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It's one thing to send a solo demo if you want solo work but how do you show off your ability to sing backgrounds? Two top session singers tell their stories.
Rock and roll is a big noisy emotional business and singers tend to rant and rave until their voices are shot. Singers often end up with vocal problems. Too often those problems are exposed in the press: shows canceled, recording dates postponed, bands replaced in tours because the singer had no voice.
By Lis Lewis
A singer is an artist. Whether you sing your own material or interpret other people’s, you’re bringing insight about life and your worldly perspective to your songs. You probably grew up singing to records, memorizing your favorite songs and the way your favorite singers sang them. But at some point you had to put away their versions and sing your own. What is your own version? How do you discover what makes you special? How do you make your voice a distinctive one?
Some people sound so much like the singers they admire, that they bring very little of their own interpretation to their singing. When you hear a truly distinctive voice, like Gwen Stefani, Macy Gray or Alanis Morissette, you know [...]
By Lis Lewis
A singer has an intense job. No matter what your mood, or how difficult your day, you need to be able to jump up in front of the audience and do a great performance. This means being able to sing the energized uptempo numbers as well as the blues ballads even if your day was right out of a soap opera. You must make a shift from your daily life into a state of mind that transcends the ordinary.
This state of mind is something you need to build. You probably already know what it feels like. It?s similar to how you feel when you are writing a song and the next thing you know, hours have gone by. Or, in performance, [...]
by Chris Standring
I watched a fabulous master class recently on PBS hosted by a vocal teacher at a music school. It put much of my thoughts into perspective on a subject I am constantly fascinated with.
The host had each of her students sing a song and then commented on their performance. One particular student sang and her immediate response was,
“We know you can sing well, but if you could just get past the singing we might all have a connection with you!”
Wow! What an amazing insight. This is something I come across all the time listening to singers and musicians, but never have I heard it put so articulately. Let me explain exactly what she meant by this; many artists may [...]
by Lis Lewis
I’m sitting in rehearsal watching a band. The singer is great – she plays guitar and piano (and she plays them both well!) and sings like an angel. The band is kicking butt. Great arrangements and solid playing. Why aren’t I jumping up and down? Something is seriously missing. It’s FEELING.
There are a lot of great bands with good songs in clubs across the country but only a very few will reach out to the audience in a way that grabs them by the throat and demands attention. Besides all the musical skill, the singer/frontperson has to mean what they’re saying. And what they’re saying has to resonate with the audience. You, the singer, have to look deeply inside yourself for [...]
Talented people with no concept of how to promote themselves, how to maximize their special artistic vision, how the music industry really works, etc., can lose their way and fall by the wayside. They are misled by people writing about the industry from outside the industry;
If you are an artist in a group of more than one person, then you should have a written agreement between the members of the group addressing the issues in the checklist below.
The late, great John Braheny, often called 'the songwriter's best friend', helps you understand how to collaborate.