People singing on stage

How to Become a Professional Singer in 2022- Monetize Your Singing

Regardless of whether you’re a brand new singer starting their singing career or a hobbyist looking to take it to the next level, the common question that’s always asked is:

“How can I become a professional singer and make money?”

Through the 15+  years of singing professionally and gigging for over 1000 shows, I’ve seen plenty of ways you can earn money using your vocal chords.

When I started my singing career, gigs were sparse and few between. Most likely it was because of lack of the lack of knowledge of the industry as well as my raw singing technique and stage presence.

So, if you’re wondering how to become a professional singer and start making a career out of your vocals, follow these 10 things to give yourself the best chance possible to make it in the industry.  

1. Build your singer’s pack
2. Take singing lessons
3. Do your research
4. Network and build relationships
5. Have a great attitude. Be willing to pay your dues
6. Prepare 2-3 ‘Go-To’ Songs
7. Learn how to market yourself
8. Never Stop Improving. Always be Working On Yourself
9. Be Resilient. Never Give up
10. Find a mentor

Becoming a professional singer isn’t about being the best singer out there. I’ve seen a myriad of amazing singers who hardly get jobs along with a number of sub-par singers who always get hired.

It’s about having a good business sense on top of the singing skill sets that you have.

Treating your singing as a business and knowing how to market yourself are the most important skills you’ll need to get paid gigs. You are worth what they think you’re worth. But don’t worry, in this article, i’ll go in-depth with all you need to know to prepare for becoming a professional singer. 

Let’s get started. 

1. Build Your Singer’s Pack

When you first start out in the industry, you’ll need to let agents and organizers get to quickly know more about you.

Similarly, to a resume, your singer’s pack will have all the information about you that others need to quickly determine whether you’re suitable for the gig.

Here are 6 things you’ll need for your Singer’s Pack:

A Headshot/Live photo – Your photos will be the first thing that employers will see so they’re very important! Live photos are an amazing way to show your experience, however it isn’t compulsory. Just make sure that the photos are presented properly and professionally.

Biography – This will simply be your singing “resume”. It’ll be where you’ll write about yourself, your experience and list of all the places you’ve performed at. Make sure to mention all your strongest accomplishments here.

If you don’t have many big singing moments, don’t worry, just mention the smaller performances you might’ve had.

Email/Cover Letter –Your cover letter should not be just another version of your resume. Write a short and concise line or two on what you can offer your employer and how your performance can positively impact them. If it’s too long, your prospective employer might not read it all.

Video/Audio Reel –A video compilation of performances that you’ve had before. Whether it’s on stage or at home, it’s important to provide a clear video reel with good audio and visual quality.

If the background is too loud and the image isn’t clear, it means it’s not a good quality video. If you have studio recordings, include that in your singer’s pack as well.

Artist Website – This is not compulsory but I guarantee it’s something that will set you apart from the other singers who won’t put in the work. Your site will be where all your information (photos, videos, recordings) will be for easy access.

It’s extremely easy nowadays to create your own website. You can use platforms like Bandzoogle to create a professional website for yourself. It uses an easy drag-and-drop editor that allows you to customize your site to however you want it to be. Your site will be very important because it will set your  brand apart from everyone else.

Song List – It’s simply a list of all the songs that you can perform. In the beginning it’s not required, but as you perform at more gigs, prospective agents will ask you for your song list depending on what the event will be.

2. Take Singing Lessons

No matter how good your singers pack is, at the end of the day you’re a singer. You’ll have to sing in front of people and impress them with your performance. Singing lessons are extremely important to help grow your skills as well as keep your vocals in perfect condition.

Online courses are a great way to start learning and practicing.

Benefits of a great online course are:

  1. It doesn’t cost as much – Good live vocal coaches are expensive. That’s why you can save hundreds of dollars taking an online course from a fantastic vocal coach.
  2. Flexible & convenient – You can learn and practice anywhere you want and at any time of the day revolving around your schedule.
  3. Join virtual study groups – Some online courses have their own Facebook groups to meet and connect with other singers online! It’s a great way to share tips and help each other out with the course. Not to mention, a great way to connect with a vocal coach online.
  4. Learn at your own pace – the pressure to keep up with other students in a face-to-face environment is removed. You are in control of your own progress.
If you’re a beginner singer, the 30 Day Singer is a great program that will help you build all the necessary singing fundamentals you’ll need. If you want to learn more about this singing program, I’ve written a in-depth review on the 30 Day Singer that you can check out here. 

 

Read more: Best Online Singing Courses – The Ultimate Guide for Singers

3. Do your Research

Find out all the different event organizers and agents around your area.  For example, if you want to find wedding performing gigs, google wedding agencies/planners in your city, and reach out to them! They’ll be glad to meet singers they can hire for their next client’s wedding.

You can also check out your local Facebook groups and classified section.

There are numerous types of paid gigs out there. Weddings, corporate events, private parties, engagements, bars, clubs, backing vocals. jingles, cruise ships, hotels and so much more!

Performing abroad is a fantastic way to start your music career. It’s how I personally expanded my music career. There are tons of countries and cities that need singers and entertainers full-time. You can do what you love and travel the world at the same time!

Read next:

How much do Backup Singers Make?

How Much Do Church Singers Get Paid?

4. Network and build Relationships 

After doing your research, don’t be shy – apply for every singing gig you see!

You see that awesome gig that says it’s looking for experienced singers? Apply for it anyway!

That cruise ship gig for singers with at least 3 years of experience? Sign right up!

Wedding singer needed? That’s you!

You get the jist.

Respond to all those job posts. Request for a meet up and start building relationships. You’re going to have to be proactive in finding jobs because opportunities aren’t going to just land on your lap. Meet potential employers and let them know what you can provide for them and how their event/venue can benefit from your singing.

Create your chances, and the rest will follow.

5. Have a Great Attitude. Be Willing to Pay Your Dues

Once you get your shot, go to work with a great mindset. Do. Not. Be. Late. A great mentor of mine said ” if you’re on time, you’re late”. First impressions are the most important thing. You only get one chance at it.

In the beginning, your gig might not be the best gig out there. But everyone has to start somewhere. Take it anyways, learn from the good and the bad. And sing your heart out.

The old cliché is true: You never know who’s watching. It may be an agent, a couple looking for a wedding singer or a bar owner looking for a new singer. Always sing like it’s your last performance!

6. Prepare 2-3 ‘Go-To’ Songs

These songs will be the songs that you’re most comfortable with and the one’s your crowd loves. You’ll know which songs are your go-to songs by paying attention to your audience’s reaction after you’ve performed it. If the applause is louder than your songs, you’ve got your go-to songs.

You could also ask your vocal coach, family and friends to see which songs they enjoy the most.

Start with 2-3 songs but over time you must build a strong repertoire with more than 3 songs on your go-to list. Over time, you’ll develop a style where most songs in that genre will still be your bests.

Although being strong in one genre is helpful, becoming a versatile singer will help you land more gigs in the long run. If you want to learn how to become a more versatile singer, check out my guide that I wrote here. There’s definitely a lot of information that can help you master more than one genre!

7. Learn How to Market Yourself

You’re going to have to market yourself personally and digitally.

When you see your prospective employers, dress appropriately, smile and give a strong handshake. Agents and organizers notices these things and it pays off putting your best foot forward.

You’re always marketing yourself. The way you conduct yourself will be something that other prospective employees will judge and look at. So, especially at gigs, act accordingly!

Social media is also very important. Connecting with agents and organizers on all social platforms is vital. They’ll get to see your daily life and it’s also a chance for you to upload new videos and music covers for them to check out.

Not only will it be a great way for you to connect with your employers but even the fans you’ve gained through your performances.

Read more: 15 Smart Ways For Singers To Make Online

8. Never Stop Improving. Always be Working On Yourself

Whether its singing techniques, a musical instrument, public speaking or even recording, always continue learning something new. Being a professional singer is highly competitive. Any small factor can tilt the paid gig to your favor.

For example, learning to play a new instrument can put you at an advantage over other singers. If the gig is looking for a guitarist and singer, you can pitch to them that you can do both! They’ll be more inclined to hire you than the other singer who can only sing.

Read next:

12 Steps For Singing and Playing Guitar at the same time

11 Easy songs to play and sing guitar at the same time

9. Be Resilient. Never Give up

Starting out as a professional singer is hard. I’m not going to sugar coat it. But it’s one of the most fun and rewarding things you’ll ever decide to do.

You might be struggling to find work at the beginning. You might get gigs that are not so interesting or even work with musicians that you don’t mesh well with. Regardless of your circumstances. At the end of the day, it’s an opportunity to do what you love as your career. And that’s something that will propel you to keep going no matter how difficult it is.

Also, rejection will undoubtedly occur during this process. If you do get rejected, ask why?

Is it your singing technique? Or your stage performance? Maybe your videos weren’t up to par?

Be diligent and find out what you need to improve on in order to do better the next time. You can ask other singers, musicians and agents to give you a true assessment of how your performances were.

The best person to ask is a mentor who has experienced it all and is able to provide constructive criticisms.

Read more:

When Is It Too Late To Start A Singing Career?

Should You Give Up On Your Singing Dreams? How To Decide?

10. Find a Mentor

Whether its someone you know personally, or someone online, you’ll need to find someone who’s experienced and can walk you through this journey. I’ve personally regarded many people as a mentor.

Once you start networking and meet people in the industry, you’ll meet someone who has great experience from which you can learn. It could be a singer or even an agent. You can learn from how they play, how they cope when things go wrong on stage or how they conduct themselves professionally.

Finding a mentor to review your singing is just as important. You must know what you do well as well as what you need to work on. A mentor can help pin point these. Most people are constructive in their criticism but could be considered harsh.

Sometimes the harshest criticisms are the most helpful lessons to teach you how to become a professional singer.

I also recommend reading books to get a deep dive into successful singers and musicians. You can read biographies and and learn about struggles faced by artists becoming professional singers and performers. There’s no easier way to learn than from the best of the best!

11. Take the Chance. Seize your Opportunity

Opportunity comes and goes, you must grab it when it arrives. There is a vast array of paid singing jobs out there. The best part of becoming a professional singer is that you don’t have to be famous to be a professional singer nor do you need to  be the most talented singer out there.

You just have to be proactive with finding gigs, take action toward improving yourself and have a great attitude. As long as you follow these lessons, you’re putting yourself in a better position than 95% of the singers out there.

Read More:

17 Tips On How To Sing High Notes Without Straining Your Voice

15 Essential tips For Singers To Remember All Their Lyrics

21 Simple Tips on How To Sing Better Quickly

 

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