So why do singers close their eyes when their singing? Very interesting question right? I’ve always thought about this as well so I decided to do some research.
As a youngster, I first noticed singers closing their eyes while performing in the church. I simply put it up to them being in the spirit and give it no further thought. Then later I found and noticed the same behavior with other popular non-religious singers.
I also noticed people around me doing the same and sometimes even caught myself closing my eyes when trying to reach high/complicated notes.
In this article, we’ll look at some reasons why this happens and why people from all backgrounds close their eyes when singing. So let’s jump right in.
10 serious & not-so-serious reasons why people close their eyes when they sing.
Here below are listed in no particular order, some reasons why professional or amateur singers alike, close their eyes when they sing.
1. To get in the zone
This is the first reason that comes to mind. Closing your eyes eliminates one extra sensory use and dedicates that brain processing power to the act of singing. Your brain can switch off from processing what you see to actually helping you reach the high levels of tone and sound that you are hoping for.
This is probably the most likely reason why people of all backgrounds, professions and environments do this. We all want to get into a state of flow. It’s a unifying factor and a trait we may all have. We do the same when you try to focus on something to remember.
2. To concentrate
There is good reason to want to be completely concentrated when singing, especially in more complex parts of the song you singing. You will notice that many periods in which a singer closes the eyes are followed by a particular part of a song. Concentration helps singers control their breathing, notes, chord changes and voice.
3. Proper enjoyment
A singer may get to a specific part of the music where they thoroughly enjoy it, hence they close their eyes and soak it all in. Everyone does this. Even listeners. It’s all part of trying to enjoy the music to the fullest.
4. Stage fright — Self-consciousness
It’s normal to have stage fright. Most people are not super social, charismatic or confident, and being on stage with everyone’s eyes on you does not help. Closing your eyes during such performances may help reduce the feeling of self-consciousness that comes when one is aware they are being looked.
5. To look cool and in control — Not horrified
Another fun one from the Internet. While singing, if your mouth is wide open and your eyes are open too, you just look horrified. Closing your eyes takes that away, making you look cool and in control of things.
Singing is no easy business and can be very tiring as it takes physical and emotional effort to give a good performance. Once tired, singers may just close their eyes and power through the rest of the song.
7. Catch up on some sleep
Yeah, maybe this is not totally serious, but you won’t know how good a few minutes of closed eyes can do for you when you are tired. Professional singers may turn on their “singing autopilot” and have a short snooze on stage. Leave this to the professionals though. It takes years of practice to achieve, so don’t try this at home.
8. Blinding stage lights
If you’ve ever been on stage, with spotlights following your every move, you’ll truly understand that it’s no laughing matter. This is why most performers use shades.
Not because they want to be cool (ok, yeah, some do want to look cool) but because the light is too damn bright. If the singer has forgotten their sunglasses at home, there may be times when the only option they’ll have to escape the light is to close their eyes.
9. To block out unimpressed looks of horror, disgust and envy
Yeah, singers do tend to deal with these as well. Seeing facial reactions to your singing may throw you off, especially if those looks are not too encouraging. Closing your eyes in this situations will teleport you into your own world, where nothing external to it matters.
10. Imagine a big audience — day dream
Following up on the last point of closing out the looks of hate, singers may also want to close their eyes and imagine to be performing in front of a stadium full of adoring fans, or even just a handful of happy, impressed and supportive people. This is the ultimate dream of every performer.
11. To see the lyrics tattooed inside their eye lids
Here’s another fun one from the internet. Obviously, it’s not a serious one, but closing ones eyes, may actually pull up the lyrics in the minds eye. Not just the lyrics, but a whole host of cool stuff can be seen with ones eyes closed as your imagination takes over. It is also when the musician may wing it and improvise, when they actually forget the lyrics.
12. Eyes stinging from a band mates poor hygiene
Well most bands, especially on tour, may not have personal hygiene as a priority as they shift from show to show with little time other than for catching a few hours of sleep. While this point is another fun/joke one from the Internet, don’t underestimate what the lack of personal hygiene can cause.
To hear better – Bonus point
Closing your eyes does help you hear better. Great hearing is one of the most developed skills in people who have little or no eye sight. It’s the next sense in line after seeing, so if seeing is not available, the brain focuses on hearing better as a survival trait.
Closing your eyes will help you hear the music, yourself, the band, the atmosphere and will help a singer get the best out of their performance.
Is it OK to sing with your eyes closed?
Yes, it is quite okay to close your eyes when you’re singing. You can see from the list above, that there is good reason to and that professional singers do it too. Whether it helps to get in the zone or simply to concentrate on putting out your best, closing your eyes while singing is okay.
It is advisable to not to close your eyes throughout the duration of the song though. This may actually get you lost in the flow and you might reopen your eyes in a confused state if you skip a beat.
I hope you enjoyed our 12 reasons why singers and people in general close their eyes when singing and had a bit of a laugh with our non-serious reasons too. Best wishes.