Mar 28th, 2009 by Jeff Anthony

So You Wanna be a Rock and Roll Singer?

euphony-productions-jeff-anthony-photo-for-blog1So you want to be a rock singer, Front a band, and maybe even get rich doing it? Any yahoo can get on stage and make an ass out of himself but it takes natural vocal talent, great technique and lots of hard work to be a great singer that stands out in the sea of singers in this world. Here are some things I have learned along my road to becoming the singer I am today.

Ask Yourself, “Do I Have What it Takes?”

Can you sing in key? Do people put their hands over their ears and cringe when you start singing? If that is the case you may want to consider taking up the guitar or drums not that there won’t be hard work to get good at these too. I am not a professional athlete because I don’t possess the God given talent to excel in that area and to be quite honest I have never been one to exercise like crazy I prefer to access my creative side.

Being a Great Singer Isn’t All Fun and Games

If your not going to take this serious like a career then stop now and save yourself a lot of time and energy. Becoming a great singer takes a lot of hard and comes with many heartaches. There will be bumps in the road, flaky band members, Drunks and drug addicts who will be some of those band members, and plenty of people telling you there is no way you can make it. They will be the ones who can’t cut it themselves and don’t want to see you accomplish something they could not. Forget all of them because they are just distractions from what is really important. Your dream! If you are really, really serious then continue reading.

First Get a Great Vocal Coach

Natural talent will only take you so far. To have longevity in the music business you will need to have the proper training to keep your voice from hitting a wall and to allow you to reach your full potential. Even singers who have been trained for years need to go back to basics when they find themselves falling into bad habits with their technique. There are many qualified vocal teachers in or near every major city. Just pick up a local musicians publication and check the classifieds. You can also check out websites like craigslist where vocal coaches advertise regularly.  Look for a tedr-bastian2acher that teaches from a holistic point of view and stresses not just proper technique but vocal health, through healthy lifestyle choices. If you are experiencing trouble with your voice now consider a medical approach for singers like Dr Bastian Voice Institute.

So You Have the Coaching, Now What?

karaoke-pictureJust do it! Sorry Nike. What I mean is just get out there and perform. Whether it be karaoke or the local open mic, get out there and be heard. The great thing about Karaoke is that the audiences are very empathetic and you have a variety of songs and genres to choose from. Some places will even record your performance and provide you with a CD or tape to take home. Karaoke contests will allow you to show your competitive side and give you your mini American Idol experience. It gave me my first public outlet for singing and gave me the confidence to audition for my first band. Actually… my Karaoke singing was my audition for my first band. You never know where you will get discovered so try a lot of different things. Look at what youtube.com and MySpace.com have done for bands and singers. Journey found their replacement singer that way, no matter how I feel about that one. I am a Steve Perry fan and think singers like him and Roger Daltrey are synonymous to the bands. In my opinion without them I could never have the same experience that inspired me to want to be a rock singer in the first place. Either way maybe you can be the next discovered talent on one of these online venues so try it all.

In the Words of John Mellencamp “Play Guitar”

beatles-picture2Learn how to play an instrument and start writing your own material too good or bad. It is a good starting block and some musical chops won’t hurt your quest in getting picked over other singers in auditions. Sometimes you need an edge and the more you bring to the table the more valuable you are going to be to a band or artist. I learned to play guitar from a Beatles Song Book for Guitar longer ago than I care to disclose. Don’t play around get out there and take some music lessons but remember to focus your most valuable instrument your voice.

Emotion is Everything

the-who-picture1So you have learned to play guitar, You are taking vocal lessons, and You’re taking care of your voice. Now you have got to always remember to sing with passion and energy. A song sung with emotion and energy with terrible lyrics is 1000% better than a great song with great lyrics being sung lifelessly. I would argue that a song would sell more copies with a mediocre singer singing with emotion than it would with a top-notch singer just going through the motions. Give your all to the song and it will love you back. I think that Roger Daltrey of “The Who singing “Love, Reign Over me” is a perfect example of what I mean.

Get Your Swagger on!

Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, Bono of U2, Robert Plant of Led Zepplin, and Paul Rogers of bad Company, all had one thing in common whether you like them or not, they all had a style all their own that got peoples attention. When Mick Jagger hit the stage sex appeal and stage presence filled the air. You need to have your own unique style too so watch these and other singers and how they move on stage, which action, vocal range, and style during the songs gets the biggest crowd reactions? Watch how they whip their audience into frenzy. Learn how they tell an emotional story from the lyrics of the songs and get people teary eyed. I am not saying just copy them as that would not be unique that would be unoriginal. Create your own image by adapting what they do into your own style, and make it your own. What is your style? What do you do when no one is around and your playing your guitar in front of the mirror? Come on you know I am right. Get out of your comfort zone and act a little crazy until something catches on.

Get a Little Stage Fright do You?

Do you get stage fright when you are about to perform? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Even famous professional singers get stage fright now and then. So how do you conquer Stage fright? Stage Fright is nothing more than the basic human fear of the unknown. It is what happens when you get outside of your comfort zone. Sure there are medications that will help you suppress stage fright and there are other things you can try too that have worked for me. If you want a different approach that does not involve a pill then continue to stretch yourself by putting yourself in positions where you will feel uncomfortable. The more you get into these situations the more it will take to make you feel uncomfortable. It is no different than exercising a muscle the more you work out the bigger and more powerful that muscle becomes. You can use this technique to make it very hard to become uncomfortable on stage too.

Take the Good Opportunities That Come Along

So what is a good opportunity? Well that depends on what you’re after. Is singing your day gig too? If you will be paying your bills solely through singing then you had better take what you can get and plan on a tough road. If you have a day job that is paying the bills and your plan is to focus on the right opportunities to advance your career then you will need to pick your opportunities more carefully. Singing for a terrible band could get you discovered if an agent or another band is in the audience and notices your great talent but that is doubtful so use your better judgment. The right project and connections can make all the difference so use the art of networking and ask other musicians, friends and business partners for their help. Get diversified too: Studio work, Live performances, Church bands, Singer for hire. As long as the project is of the quality that matches your talent level then why not take the opportunity to grow your skills and experience level. Also use the internet and all that it has to offer like: MySpace.com, blip.fm, (Sort of a twitter for musicians), Facebook.com, and many more to connect with other musicians and people who can help further your career and point you in the right direction. They don’t have the saying the squeaky wheels gets the oil for no reason at all you know. Keep on doing all you can to build your dream and one day you will be there if you have the right stuff.

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