Session Singing & getting your voice fit for different styles…

When you consider your vocal technique, it must always be top priority to learn how to use your voice and also improvise so that you can obtain top results. When you work as a singer in a recording context, or perform live on your own, or work as a session singer on tour, this will stretch your Vocal Performance to a high level.

Personally, I started as a session singer by covering a different style each week. I was quite nerdy about examining the processes used in the world of performance, session singing and studio work.  Versatility is the key if you want to work a lot as a vocalist. You also need to call upon your skills as an intelligent arranger, in order to work with producers who may have a vision of how they want the track to be.

Many singers start out wanting to be a huge star (and there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, if that’s the case…), session singing can be some of the most fun you will ever have in a studio or backing established artists. When you are working in conjunction with a team of people who have to get the music for an advert ready by midday (it does happen!) the work that you have been putting in for years on your singing will suddenly start to mean something.

The dedication that you put into working on your voice and music can pay off if you are ever needed in a high-pressure recording scenario. My voice has been used for adverts and jingles, sometimes you would not ever realise it was me. The creative use of the voice can be an amazing thing; you just need to prepare the ground. The more fluent you are in delivering harmony parts, adapting your sound, and being quick off the mark to take instruction from a producer, the more you will work.

You need a cool head and an even temperament in the studio. It takes time to build up a track. Yet again, you can re-invest this experience into your own material, as you get used to studio working conditions.

Much of session singing nowadays takes place in smaller home studio environments, which does have its benefits as it can be less awe inspiring than in the good old days when you turned up to XFM or Abbey Road Studios!

Remember at all time to do a lot of practical “hands on” singing.  This will help you build upon those incredibly important basics such as timing, tuning, harmony, posture, breathing and mic technique.

Ensure that you vocally stretch yourself by trying out different styles, by deftly switching from Rock to Jazz, Rap to Soul, etc. You will undoubtedly have certain favourite musical styles. Strangely, the styles you may not like are ironically the ones you will learn the most from! The unexplored areas of your voice will give you a fresh perspective on music & this can hopefully be re-invested in your songwriting and your career as a singer.

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