How to be a professional singer

How to be a professional singer

How To Be A Professional Singer

I sent this advice recently to a friend recently who was asking how to be a professional singer. She’s been in bands in the past, and is now looking at becoming a solo singer professionally.  She’s lost a lot of contacts, and a bit of confidence, so needed a hand on how the practicalities to the question how do you put an act together and market it? She emailed to say how helpful the information was, so hopefully it will be of use to anyone else, who is looking to ‘get into’ show-business. Or at least entertain for money to any decent degree. The advice would vary according to whether you are a live musician or need tracks. Good luck!

BACKING MUSIC

You can download great backing tracks from these sites – www.ameritz.co.uk  and www.karaoke-backingtracks.com

Play them on an ipad or a mini-pad. Get a clip on stand so your pad is attached to the microphone, right in front of you – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shik95vQNp4 And purchase some software to make your tracks more controllable (i.e stop start / large view etc). http://www.soundcueapp.com

GET A PROMO VIDEO

Do not spend a fortune! Unless you want a glossy professional video for high-end purposes – here’s my advice. Get someone (anyone) to take a few clips of you in various locations. You can be singing outside, in a pub, in a church hall. Or at an open mic night. Anywhere you can get film. Gather a few people together to create atmosphere. Or if it’s a gig without an audience (i.e. you’ve managed to borrow a room for a bit of filming), there are free tracks you can download (AMBIENT BACKGROUND / AMBIENT PUB SOUNDS) to overlay over the video for atmosphere. You only need about 10 seconds of a few tracks –  all edited together – ultimately, the promo only needs to be a couple of minutes long. (look at Celtic Clan’s video on our site for example) I use Windows Movie Maker and it’s simple! Just get your bits of film onto the computer. Open Windows Movie Maker. Import your film and then cut and move it around as necessary. I am not technical but managed to work it out, so you will too. NB Always make two different copies. One for your purposes, with contact details. And one for any agents you may work through in the future. This is called an ‘agent-friendly’ version – no phone numbers, contact details, website or signage. The agent needs to sell you via their business, and not allow the client to find you elsewhere. If all this sounds too daunting, I can recommend Midlands-based videographer John Purser – 07778 332488 for a truly professional result. Everything he does from video to music production to websites is excellent.

Alternatively – I can do you a Windows Movie Maker version – see our Celtic Clan audio/video below for an example of the type of result you’d get.

PHOTOS

Don’t get these done until you know how you want to portray yourself. What material are you doing? Who is your target audience? Look at agency websites for examples of your competitors and what they do (see below). When you know your ‘look’ get photos done. Again – either get them done on iphone, or if you want a good photographer that’s HUGELY reasonable, I recommend  John Purser (in Birmingham) again.  Look at his facebook page – ADAPTIVE FLAIR – in his pictures section are some photos of artistes he took.  Tel 07779 332488. Another great photographer is Joe Purches who is based in mid-wales. www.aytonwest.com

RECORDINGS

You won’t need many to start with – just 3 – 4 songs/tunes. Book a studio (should be around £30 per hour max) and take in your tracks. They will be mixed professionally and give you a much better chance. In London there is John Hamilton – EQ Studios – www.eqstudios.co.uk In the Midlands try Grey at Priory Studios – www.prioryrecordingstudios.co.uk Go into the studio prepared. Do all your rehearsing beforehand, so you don’t waste your time (and money)! Make sure the material doesn’t replicate what’s on your video – keep it varied.

EXPERIENCE

If you don’t have experience, get some! Charity functions are always looking for people to work for free. This way, you can gain experience, do some good, and get some photos/video clips whilst you’re at it!

BIOGRAPHY

A short biog for agents is all you need. Here’s an example: Sarah has a huge variety of experience – from  singing at (PRESTIGIOUS VENUE), through to (WHATEVER) , she’s entertained audiences of all ages with her eclectic repertoire. From 1950s jazz classics through to ballads, pop and original material, Sarah is  ideal for wedding receptions, drinks parties, afternoon teas, cruises and lots more. Indeed – anywhere you need an atmosphere creating). Just look at what people have to say: (Then insert Feedback.. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)

WEBSITE

You won’t need one if you just use an agency. If you do want one I’d recommend either John Purser (above)  or David at www.idesign4u.co.uk DO NOT get fooled into spending thousands! You should get something very functional for between £350 – £600. You will need to purchase a web domain (try www.123-reg.co.uk) – something that reflects your offering. i.e.

Your domain is your web name how people will locate you on the internet. Once your website is designed, it will need maintaining. Unless you know what you’re doing (really well) – then pay a designer to build and maintain your site. It’s the only way to keep it working properly for you. Around £25 per month should cover it.

AGENTS

A good agent will take 15% from your fee. They work differently, so check terms and conditions. But they are an invaluable source of work – Celtic Clan gets lots of gigs from these agencies:

GOOD LUCK in your new career. It’s tough but achievable.

And just as an aside, if it all seems too difficult, I offer an act-start up service that can take much of the burden off you. Anything from biog writing to coming out to film you performing and putting together the video.  Contact me on ruthe_graham@hotmail.com