What does it take to make it in music industry? Learn how to be a professional singer and the five must-have qualities you need in this guest post by Brooklyn, NY teacher Liz T...
Being a professional singer is a career path you may have been dreaming of your whole life! Even with its ups and downs, it is a very rewarding career choice. Being a professional singer will not happen overnight (no matter how talented you are!), but here are some qualities you should strive for to ensure career success.
1. A “Go-Getter” Attitude
I hear so many singers complain about not getting gigs, not performing, or not writing as much as they should. My advice here is to be proactive! You can’t wait for opportunities to come to you; you have to put yourself out there and go find them!
Be proactive by going out on auditions, sending your headshot and resume to casting directors, and/or writing and recording a demo and sending it to label A&Rs. Stop wasting your time sitting at home, waiting for your phone to ring. Go out there and network! Whether it’s going to hear live music play or participating in a singing competition, you have to be a “go-getter” in this industry, always seeking out opportunities to perform. Every day you should be working on your craft and looking for auditions, places to play or record, and so on.
As I stated earlier, being a professional singer is not something you can just pick up overnight. It is something that you develop over time, with hard work, dedication, and patience. In every talented singer’s career, there have been slow times. Patience is the key to keeping healthy and focused while you are waiting for your career to unfold. You must have patience not only with yourself, but with others that you work with, whether it be musicians, musical director, or composers. If you do not have patience and come across as impatient, needy, or feisty, this may be a big turn-off to people in the industry.
3. Team Mentality
In this business you will be working and collaborating with many different people in different roles, such as other singers, writers, instrumentalists, producers, and technicians. No matter who you are dealing with, you must always stay professional. You have to be a team player, and work efficiently with others. Some of my best friends are also well-known industry artists/musicians, and this is because we have collaborated so well when working together in a musical environment. Sometimes, you may come across someone in the industry who is not pleasant to work with, and this may be very hard for you, but always remember that being a team player will always lead to success.
4. Eager to Learn
Having enough knowledge about your craft is important for singers. Knowing the repertoire you can sing, your vocal limits, and familiarity with other artists/composers is going to help you in this industry. It is a major turn-off in the industry when a singer knows nothing about their art or proper vocal technique. Spend the time and money working with a vocal coach and studying your craft to become the best possible singer you can be, as well as studying what’s happening currently in the music industry. Educate yourself!
As a singer, it will help for you to remain open when auditioning and working with other musicians. Don’t limit yourself by saying something like “I only sing classical music” — experiment with jazz, Broadway, R&B, and everything else. You never know what musical possibilities are in store for you. It’s also important to remain open to any feedback you may hear from an audition or someone just listening to your demo or performance. Everyone has their opinions, and you may not agree 100% with their critique, but being receptive to their ideas may give your voice and career a fresh new element.
I wish you all the success as a professional singer!
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!
Photo by Duca