Background Singer? How To Get Sessions & Move Up Ranks As A Vocalist

Background Singer? How To Get Sessions & Move Up Ranks As A Vocalist

Written by Jaron Lewis

Being a background singer is a lot like being a stunt actor; it requires a lot of stamina and control to make everything flow smoothly. More is expected of you than the head singer, as if you screw up it will ruin the performance and, because the head singer is typically the face of a group, more attention will be given to them and you will be expected to perform when asked.

Things To Consider

If you’re thinking about becoming a backup singer, consider the salary that will be available to you. The backup singer salary, for an established person, averages between 88k, however, if you aren’t established. This is a long-term goal that will be earned over the course of years. Many backup singers advise to keep your day job in the beginning as the jobs will be sparse. You will need to begin gaining a reputation as soon as you can and that can be achieved in a number of ways.

There’s the obvious of taking any job that comes to you. As previously stated, in the beginning jobs will be sparse, so getting any practice you can to meet anyone in the music business is a great start. In addition to the people you will meet at a live gig, be sure to network as well. As with many forms of work, getting a job is all about who you know.

It's All About Who You Know

Knowing the right people can save you a ton of headache and could possibly land you steady work. Because this is the 21st century, most professionals working for themselves have a music website to showcase their expertise. Setting up a website is easy, as tools such as WordPress or Squarespace allow you to create a website without coding, and distributing it to the gigs you apply to (or distribute at networking events) is a huge plus. Your site should have your profile which should be composed of a few elements.

Where To Start

First and foremost, you want a show reel. Show reels are recordings of you expressing your talent to the world. Typically, these are excerpts from songs of previous gigs instead of full songs. A good starting number is three to four tracks showing your full range and versatility. Try to have at least one track showing that you can harmonize and improvise. Next is a biography boasting your experiences and accomplishments. These experiences should be past gigs that have the name of the act you worked with and the place you sung at.

Make sure your separate gigs between venue types, such as on TV, on a movie or in a live performance. Although this is more important for live performers, having a photograph pus a name to a face and is just a good element to have on your profile. Make sure the photo is a professional and shows that you’re happy. Lastly, attention to detail is a vital skill of any backup singer as you will have to be extremely precise to copy or harmonize with another singer. If you’re not good at this, continue working at your musicality and technique. A good ear is invaluable in this industry.

In Conclusion

Becoming a backup singer is a wonderful and fun process. The work is rewarding and you can do it’s a great career to choose if you’re musically inclined. One last backing vocal tip, is to work on controlling your voice.

It’s one of the more important skills you need to have to succeed as a backup singer. Being a backup singer is also a wonderful first step if you want to become a head singer in the future. Look for background singers auditions to get started and, remember, never give up! Success is always just around the corner.



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