The rapper reflects on the lessons he learned back when he was a touring newbie.
Along the way, the Minnesota-born rapper graduated from touring novice to road warrior with seven trips around the world to his name.
Now, as his nearly sold-out tour with collaborator bbno$ makes its way across North America ahead of the holidays, Yung Gravy takes a moment to share a handful of the crucial things that happened during his first tour that he quickly learned to avoid.
1. "I was just kind of giving [openers] the stage."
Back then, "I was putting all my friends on every show as openers, with local artists in those cities," he says. "Sometimes that would bring problems into the shows. There'd be beef with people, there'd be people who'd never performed [or] didn't know how to perform, and I was just kind of giving them the stage." But he soon realized that while those venues, "didn't really care that we were just kind of fucking around," people started talking. "I found out later that they definitely said a lot of things about what a Yung Gravy show was like."
What did he learn from that experience? "Everything reflects on you [when] it's your show."
2. "We totally just winged everything."
Early on, "I didn't really plan much," Yung Gravy says.
But when he, "stepped it up and got a new tour manager who had been doing tour management for $uicide Boy$ and Lil Peep," that pro opened his eyes. "He told me all these things that I hadn't really realized about touring, and things I had missed out on." For example, how he "didn't communicate to the [team] things that we were going to do during the show. I was guestlisting everyone I knew in every city, and just doing things that can reflect on you badly. So there was a bad reputation with my name that I didn't even know about... It took a while after that to make up for it."
3. "An important thing that I totally neglected at first was soundcheck."
"On that first tour, I just didn't even really know what soundcheck was, and didn't really give a f**k, so I would do all these shows without soundcheck. You can find all these videos of me screaming into the mic. My voice would sound really bad onstage.
"I think when it comes to touring, it's important to really make sure that you give people a good experience because it has a pretty long lasting effect on them. Over time, I've definitely seen a lot more return folks at my meet-and-greets, [including] people that will come to three tours in a row for the meet-and-greet. The amount of [fans] that return always increases. So I recommend to everybody that they put some time and money and focus into [soundcheck]."
4. "I didn't know how touring worked really."
"I just had a good agent who booked everything and the tickets sold because my song was popping," he says of his first tour, but he didn't have the right support. "Eventually I leveled up and now my show is just a completely different experience. I've made a legit set, my DJ and I plan everything out. Now, I have a... legit team, and I think that's pretty important if you're doing big rooms."