The 10 Steps to Starting Out as a Singer!
When I started out a singer many moons ago, before I achieved my dreams of performing all over the world, taking bookings from the best agents in the country and performing on TV and at festivals for 40,000 people with my band and as a soloist, I didn’t have a clue, I was utterly clueless in fact!
My career began when an agent bought a dog from my mum and my “proud mum” was telling them about me! Before you know it, I auditioned and went from there! Clueless with dreams and hopes of becoming successful but without an idea of how. I searched relentlessly online, asked advice from singers and other agents (many who took advantage) and over the next 13 years worked my way up through the ranks the hard way. I wish I knew then what I know now.
So I have compiled this article (which is vast) and it contains all of the starting out advice that I needed then (that took me so very long to learn) to get my career to where it is now. (I’m not famous, I’m not the best, but I love my career.) I have achieved some amazing dreams and most importantly I absolutely love the world of entertainment and best of all, I get paid to do what I love! You can too and I would love to help you! For more advice on any of the below, to receive guidance contact me 01494 682800 or email email@example.com
I am presuming that you can already sing, may have had lessons (always a bonus,) if you haven’t, I suggest you get some, you will need them to teach you how to breathe and warm up correctly at least. I am also presuming that you have a good voice and that you are wanting to make a semi-professional or professional career out of singing. I am not talking about being famous here, I’m talking about making a start to becoming a successful singer who performs at venues, weddings and corporate events around the world.
Many people think singing is just singing! They don’t see what’s involved to make a successful career out of performing. They don’t see the work that goes into it to ensure you are recommended and rebooked time and time again.
There are things you can do to develop your career and progress so that you can achieve your dreams and goals of performing for some of the best clients, celebrities and some of the best venues in world! You don’t just become a “corporate singer” or a “wedding singer” overnight, you need to work hard and gain experience. You need to pick the right agents to work with. Below are some starting tips to get you on your way.
1. Pick the Songs!
Choose at least 2 hours’ worth of songs to suit you and the market you want to target. For example if you are looking to perform at wedding breakfasts make sure you pick songs to suit them, like easy listening, chill out or vintage style songs are in fashion at the moment.
2. Buy a good quality pa system.
Make sure you phone all the companies, DJ KIT are always very helpful in advising you what PA system to buy to suit what audiences. On average PA systems need to be powerful enough to suit audiences up to 300 people. Any more than that, the client will usually provide their own.
3. Practice practice practice!
Learn all of the songs so that you know them standing on your head. At your first gig especially if you get pre gig nerves, at least you will know that you are fully confident in the songs you are performing and can pick up from any point!
4. Buy some stage outfits
You will require outfits that suit what you are doing, but also outfits that not every other person can buy on the high street. You need to look glam and stand out at every performance. For consultation, contact a member of the Franklin James team who can recommend the right people to advise you on the best look to suit you!
5. Book a photo shoot
Don’t let companies rip you off with this, it doesn’t have to be overly expensive. You want a high quality photographer who can do on location or studio images, edit them and put them into memo stick or send via Dropbox etc.
You need someone who can direct you and help you achieve the perfect look that reflects what you do and attracts the customers you want to perform for! Franklin James have a fantastic in house branding team on board who can provide services to create the perfect image, publicity and guidance on the above.
It is important that you get this right from the start, you need to have a consistent theme, like with any marketing that reflects your brand and attracts the right audience.
In the meantime whilst you are practicing and getting your publicity ready you should be going out watching lots of other live performers, getting a feel for how it works and what you like and what you don’t!
6. The Video!
The video should be 2-3 mins long, not more than that. Most agents and people interested in booking you would prefer to seeing something that has been filmed live. Sometimes this is difficult as you want to achieve excellent sound quality and excellent footage. You would be best doing 2 live, and 1 or 2 in a studio or in a professional setting. Do not send a video to an agent of you performing in your local pub, with muffled sound and people talking, not unless that’s the type of gig you want to aim for? A bride would want to see you performing your style perhaps at another wedding, or in a beautiful setting somewhere that is in-keeping with where they might get married. Make it easy for them to imagine you performing at their wedding or venue.
The video is one of the most important things to have. I can tell my clients and wedding couples how great and wonderful an act is, ive seen them, ive worked with them for years etc, however if I can’t send them a video, especially in this day and age, they don’t want to know!
Franklin James have an in-house team who can create and edit videos for you, or alternatively we can recommend alternative reputable video production companies outside of Franklin James to you.
You then need to upload them to Youtube. The ones you send to agents for them to use to promote you, must not NOT NOT have any of your contact details on, otherwise the client/venue/wedding couple may just contact you directly without ever speaking to the agent and you are less likely to be featured on the agents site!
The videos you are using to promote yourself, can have your details on of course.
7. Putting your Publicity Package Together
In order for you, agents and promoters to sell yourself, you will need to put together an excellent quality publicity package that you send out to agents and for enquiries. This should include a biography, a list of the songs you perform, 2-3 quality professional images (not taken on your IPhone in the toilets on a night out, believe me it’s been done) and 2-3 good quality videos of you performing!
Many agents and people interested in booking you, want a shortened version of information that sells you. The biography, it needn’t be about what age you fell in love with music, or what age you won your first competition. It should be information about now, information about you that sells you to your target audience. Make sure spellings and grammar are always correct when writing your biog. It needn’t be more than 400 words, more than that loses their attention!
Make sure you include 2-3 testimonials and anything prestigious that you have achieved or prestigious clients/venues you have performed at. If you’re just starting out, then this is difficult, but that’s not to say that you can’t keep updating your biography as you go along. For now, if you are starting out, make sure you promote and sell yourself well. Many times acts have just sent me a link to their website and sometimes if the information isn’t in front of me, I haven’t got time to go trawling through websites to take a look further. Furthermore what’s worse is when acts send all of this publicity on Facebook message. Its not professional. It’s just not! Introduce yourself on social media yes, but always be professional and send your publicity via email.
Publicity that gets sent in the post nowadays just gets put in the bin! Sorry, it’s the truth.
No one wants to scan or type up someone’s biography again. If agents want to work with and promote you, it’s easier if they have all the info to upload to their sites from one simple and professional email.
The rest is straight forward. If you would like a member of the Franklin James team to help you put a publicity package together, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us to discuss on 01494 682800 and we will be happy to help.
8. The Website & Social Media
In this day and age having a website is standard and there is no excuse for not using social media as a free platform to promote yourself. A wordpress website that is smart phone friendly and easy to use is essential. The website should not cost you thousands, or even more than a few hundred pounds to begin with…. But it’s good to show a professional, up to date and modern website that advertises you to a larger audience.
Social Media – it’s free, it’s the platform for potential huge success. You should never ever place negative things upon your professional performance profile, and make sure that you keep your singing/performance page separate to your personal one! I have a friend who is the queen of Social Media, Lisa Hart, look her up! Or Stuart Michaels is another one who knows how to get a great and honest reaction from his friends and followers. Look them both up! They are well established and brilliant acts who know this industry.
This can be tricky. Keep in mind that you are just starting out! However, NO ONE SHOULD BE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF! There are many agents out there who would see a BRILLIANT vocalist and entertainer, tell them they can get them work for £100 per gig and use that singer to their advantage! Until one day, you the singer gets to see other acts performing and realise that you are far better and are earning less money! If this happens, you won’t be working for the agent anymore! Its important that you set your standards right, set them high. Decide on the type of bookings that you want. If you are starting out then it may be worth doing some local gigs to make sure you have everything correct and your confidence and performance up to scratch before you get out there. However, don’t just accept gigs from agents because you feel you have to! If you don’t want to perform at some places, then you don’t have to! If you have the right publicity to advertise yourself to the corporate or wedding market that you choose, then you should after gaining some experience be able to be guided and pushed to obtain these bookings. Obviously we all have to start somewhere, but don’t under price yourself if your good and if you have taken the time to get your act and publicity perfect.
The best way to get prices to phone Franklin James or perhaps get prices off other acts and agents who may be willing to help you, who may be performing similar style/venues to you. Ideally call us, we will guide you in the right direction always. We would never ever take advantage, I have had this done to me when I started and certainly wouldn’t wish it upon anyone else!
10. Getting work!
Find sites online that advertise showcases. Look up the showcases and see what reviews they have. Ask around and attend. Make sure you prepare properly.
Send your publicity package to agents by email. Then always follow up with a call (otherwise it may just get filed!) (Deleted)! Example of format below.
Find out where your potential clients hang out online and go there! Post there, interact, advertise etc.
Get some business cards made to give out for re-bookings at your gigs.
For more information on how to obtain bookings or for a quick short consultation session to prepare for your audition or showcase, one of our team will be happy to advise and help you. Or call me on 01494682800 email me personally email@example.com
Finally, be proactive, always keep up to date and with the times. Make sure you are posting regularly on your social media pages and keeping your website up to date with news and recent prestigious performances. A great example of a professional vocalist who does this is the Brilliant Chelsea Reynolds, you can view her page here: https://www.franklin-james.co.uk/live-music/female-vocalists/chelsea-wedding-singer/
If you would like to receive more information and guidance from professional industry experts on how to become a professional singer, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01494682800 we would love to hear from you.
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If any acts or agents have anything to add to this we would love to hear from you. The more we can do to help people starting their careers, the better!
Best of luck, remember, we are just an email or phone call away. I hope that my 10 steps to starting out as a singer help you on the way to achieving success!