How to Become a Singer and What You Can Do Today to Make it Happen
Author: Gemma King
So, here’s the main problem
When people decide they want to become a singer is that they simply don’t know what to do next. Even if you have the talent to be the next big star, getting noticed by a record company, or anyone in the music industry can be tough! Many wanna-be singers don’t have the ‘inside information’, or contacts that are needed to ‘make it big’ in the music industry even though they know they have the talent to go all the way!
Don’t let your dreams pass you by
Most people sadly let their dreams of stardom pass them by without ever doing anything positive or constructive in order to achieve their goals and end up regretting later in life! It’s so easy to get caught up in the corporate ‘9 to 5’ grind that dominates the modern world and miss out on doing what you really want to do. If you truly want to be a singer, believe in yourself and make that promise to yourself now that you will go for it. You will need to take positive steps, and the first positive step I want you to make is to read this entire article. I promise you won’t regret it!
First, I want to examine the top 3 ways in which many talented (and some not so talented) people, try, and fail to get noticed every year…
American Idol / X-Factor…
There can be only one American Idol / X-factor winner every year, and there are only a few people who have ever had a career longer than 1 year even after winning the competition. The person who came second is instantly forgotten. So if you are serious about a career in the music industry then you won’t want to rely on TV competitions to be your only way of getting noticed.
Demos that just get thrown away…
You can always send of stacks of demos to record companies and other people in the industry, but since everyone’s personal computer is capable of producing a ‘demo’ these days there is no real value in a demo these days. How is your demo going to stand out from the pile that these companies receive every single day? The reality is that most demos go straight in the bin when they haven’t even been listened to! Is it really worth spending lots of money on recording your demo when very few people will listen to it?
Auditions where you don’t get a chance to show your talent…
You could always go to auditions, however you are rarely given an opportunity to showcase your talent, as a judgement is made about your looks as soon as you walk in the door. Even if you are clearly the most talented singer on the day, if your look isn’t exactly what they are looking then you will be unsuccessful. These endless chain of auditions can get pretty disheartening after a while, and if you don’t live near a major city (and I mean New York, London or Los Angeles), it can get pretty costly to attend these auditions.
The thing is that record companies ARE always looking for the next big artist to come along, as this means lots of money for you and for them.
The problem is how do you get out there and get noticed…?
You come off stage one evening, and one of the audience comes up to you and says, “Hi, my brother works as a manager for “some famous band” and he’s always telling me to look out for new acts that he might be able to manage. When I heard you start singing I just knew I had to tell him about you, so I phoned him up and let him listen to you sing, and he’s asked me to give you his number, can you call him tomorrow?”
So you gladly accept this number and call this guys brother up. You arrange to send off the demo you recorded a few weeks earlier when a couple of musicians who had seen you performing wrote some songs for you because they thought you were great! Your demo is now not getting thrown in the bin at the record company, but being passed around the bosses who want to see you perform.
You then get invited to perform for these record company bosses, and because you’re an experienced and confident performer, you give the show of your life and before you know it you have a record contract.
It’s all about making contacts…
Ok, so you’re probably thinking ‘that all sounds a bit too easy’ or ‘but surely it doesn’t happen like that in the real world’. Well, I’m 24 years old, and I’ve been a professional solo singer since I was 20, and I’m currently in negotiations with a company regarding my first album release. I’ve been offered three record deals in the past however I’ve ultimately turned them down due to artistic differences. However, all the contacts I’ve made over the last 4 years have come from being out there performing. I’ve met other singers, songwriters, agents, managers and like in the example I’ve used above, family members of major recording industry managers.
Now you can choose one of three paths…
- You can do nothing about your dream, and look back in 20 years and ask yourself why you didn’t go for it when you had the opportunity!
- You can take your chance applying for TV shows, attending auditions and sending off demos. But you know the reasons why these methods rarely work, even for the most talented singers.
- You can put yourself out there on stage and perform, get yourself noticed, build up your contacts in the industry and make things happen for yourself.
Get out there and people WILL listen to you!
So I really hope you’ve gone for 3. Now make the decision to make it happen! What is stopping you?
- ‘I can’t just give up work, I need the money?’ – Of course you shouldn’t give up work. You can sing as much as your voice can handle or as little as you need to to fulfil other commitments you have! Oh, and you’ll probably find the extra cash handy too!
- I’m still at school, aren’t I too young?’ – No way! School is a great place to do musical stuff. It’ll be really easy to get a band together and there will be plenty of places that you can play!
- There are loads of ways to get yourself out there and work as a singer, I started out doing just a couple of gigs a month while I was working during the day, although after 3 months I was earning nearly twice as much from singing as I was from my day job, so I quit! Now, I spend my Monday mornings having a nice long lie in, rather than stuck in traffic!
People LOVE musical entertainment, here are just a few examples of place you can play!
- Corporate Events
- Weddings, Birthdays and other private parties
- Live Entertainment Venues
The list goes on…
There are also endless possibilities when it comes to your act…
- A Solo Singer
- Part of a Duo
- Vocal Group
- Full Backing Band
You are really only limited by your imagination…
There is ALWAYS work out there for good singers!
The thing is that there are lots of people who are very average singers out there who earn a good amount of cash from singing like this…and the people who pay these people are fed up of paying for average singers and are willing and eager to pay great money to hire great singers like you!
There are loads of ways to get out there and make money but there is more to it than just going into your local live music venue and asking to sing! In the box below I’ll be looking at some of the things you’ll need to have thought about before you head out there on stage!
Here are some things you’ll need to consider…
- Will you be a solo singer or a band? – It can be easier starting out as part of a band, but being a soloist also has some major advantages? Of course you can always do both!!
- What kind of music will you sing? – You can pretty much sing whatever type of music you want. But you’ll need to think about what type of music your audience will want to hear!
- Your first gig – an exciting and nerve-wracking occasion…and you’ll want to make it go right, how will you go about this?
- What kind of equipment will you need and how will you use it? – At a very basic level you need to know a bit about microphones and what is the right way to sing through a microphone…its very different to singing without one!!!
- How will you put your set together? – You can just go out there and sing your songs in a random order, but you’ll stun audiences if you take the time and put it together properly!
- How will you find work? – You’ll want to find an agent, and there are agents out there who will want you on their book, trust me!
- What venues will you be working in? – As a singer you will need to approach different venues slightly differently.
So there you go…just a few things to think about. Of course there are other things, rehearsals, what to wear, promotional photographs etc…
Unfortunately, most people just go out there and don’t even think about half the stuff that I’ve talked about, and end up giving pretty bad, poorly presented shows. Trust me, I often work with other singers and the vast majority of them are simply not very good! These singers quickly get themselves a bad reputation, get fewer gigs, and less money as a result. It’s a real shame when people who have great voices and fantastic potential fail to think about these easy to avoid problems, and basically destroy their singing careers before they even start!
Of course this can all be avoided!
In my spare time I work as a vocal coach, and I often get asked by my students how to go about starting a career in singing. I decided to write a series of articles. These proved very popular, and so I decided to expand them, add some new chapters and turn them into a website. So check out www.becomeasinger.net
Thanks for reading,
About the Author
Gemma King is a professional singer who writes about singing on her website becomeasinger.net