By: Tom Gauger
Singers that truly deliver in the studio are a breed apart. Let’s face it, not everyone can do it, and if they could, I wouldn’t be wasting time writing this article. And as a former talent booking agent with the William Morris Agency and professional singer, singing on many name brand spots like FOX TV, UPN Station ID’s, O’Charley’s and a host of others, I can tell you that singer’s who deliver in the studio, really can make the big bucks and create a real niche in the market for themselves.
Singing talent is a commodity just like any other line of work, but like a few select fields, the talent pool for individuals who can really deliver is somewhat limited. Starting with that premise knowing that many of you reading this article are most likely interested in studio work and singing in commercials, I will try and promote a few concepts that have helped me through the years and hopefully will help you as well.
Always remember the old adage that those who try hard are usually the luckier ones in life – not always, but because they are out there trying in whatever line of work it is and because they have a multitude of fishing reels in the water, they usually end up with the bigger catch. Your fishing reel is going to obviously be your singing reel. What does your singing reel sound like that is your business card and aimed at trying to get you established as a session singer? It better be good – not the “I just cranked this out with a few riffs off a keyboard into a computer” good, but one that really facilitates the strengths of your voice and minimizes your weaknesses. Let’s face it, we all have some singing weaknesses to a certain degree or other. And you will find that you are usually called on for studio work where you shine and where your strengths prevail. At ReelMusician.com, we strive to always look at each singer and create custom jingle singer reels based upon the singers own unique set of singing characteristics – If you have any questions at all on your jingle reel, don’t hesitate to contact ReelMusician .com for an honest evaluation. But just remember to have an incredible sounding reel that truly sets your voice and vocal accomplishments out from the rest.
Let’s look at some various factors involved in your career. How much time are you currently putting into practice, vocal coaching, etc? I will suggest to you that you ought to be putting in at least 30 - 45 minutes a day minimum and this can be done in the shower, car, or in a vacant room free of distractions. You want to maximize your strengths and figure out where your weaknesses are. This is critical. I will also tell you that finding a good vocal coach, at least one that truly understands commercial singing and not just the theory they’ve been taught and continue to teach, will be hard. Most vocal coaches stress breathing exercises, posture and so forth, and that’s great, but I will tell you that many of the best singers that I have come across, break all of the golden singing rules and make a great living. I’m not suggesting that there are not better breathing patterns than others, nor will I negate a well postured singer, but coaches who truly teach the nuts and bolts of studio and session singing and not from a textbook, are extremely rare. Make sure you have a well informed and current vocal coach. For any questions regarding vocal coaching or obtaining a good vocal coach, you may contact the author.
Your next step in you journey to becoming a successful jingle and commercial singer is going to be your relational connection with folks already established in the industry and your ability to put your incredible sounding demo in the hands of producers. You are going to want to start out by figuring out who the main players are in your area in terms of studio singers and contact those that look like you are not going to be in direct competition. You wouldn’t want to be helping someone who might be taking your studio work away and neither will they. I will tell you that singers in general, like to help up and coming singers in the field and investing time in relationships with key session singers will be rewarding with your singing success.
Following up with jingle houses, industrial music houses and studio engineers and producers will take a little investigation, but the conversations you have with session singers will undoubtedly have already given you more than enough names and companies to send your demo reel off to. Your reel ought to have your name, telephone number, year and season of the creation of your demo on virtually any thing that is sent out to producers. Your CD better have this in bright bold colorful letters on the front, the inside jacket and the actual CD. I’ve mentioned it before, but you are really better off sending a a hard copy CD rather than mp3, even though there is no cost associated with email, because 1) you don’t have permission to send via email and 2) it helps to actually see your name and reel, which by the way, can go into their car for review on their way home from work and an mp3 can not without burning a CD of it. If you are tired and extremely busy, are you really going to waste your time on someone you don’t know has clue or not about delivering the singing goods – probably not and neither will they most likely. Don’t email your demo as of yet. I would wait until you have established a relationship with the producer and submit follow up pieces if they ask for it.
I’ve mentioned this before, but having a second follow up reel can be a great boost for singing work and re-establishing your name by once again having your CD cross their desk one more time. This is great for a producer who almost called you for a singing session, but for whatever reason didn’t, and for the producer who somehow lost your CD and never really gave it a listen – In either case, it’s a great idea. I wish you all the best of luck and look forward to hearing about your singing success!