How to Start a Singing Career: A General Point of View

Being young and confident, it’s easy to feel invincible and ready to conquer the world. You’ve seen those competitors at American Idol coming in for an audition with so much conviction that they’re going to make the cut only to be booted out of the room. Yeah, but let me tell you this. Making a career to be a singer is not a walk in the park. That’s a simple truth some may deny. Not to worry, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll walk you through one of the ways on how to start a singing career.

A Bit of History That’s Repeatable

It wouldn’t be fair if I start talking about how to write an article like this one if I haven’t done it myself, right? That, I guarantee you’d be bobbing your head in agreement. How far it brought me is another day’s story.

Here, I can just have you click and read this for more details if you’re up for a nap. Kidding aside, you’ll see it started on my 2nd grade when I figured out how to harmonize through repetition. Aah, hmm, if I recall, repetition means over and over again, right? Hint, hint.

It was fun, I loved it so much that eventually sustained the curiosity for more. Nothing short of a career back then. Seriously? Nah, but you see, it was where it all began. It naturally came from within because I was loving every bit of it.

Wanting to sing remains to be the force inside to compel me to dream for the unimaginable. I started this website where I can express my love for it and share my experiences. Hey! you’re here reading it! That is awesome! I have some cool ideas for the future that can only expand for greater things. What a privilege that is. A pat on the back is well deserved! Wake me up, will you? I think I’m still dreaming.

Alright, I’m awake. I know for a fact that things aren’t always the way they should be for you, but hey, does that mean you’ll be in the same situation forever? There’s a quote that says, “It’s not the blowing of the wind that matters, but it’s the set of the sail”. You set your direction no matter what the wind of circumstances there maybe.

Here are some of the key things that you could emulate to get started.

Note that this isn’t going to be technical. This deals with the mindset of getting you started, not a be-all and end-all kind of thing.

Set Your Goal and Have a Plan

Like in any other undertaking, we hear it all the time: Decide what you want to do with your life and go for it. We’re obviously talking about a singing career here, so set a goal and device a plan. Put it on paper, write it down. Setting goals and making plans are out of our scope, but find your way around, you have all the resources in the world in front of you.  I can’t imagine having excuses anymore with the convenience of getting the information you need at your fingertips on a keyboard.

You must set the path you want to take. Saying you want to have a career is vague.

Do you like to be on your own or with a group? A studio musician or a live performer? Opera or Pop? A backup singer or a lead singer in a band? A choral ensemble member that tours around the world or with a prestigious choir that only performs locally? The possibilities are endless

Your path could be one of the following.

  • Wedding performer – Adam Sandler started as one
  • Backing vocalist – Mariah Carey began in the early years
  • Broadway singer – Meryl Streep landed a big break as a start
  • Session singer – Actress/singer Susan Boyd is one
  • Voice Over – A lot of big-name celebrities are in animated movies
  • Country music – Remember Johnny Cash, now Blake Shelton
  • Diva (opera) – Cecilia Bartoli if you’re up for the challenge.
  • Lead (frontman) – Piece o’cake if you’re one of the above

Becoming a wedding singer seems a legit choice.

 

To know more about the finer details on becoming a professional musician, head over to this page to know more about musician and singer career, salary, and education information.

 

Here’s an ambitious and daring choice.

Being Confident – Believe that You have What it Takes

Some singing abilities can be inherited by being exposed to experiences from around you early on, but it’s actually learned by immersing yourself with what’s required of you to succeed.

In other words, it is very intentional – hard work, consistency, developing the confidence and belief in yourself that you are capable, make you invincible and nothing will get in the way to your dream.

Confidence is crucial to your journey and the lack of it can lead to anxiety. This will manifest its effects on your body and can ruin your drive to carry on.

Everything starts from there. Without these qualities, the feeling of inadequacy creeps in. You’re paralyzed with an attitude of neglect and not do anything at all. Remember, if you’re already at a certain level in your singing, stage fright can prevent you from performing. Lack of confidence will eat you up. I have written about conquering stage fright on this site. Check it out!

How do you get confidence, you may ask? This article about stage freight can definitely help you.

Being Tenacious – It Will Hold You Grounded

Along with confidence comes tenacity. They go hand in hand.

Merriam-Webster defines “tenacious” as something that you can’t just pull apart; persistent, and persevering. Being one will increase your chance of getting you where you want to go.

It’s something you can’t achieve overnight. Here are five things to pave the way:

Be Good at Managing Your Goals: Frankly, your main goal can be simplified as doing what you love to do with your abilities as a vocalist and eventually making a career out of it. It’s not a cakewalk, mind you. I recommend that you need to compartmentalize and chop that goal down to smaller chunks.

Smaller and clearer goals are manageable. Even if you fail them, you know it’s just a small piece of the pie and smaller goals have lesser risks. The more you are able to face and endure failures and hardships, the more tenacious you become.

Tenacious Singer

Be Vicious: This has a negative connotation, but it’s the real world, ladies and gentlemen. If you will perform with another artist or band, you better be sure to perform your best against the rest of the gang. Show off your charm and skills whenever there’s competition.

Be with Tenacious People: There’s nothing better than learning from the same individuals you want to be with. Observe them and analyze the ways they overcome challenges. I always believe that being a stellar performer is mostly about being a strong, respectable, and overall good-hearted individual.

Be Friends with Fear Itself: You can’t cling onto your goals if you step away whenever something scares you. Goals come with challenges. Challenges come with failures. Failures come with fear. You can never be tenacious if you fear failure and stop when you fail. As Thomas Edison said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Be Self Aware: Know what you can do, can’t do, and find the solutions. Tenacity isn’t about spearheading through everything with confidence alone. Learn your own limit and work on your flaws.

Being Versatile – Within Your Own Identity

What do I mean by that? Depending on the career path you’ll take, you must specialize in a specific genre to set yourself apart from others. That’s what you’re going to be identified by your followers as they are enamored with you. At the same time, you are versatile as you can be to expand to other types of music because you’re well rounded as a singer and performer.

A wedding singer often performs romantic songs. A country singer focuses on performing country tunes and so on, leaning towards establishing his or her own unique style. On the other hand, flexible as he can be.

A balladeer might be asked to belt out some rock selections. A backup singer may get requests to croon as a frontman on certain occasions.

You’re here because you love to sing. It won’t be much of a challenge to listen to a variety of music styles, would it? It is with utmost importance to be unique and versatile at the same time.

Being Studious Provides Skills That Will Stay With You Forever

The pro scene is a very competitive place. There is always a better, younger, and more attractive person than you are. You must always strive to become a better version of yourself every day.

Doing it alone is not enough. This is a fact, even if you have talent. You need the guidance of an unbiased mentor to help with it. This mentor will help you gauge your progress and test your strengths and weaknesses.

Having singing lessons with a reputable teacher is crucial and a must if you’re serious. Bear in mind, a voice teacher provides the techniques from beginning to end based on set rules and educated perspectives.

A voice coach, on the other hand, helps to further develop your performance, hence the word “coach” He or she is not necessarily trained in the overall scheme of singing, but more on the performance side of it. You must be at a certain skill level to get the bang for your buck.

These two terms, teacher and coach, are often viewed as synonymous by the general public, but having one or the other is necessary.

Lessons can correct any form of bad habits and techniques. Most amateurs develop bad techniques like squeezing their throat to reach the high notes. You must correct and avoid those kinds of behaviors and doing it with a voice teacher or coach is the goal.

Having a good teacher or coach will hold you accountable in your progress but the importance of a significant amount of practice behind closed doors still falls on you and needs to be emphasized.

Taking online courses is another option if time and financial resources are scarce. It has its own merits, depending on your situation.

Online courses often leave you with only pre-recorded video lessons. There is no two-way communication, and no one can keep track of your progress other than yourself.

Online courses could be beneficial, otherwise – you can learn and study anytime, anywhere. Also, they are noncommittal – you could be free from someone looking over your shoulder. Whether that’s helpful or not, it boils down to your attitude and discipline.

I reviewed some online voice training here on this site. Here’s one from Christina Aguilera.

Before We End

Truth tells, there’s more to know and learn if you “dream the unreachable star”, as the song goes. At the present moment, you could be just starting out. You might have been discouraged by your parents or friends to give up. I know how that feels but hang in there.  That’s not what your heart tells you, is it?  Pick up that microphone and have a blast with another of your favorite songs.  Before you know it, your face is radiating with joy.

Practice and practice some more. Don’t get swayed and give in to distractions. Focus on your dream. You don’t need to worry about bookings or how much you’ll earn yet, these will all come as an end result. Learn as much as you can and take advantage of every opportunity in front of you. The most profitable investment is in yourself.  The interest is unlimited.

8 Comments:

  1. A singing career is not easy. There’s a lot of competition out there. It seems talent is not always enough. There’s always the “luck” factor. Being at the right moment with the right people can make a difference.

    As you mentioned, confidence is important. Singers have be confident to sing on stage in front of thousands of people. 

    What age do you consider appropriate for someone who wants to start this career?

    Thanks.

    1. Doing a little bit at a considerable amount of consistency will bring a certain level of results.  That’s in any field including in the area of singing, whether competition is tough or not, you can make it where you want it to be.

      Great comments, Enrique. 

  2. Standing up against all odds and fighting for what we really want is all that matters in getting the right energy to singing and making a career out of it. Though there is a need for self confidence and the courage to battle all odds because in this side of the world, anybody that takes up a singing career is seen as lazy. So, one must be both mentally and emotionally balanced too to face all insults and abuses without being scared of the results that it may bring. Thank you

    1. That’s a good point you brought up there, Emman.  I totally agree with what you mean. I might add that if you’re doing it as a hobby, then that would definitely manifest itself even more. 

      I would say though that if someone is going to make singing a career, to go all out and make it happen without worrying about the external influences.  You’re serious, you have a plan, you know what you’re going after and you have all the tools and help to get there.  
       

  3. Good post you have written here Richard. I must tell you that you are very correct when you say that becoming a musician is not a walk in the park and one will need to do so much more than just singing. The music industry is highly saturated and getting to the place of stardom requires a lot of work and determination to keep plugging away. I have a friend with a good voice and a great music writing talent but because she’s not well motivated, she thinks she cannot be the start she wants to be. I’m sure this post will be a good way to help boost that morale. Cheers!

    1. Like in any other field, all the necessary ingredients to reach your highest potential are of the highest value.  Although singing is the easiest to label as a hobby, once you get past beyond that and decide to make it a career, then planning, investing time and money, consistency, patience and over-all hard work will become your ticket to get there. Only then can an opportunity shows up (like timing, luck, and break) by the door for you.

  4. Such a fascinating article and really in depth. A must read for anyone who is thinking about taking things to the next level, in regard to a singing career.

    Much of what you have written is true for many of us who want to have a career in something that we feel we could excel in. One line really stood out. It was the one about always trying to be a better version of yourself, everyday. If you can do that, doors will open.

    Sure, there will be those with some impressive abilities but these need to be honed. Taking the advice of those who are trained is definitely something that should be done. You might have a decent voice but they will be able to extract the best possible vocals. Most will also be able to guide you on the right path. Yes it will be tough and competition will be strong but if you have the self belief and the determination to do the work, anything is possible.

    1. I couldn’t add more to what you just said, Twack.  I could have included your comment to my main article, but hey, still part of the page.  Thank you so much for such great insight. 

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