To pave your way as a professional singer you’ll need variety of traits and skills from punctuality to social media savviness. These are the things that get you noticed, that get you picked out from among the crowd and placed firmly on the stage. It’s vital that you get to know these traits and learn how to cultivate them before setting out to chase your dreams. The dream of becoming a professional singer is a dream known by many singers. But how exactly do you do it?
1. Always be well-prepared. This will most likely lead to more gigs. You never know who’s in the crowd watching you, so no matter how small the gig, when you get the chance to perform, deliver 100%!
2. Be top of mind. Whenever someone needs a singer, YOU should be the one they’re calling.
3. Create your own gigs. Don’t sit around and wait for others to call you. Be proactive!
4. Stage time. Always strive to get as much of this as you can. The more experience you have, the more confident you’ll be and the better you’ll perform.
Becoming a professional singer isn’t easy. As professional singers will tell you, it takes everything you’ve got. It’s all about constant innovation, guts, a willingness to learn and branch out while never giving up despite how much you might want to. With a bit of bravery and networking sprinkled on top you’re well on your way to making it big on the industry. If you want to find out how exactly to cultivate these traits that help you on your way to becoming the best professional singer that you can be, you just need to keep on reading.
So, you want to become a professional singer, or at least you’re dipping your toe into the great big sea that is the music industry. That takes guts, so you’re already over the first hurdle. What matters now, and what you’re probably wondering is “What do I do next?” The truth is that there’s no easy fix. Making a living off singing isn’t a walk in the park. The journey is often a long and multifaceted one with many ups and downs along the way. But there are some habits you can lead you on the right path, and plenty of tips and tricks to keep hidden up your sleeve for times of need. Here are just a few of them to quell your worries and get you one step closer to reaching your goals.
I don’t have the right look!
Listen, no singer has the “right look.” Think about it. If you saw a line-up of some of the most successful singers today, you wouldn’t notice a particular standard of beauty or aesthetic. This is because like any art, singing is subjective and a form of expression of the individual. What’s really important is creating an image of yourself that is true to you and sticking it. Consider it a brand of sorts, something that people will recognize you for. It may not be the most popular or “in” look at the moment, but trends are always changing, and people are always looking for people to set them! However, no matter what the look, it’s important that you look presentable and distinguishable, even if your look is being disheveled! The topic of image brings us nicely into our next point of how to get that image out there!
I can’t be successful if I’m not big on social media!
Yes, there is some truth to this statement. There will always be those venue managers that check the numbers on your profiles before even listening to you sing. There are also numerous talent scouts that are on the lookout for big follower counts with even bigger voices to back them up. Naturally then, you’ll find more door opening for you on your quest to be a professional singer as you garner more followers. So, you’re probably wondering how to make those numbers explode. It’s easy really. Record yourself doing what you love (singing!) and upload it to various social media sites e.g. Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and TikTok. Back it up with a cultivated and distinct image and you’ve got yourself the basics of success on social media. But the main key is to not slow down, the more you post, the more exposure you’ll get and the more your follower count will rise. Make your captions personal, show that you love what you do and are serious about it. You’ll bag yourself a few gigs in no time and you can only go up from there! However, even if you haven’t quite built up your social media repertoire yet and want to dive directly into gigging, the next tip might just be the one for you.
It’s not always about who you know in the music industry, but it can help to branch out and meet likeminded people in your local music scene. You’ll be aware of cover bands needing professional singers our local background gigs that you otherwise might never have heard of. Picking up a gig here or there is key when setting off as a professional singer. It may not shoot you to fame but it’s how almost every successful singer gets their grips in the industry. And it can easily help pay the bills as well, as long as you’re willing to work hard and put the time in. So, be courteous and friendly to those that you meet along the way, be sure to share your details and keep in contact with those that you meet. This can be especially easy to do for singers who so often are in need of support at gigs, whether it be a driver to get them there, someone to help them set up, or just someone to clap for them.
Be professional if you want to be a professional
Leading on from the previous point, it won’t be easy to make it anywhere on your own. A surefire way to be left out in the cold as a singer is to not be on time. Most music venues work on a tight schedule, it can be quite the headache for the already run-off-their-feet staff to accommodate for others tardiness. So, be sure to have your tracks ready in either a neat binder or preferably on a well-charged device. Be sure to have them organized and easy to sort through to minimize any time spent picking the right track. It’s also worth noting that showing up a bit early can work in your favor. Not only will this clinch you a reputation of being reliable and hard-working (more gigs for you!) you’ll have time to chill out, acclimate to your surroundings, and make sure set-up goes as smoothly as possible. So yes, singing may run in your blood and while it is the most enjoyable/easiest thing for you to do – if you want to make it work, you need to be serious sometimes.
Making a stand-out portfolio is hard these days
Making a stellar music portfolio has never been easy. And yes, with the incredible out-put of music these days it can be hard to give yours that special flare. However, this is your chance to look at what others are doing and decide what it is that makes you different from them. Making a promo package is also a surefire way to jump to the forefront of people’s minds. By putting together what is essentially a singing C.V. with all of your credentials, live videos, recordings, and pictures – you can advertise yourself effectively and swiftly without boring those you’re marketing to.
It’s impossible to get gigs for a beginner!
This simply isn’t true. There’s always small gigs to be found in cities, towns, and even rurally if you’re willing to travel far enough. Music is always needed somewhere, and you’re here to supply it. Don’t give up on yourself before you’ve even started and certainly don’t listen to every else’s lamentations. What would you rather hire for a gig: a negative, lackluster musician, or a passionate musician that’s full of life and ready to blow a crowd away with their voice? Be sure to keep in contact with local club/pup or venue managers. Unless you already have a large following when you’re starting out, they won’t come to you. You’ve got to put yourself out there, you’ve got to have your name and voice heard. What’s more is that you might see some gig opportunities advertised online, and you can be sure that others are hunting them down as well. Getting in there fast is a must and being on the ball when you get a reply is even more important. The moral of the story is that staying up-to-date and being visible will get you further than you believe.
And most importantly, keep practicing!
This tip may seem a little unnecessary to you, after all, you are a singer and it’s what you do best. But like with any instrument, the voice needs constant training and exercise. Signing often simply isn’t enough, some of the most successful singers credit their achievements and stamina to regular vocal lessons. Not only will they help you discover new aspects of your voice they’ll, more importantly, teach you how to be kind to your voice. The upkeep of your voice is easy to overlook when you’re trying to book the most gigs possible but keep in mind that you’ll need to rest every now and then. Attending vocal lessons will, of course, teach you the techniques that are right for your voice and allow you to keep on gigging on. Don’t fall at the first hurdle, voice fatigue is often cited as the main reason singers give up on trying to go professional. So, take your time and train your voice.
You’ve got the drive, you’ve got the dream, and now you’re equipped with the advice to succeed. All that’s left now is to take the first step and get yourself out there! Good luck on your rise to the top!