May 9, 2016 Anna Russell

Singers – are you bringing your best self?

As a vocal agency we are committed to ensuring that our clients are presented with the best suited vocalists for their needs, whether this be as a featured artist on a track, a session or backing vocalist job, or performing live on worldwide tours. We need to be sure that anyone we are putting forward is right for the job. But we also need to ensure that same person is prepared for the job – that they will be bringing their best self to each and every project. As an aspiring or professional singer, we assume that you are equally committed to being your best self. But what does that actually mean as a vocalist?

Undoubtedly, you must have the ability to sing – whether your voice is strong and powerful, soft and sweet, honed through years of training and experience, or a raw talent which provides the basis for a promising career. However there is so much more to being a successful vocalist than this. Indeed, each and every one of you will be working with a different skill set and part of being your best self is in identifying your strengths and working to these as much as possible, whilst also bolstering any perceived ‘weaknesses’  and plugging the gaps in your knowledge. Those who feel that being the ‘best’ singer is enough would be mistaken.

Obviously there are the practical musical skills you may possess to be considered – for example, are you practising as regularly as you could be? Can you read music? Do you sight sing? Is your ear as keen as it could be? Do you play any other instruments? Do you have formal music training or qualifications? Furthering your musical education can only ever be a good thing.

Then there is the preparation you can do specific to each individual project you work on. Have you researched the producer/musical director/artist/client you are working with, so that you understand their taste, requirements and method of working as much as possible? Have you asked if there is anything they may like you to learn or prepare in advance? Have you listened extensively to the genre you will be working in to ensure you are familiar with it? This is key to making the client feel that you are invested in the project, even if it is not your main gig.

How about your health? Do you know how to look after your voice effectively? Have you taken steps to avoid doing damage to your vocal chords? Are you keeping fit, ensuring that you have the stamina to sing extensively? Are you avoiding the food and drink that cause either clogging or dehydrating your throat? Do you smoke? Have you considered the impact that your mental health can have on your voice? We are strong believers that the two are intrinsically linked.

Last but certainly not least, something every singer can do is to ensure that they are practising professionalism at all times. More often than not we find our clients will opt for singers who are reliable, deliver consistently, arrive on time, are easy to work with, pleasant to be around, keen to learn, enthusiastic to be involved, respond to communication quickly, and come prepared – over those who no doubt have incredible voices, but bring less of these desirable assets to the table. A positive and proactive attitude will always attract more work for a vocalist.

There is a lot to consider and in future newsletters we will be exploring each of the above areas in more detail. In the meantime, we would ask you to consider where there may be room for improvement in your own practice? Are you bringing your best self? And – because we believe in taking consistent action in your professional development – is there something you can begin doing today (just one small step) towards achieving this?

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