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Careers in Background Vocals

Aug 17, 2007
"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent" these famous words of Victor Hugo serve to inspire most students and exponents of music.

Music is something that has a positive influence on our mood and provides a means of self-expression whether playing a musical instrument or singing. For students seeking a career in music, it is important to start on the right note and enroll with a tutor who can guide them through the nuances of this art. Music provides countless opportunities for a fulfilling and rewarding career and it does not matter whether your interest lies in related fields such as music education, live performance or recorded music. If you are planning to start a career in music, then it is advisable to be open to new options emerging in this field, like being employed as a background vocalist.

Who Is A Background Vocalist?

Background vocalists are singers who provide back-up vocals in recordings or live performances. Though they are not lead singers, they contribute to a song's overall output as support artists. Most aspiring vocalists are disenchanted if they don't get a chance to be the lead singer. However, if you are flexible with singing styles and want to try something interesting and different in the field of music, then you can opt for a career in background vocals. To be a background vocalist, it is important not to limit yourself to one particular style, you might be required to try various singing patterns. Role models who can be a source of inspiration for a career in background vocals are stars like Sheryl Crow and Whitney Houston.

Career Options:

As a background vocalist, you have various career options available.

- Live Performances: You can make a career by providing background vocals during live performances.
- TV Commercials: As a background vocalist, you can lend your voice to TV commercials.
- Jingles For Radio: You can give back-up vocals for jingles used in commercials on radio.
- Nightclubs, Theaters And Plays: Background vocalists are much sought after in nightclubs where they sing in addition to the lead singer or along with the group or band. They are also used for giving certain back-up vocals during plays.
- Concert Tours: If you are interested in traveling and being a part of concert tours, then you can lend your vocals to a band or music group.
- Freelance Backup Singer: You can either work for a recording company or do free lance work as a back-up singer.

Points To Remember

You should be able to present a very good demo rendition, as there are lots of talented people trying to make a mark in this field. In order to succeed in the face of stringent competition, your presentation to potential music producers must be refined work that can only be achieved if you practice singing regularly and make your vocal portfolio versatile and flexible. If you are planning to do freelance work, then you can place an advertisement in the newspapers. You might also want to keep yourself abreast with all music events, shows and auditions taking place in your city. In order to be a successful background vocalist, you need to have a good reputation, talent and work ethics because most contracts are won in this field on the basis of your networking abilities in addition to your skills.

Earnings can be unpredictable in this profession; it can be a 'feast and famine' scenario with a few months of more work available than you can handle followed by a period of no work at all. However, if you have the talent and passion for music, you can certainly make it big in this field.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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