view of his contribution to Live Theater.
Andrea Bocelli reveals he still suffers from stage fright several years into his singing career and believes he always will. “I think that stage fright is actually in your DNA … there’s nothing you can do about it,” the singer told AAP. He said he would get tachycardia, like palpitations, cold hands. In his own words: “Stage fright is my worst problem. A voice is very intimate. It’s something of your own. So there’s always this fear, because you feel naked. There’s a fear of not reaching up to expectations.”
Who does not know Rihanna? She is one of the most brilliant, radiant, and energetic performers of today. After signing with Def Jam in 2005, she soon achieved recognition with the release of her first two studio albums; Music of the Sun in 2005 and A Girl like Me in 2006. Both of which were influenced by Caribbean music. And peaked within the top ten of the US Billboard 200 chart. This has been followed by numerous album releases and collaborations with equally-famous celebrities like; Eminem, Drake, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Adam Levine, Paul McCartney, Ne-Yo, and Shakira.
Rihanna also got involved in humanitarian causes, entrepreneurial ventures, and the fashion industry. Who would expect someone this active would still feel stage fright? Do you know that she even does a ritual to calm her nerves before stepping on stage? And that ritual includes throat relaxers and soothers, and a quick shot of liquor diluted with orange juice or soda water. “I have to have it,” she told Esquire. “I take it very seriously, so there is a level of anxiety, always…The drink calms my nerves.” she mentioned how it does not matter whether she’s performing or whether she’s making an appearance at an event, it all feels like a stage to her and that still makes her a little nervous.
She gets butterflies in her stomach right before she “goes on” and interacts with people, whether that’s singing to them or just chit chatting. “Still, I get shy and awkward and (have) stage fright,” she told the Associated Press in the Q&A for Fashion Week. At least now you know liquor isn’t that bad…
Adele is a British singer-songwriter who has sold millions of albums worldwide and bagged a total of 15 Grammys and an Oscar. Adele’s first two albums earned her critical praise and a level of commercial success unparalleled among her peers. After her childbirth in 2012, she returned to the charts with the ballad “Hello” in 2015. She won five Grammys in 2017 for her work on 25, and that included album, record and song of the year.
With all these accomplishments, who would have thought she still has stage fright? Well, in an interview with the Rolling Stone, she opened about the fact that she gets stage fright, saying; “I’m scared of audiences. I get shitty scared. One show in Amsterdam, I’m so nervous I escaped out the fire exit. I’ve thrown up a couple of times. Once in Brussels, I projectile-vomited on someone. I just gotta bear it. But I don’t like touring. I have anxiety attacks a lot.”
She further explained, “I mean, I thought of someone spending $20 to come and see me. And saying, ‘Oh, I prefer the record and she’s completely shattered the illusion’ really upsets me. It’s such a big deal that people come give me their time.” Her anxiety, though, never stopped her from doing powerhouse performances. Her straight-forwardness about stage fright has done nothing but endear her to her fans even more.
Harry Styles is an English singer-songwriter and actor. From 2010 when his musical career began as a solo contestant on the British music competition series, The X Factor, to this day, he has become a household name. He has a Brit Award, a Grammy Award, and an American Music Award to name a few of his accolades in music. Apart from music, he is also known for his ostentatious fashion. And is the first man to appear solo on the cover of Vogue magazine.
Harry Styles may have had loads of practice being on stage after performing with One Direction for four years, but he too suffered from major stage fright! During their X Factor days, Harry got the worst stage fright to the point of even sometimes throwing up before they performed. Zayn Malik said, “He went through a period of throwing up before he went on stage”. Styles even joked of his own phobia while filming their band’s certain holiday special. Saying that he had to leave the stage because he was too scared to continue. That is despite his seemingly cool, confident, and collected appearance.
Katy Perry is an American singer-songwriter and later become a television judge. She used to sing in church during her childhood, then pursued a career in gospel music as a teenager. It was not an easy task for her to reach stardom. Her debut studio album Katy Hudson was not commercially successful. It was with her second album in 2008 titled “One of the Boys” that she rose to fame.
Three succeeding albums have topped the U.S. Billboard 200. “Teenage Dream” in 2010 garnered five chart-topping U.S. Billboard’s Hot 100 singles, a record tying her with Michael Jackson’s Bad. With the music videos for Prism’s (her album) chart-topping songs Roar and Dark Horse, she became the first artist to have multiple videos reach one billion views on Vevo. She also has received numerous awards and those include; 4 Guinness World Records, five Billboard Music Awards, five American Music Awards, a Brit Award, and a Juno Award.
She has been in the annual Forbes lists of highest-earning women in music from 2011 to 2019. Also, she is one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 18 million albums and 125 million singles worldwide. She also did films, had performed in the Super Bowl halftime show, which was the most viewed so far in history. She also has become a judge on American Idol in 2018.
Despite all these, however, she admits she is sometimes overcome with nerves. And says her stage fright was the reason behind a tearful breakdown at the Radio 1 Teen Awards in London before. In her highly-charged performance of ‘Firework’ at the event, Katy told the Daily Star newspaper she was emotional before she sang Firework. “I got chills and butterflies – it’s a huge adrenaline rush,” she said. “I still feel nervous performing to crowds. It’s not that I don’t feel ready but I worry that they’ll rush the stage as they’re all screaming my name or I feel like a wanna yack!”
Lorde is a famous singer-songwriter. Her stage name was inspired by aristocracy. She has this unconventional musical styles and meditative songwriting. Her music is described as electropop. Her debut studio album Pure Heroine reached critical and commercial success. This has been followed with numerous successful works. She curated the soundtrack for the 2014 part one of “The Hunger Games”, and recorded several tracks, including the single “Yellow Flicker Beat”. Her second studio album Melodrama in 2017 garnered widespread critical acclaim and debuted atop the US Billboard 200.
Lorde’s other accomplishments include two Grammy Awards, two Brit Awards, and a Golden Globe nomination. She was in Time’s list of the most influential teenagers in 2013 and 2014, and the 2014 edition of Forbes 30 Under 30. Apart from her solo work, she has co-written songs for other artists, including Broods and Bleachers.
Lorde definitely does things the way she wants to, but she has something in common with all the above in that she too suffers from stage fright, sometimes so bad that it makes her sick. She told ABC News once, “I, like, totally threw up before my show last night. I am reduced by nerves”. Also, “I can be completely crushed by feelings of all kinds. … I get nervous, I get freaked out, I get, you know, the usual stuff”. What she does to overcome this is remind herself that every time she gets out there, she enjoys it. “I tell myself that ‘You’ll be in your zone. The lights will be on and … people will be cheering and, you know, it’ll be okay.”
Barbara Streisand is an American actress, singer, and filmmaker. Regarded by many as the greatest famous singer of her generation with a career spanning seven decades in multiple fields of entertainment. She redefined female stardom in the ’60 and ’70s, being the first major female star to command roles as a Jewish actress. She has become one of the most powerful women in show business, known for her liberal politics and philanthropy. Just one of the few performers awarded an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.
In the field of music, her contribution consists of 117 singles, 36 studio albums, and 9 compilations, 7 live albums and 15 soundtracks. In 1964, Streisand became the first and sole female artist to place three albums in the top 10 on Billboard’s annual albums chart and held the record for the female with the most albums in the Top 200 simultaneously for nearly half a century.
Despite all her success, she still has that “crippling stage fright”. In 2018, in an interview for the show, “Carpool Karaoke”, the singer divulged to James Corden, “The Late, Late Show” host, that she gets “scared” performing in front of fans. She says she does not get as nervous anymore, but said, “I don’t enjoy it. … I just don’t want to disappoint people.” She further said that before hitting the stage, she repeats the mantra, “Let go, let God” to calm her nerves. Well, let’s take note of that mantra just in case we need it.
Taylor Swift has become a household name in the U.S., being a very famous singer-songwriter. Her song lyrics often take inspirations from her personal life, and it has drawn extensive critical praise and media coverage. She entered the country music industry in 2006 with her eponymous debut studio album. Then she rose to mainstream fame with her second album, Fearless, in 2008.
She shifted to pop music with her fifth studio album in 2014 and expanded the electropop sound on her next two studio albums in 2017 and 2019. The four albums produced a string of international top-five singles. She has become one of the best-selling music artists.
Her accolades include 11 Grammy Awards, 28 Guinness World Records, 32 American Musis Awards, and 23 Billboard Music Awards. She ranked eighth on Billboard’s Greatest of All Time Artists Chart in 2019. Also listed on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time in 2015.
Her legacy continues on and on. However, with this huge amount of success, Taylor still gets stage fright when she’s not sure if the crowd will love her or hate her. “I do get nervous, but only if I’m not sure what the audience thinks of me, like at award shows,” she said in 2011. “I never look down at the front row! My hero watching me equals nerves!” But is there anyone out there who thinks lowly of her anyway?
Ariana Grande is an American singer and actress. Throughout her career, she has received numerous accomplishments including two Grammy Awards, one Brit, two Billboard Music Awards, three American Music Awards, nine MTV Video Music Awards, and 22 Guinness World Records.
She is perhaps the ultimate pop star of the last half of the 2010s, capturing the time’s spirit and style. Also, she holds several Billboard Hot 100 chart records. She is also the only artist to have five number-one debuts, five number one singles debut at the top spot, three number one-debuts in one calendar year, and all lead singles from each of her first six studio albums debut in the top ten. Her first six full-length albums have been certified platinum or multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Grande is the most streamed female artist ever in Spotify and Apple Music. And had been most followed solo female artist on the former and YouTube. She has been on Time’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2016 and 2019 and on Forbes Celebrity 100 in 2019 and 2020. Billboard honored her as “Woman of the Year” in 2018, the greatest pop star of 2019, and the most accomplished female artist to debut in the 2010s.
Aside from music, she has utilized her platform to promote gender, racial, and LGBT equality. She has been the most followed woman on Instagram since 2019. Despite her success and huge following, the pop superstar, though, still gets nervous performing on stage. She was nervous about performing at the 2014 MTV VMAs! “I’m super anxious before these kinds of things because it’s so nerve wracking,” she revealed. And she was particularly “terrified” to sing on stage after the Manchester Attack in England in 2017.