So You Wanna Be A Pro Singer?

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...Sing With Untrained Voices 

As I rack my brain for pro singer friends who have not studied, I come up with very few. On average, we’ve studied for several years or more (and go back for tune-ups) and employ methods to keep our voices healthy and strong. Some singers say they don’t want teachers to “mess them up.” I believe that a voice teacher who is right for you will only help enhance your innate mojo…and help obliterate any bad habits you may have picked up.

 

...Play An Instrument…Or Not

To paraphrase Sir Francis Bacon: Musical knowledge is power. Singers who sing well and know some music theory are good singers. However, singers who play an instrument (even at a beginner’s level) have a distinct advantage. So please learn a chordal instrument, like piano or guitar. Then search Youtube for old videos of Aretha Franklin playing and singing.

 

...Sing All Day, Tra La La

I wish! We take voice lessons, music theory classes, learn and practice musical instruments, warm up our voices, work out, dance, listen to music, learn songs, look for gigs, go to friends’ gigs, join unions, send out CDs/EPKs, schmooze, follow up on leads, learn programs like Pro Tools so we can record at home and do countless other things to insure that we keep on being professional singers.

 

...Work For Themselves, Answering To No One

We all work for somebody. Even if we sing on a subway platform, we need commuters to give us money. That’s why professional singers arrive at gigs 15 minutes early, with memorized material (if applicable), a warmed-up voice, a silenced cell phone, an attitude of gratitude (even if a pigeon dropped a number 2 on their head upon arrival at said gig—been there, cleaned that) and a smile for everyone at the show, session or subway stop. FYI: if you’re recording at your home for a client, send a little thank-you note afterward. Why? Firstly: you didn’t say thanks in person. Secondly: clients appreciate thankful people, and a small gesture of professional courtesy could translate into more work for you.

 

...Never Worry About Where Their Next Gig Will Come From

True, the economy is bad. And your point…?

Here’s my point: singers are still singing. Music is still being made. People are still going to parties, weddings, sailing on cruises and buying CDs and concert tickets. Ironically, in bad economic times the entertainment industry tends to flourish, since people are looking to forget their troubles for a few hours.

Life brings no guarantees. Imagine if you chose a career you didn’t love simply for the paycheck, stayed in it for 20 years and still had nothing to show for it due to a bad economy. Then what? Well, you might wind up sitting at a concert, listening to some wonderful singer who’s helping you forget your troubles! Hmmm….

Now go forth, get busy, go pro…and sing your hearts out and your a**es off!

miniBIO: Jaime Babbitt has worked with her voice at: club, corporate, wedding and original gigs and toured with Leon Russell. As a NYC session singer, she “jingled” for Coke, Pillsbury, Chevy and lots more. Babbitt sang BGVs with George Strait, Courtney Love, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Webb, Rita Wilson, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Miley & Billy Ray Cyrus, Johnny Mathis, etc. She has coached voice and performance for Disney Records and coaches privately in Nashville and Los Angeles. Her new book for Alfred Publishing, Working With Your Voice: The Career Guide to Becoming a Professional Singer, is available here 

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