When Bohemian Rhapsody first preview came out it aroused enormous enthusiasm. Millions of people were excited with the possibility of watching Queen’s story on the big screen. And now that the movie has become a worldwide blockbuster it is hard to find someone who hasn’t been touched by the band’s story and songs – which were a big hit in the 70s and 80s and are now back to everyone’s mind.
The band’s lead singer, Freddie Mercury, is the reason for all of this. Although he never thought of himself as the band’s leader, he was always the most charismatic member. His connection with the audience was so strong that even 27 years after his death, Queen’s hits have won the heart of different generations.
What enabled that connection? Here is a tip: self-knowledge and empathy. Two topics we talk about on SOAP’s blog every other post.
For now, a warning: there might be a few spoilers!
Self-confidence and training
The movie explores one of Freddie’s biggest virtues: self-confidence. At the beginning of the story, when he volunteers to replace the lead singer in the band that later became to be Queen, he rapidly shows his talent by belting out his voice to the delight of a young Brian May (lead guitarist) and Roger Taylor (drummer).
A little later, when he premiered on the stage of a small English pub, he overcame technical problems, such as not being able to adjust the microphone, winning the audience over. From that to singing to thousands of people in a football stadium was just a “leap”: Freddie always delivered a memorable performance.
The movie reveals his “power” was the result of a very thorough emotional coaching, which was already part of the singer’s personality. He was highly self-confident and knew himself deeply. But, on the other hand, he also paid attention to others – his ability for empathy was quite rare. By the way, this article gives some important tips concerning self-knowledge.
Now, how well do you know your audience? Do you study what your listeners’ habits and tastes are? These questions interfere with the outcome of a presentation.
The film also succeeds in screening bits when Freddie Mercury and the band interact with the public. Especially at Queen’s arguably most striking concert: Live Aid, which happened in 1985, in London.
During his performance, the lead singer managed to get the attention of hundreds of thousands of people for almost two minutes without playing any instrument or singing any song. He would just chant his famous “E-O” and the crowd would follow him in unisonous; then he began improvising and fooling around, and the public played along. The end of this presentation was a catharsis.
Interacting with the audience was as much a Freddie thing as it was a Queen thing. They composed the classic We will rock you with the purpose of getting the public to “play it”, becoming part of the band.
That shows, once again, how empathy and knowing the audience are important. By trying to understand what their fans wanted, Freddie Mercury and his partners provoked a feeling of belonging that turned their concerts into a masterpiece. People used to attend their show not to see or listen to them, but to experience them.
Let’s stop for a moment now and ponder: how could you do that with your professional presentation? What strategy could you create so your audience feels part of it and not just a supporting listener?
Now, we must mention the icing on the cake: Freddie Mercury stage presence. With a natural talent for picking up his outfit, he created his own mystic style, with intense and crazy choreographies, zestful piano performances, his iconic mustache and the microphone placed in the middle of the pedestal. This video provides a good example of what we are talking about:
At the end of the movie, we comprehend the key to ensure the connection between Freddie Mercury and his audience was emotion. His voice and his performance exuded his most intimate feelings, as if every concert was the last one. His fans felt he was genuine and responded to that. His candor enabled such a powerful bond towards the audience that it was impossible to be indifferent to him.
For all we have shared here, the story of this stage icon is very much worth knowing. Besides memorable songs, Freddie Mercury has left some valuable lessons on how to win the heart of an audience that you might – maybe dropping the king costume – replicate during your interactions with the public. But if besides using Freddie as a source of inspiration you want to learn more about state-of-the-art presentations, please talk to us here at SOAP!