Many of us wish we were singers. It seems like a highly glamorous job and one that brings fame and adulation in equal quantities. At the same time it is one that is highly skilled and a talent that anyone can appreciate and that anyone can try their hand (or their vocal chords) at. So how do you go about going professional and actually becoming a singer?
The good news is that it's not as hard as you might think it would be – you just need to be talented and if you want to make it big you need to be lucky too.
First of all you need to get good at singing. Practice all the time in the shower and with friends and join a local singing group or choir. Like anything practice makes perfect.
Get a singing coach or singing lessons. You'd be surprised what a difference this can make and they will teach you to hear your own voice, to project correctly and how to read music. This will also make you much more employable as a singer.
Work on you image. Having a great image is half of the battle these days if you want to become a singer then you need to look the part and this will greatly increase your chances of being 'spotted' as well as increasing the number of jobs you could apply for once you've started to make yourself known.
Get experience performing. This is the big part of being a professional singer and what will separate you from amateurs. Start small and start building your way up – this can mean singing in pubs, singing for school and business events, or even renting a hall and making your own performance. Offer your services very cheaply, or free, and you will find you don't have any difficulty securing gigs. Another option is of course to join up with a band and this way they will handle much of the process of organising performances for you all. The more you perform the better you will get and the more you will develop a confidence and stage presence. At the same time every time you perform in a public venue you risk being seen by a talent scout.
As well as performances, it's also smart to secure yourself competitions. Here you will be able to get yourself noticed, and in some cases the prize might also involve something that can help boost your career – such as a singing contract. Of course the big ones like Pop Idol or Xfactor could be a great opportunity to 'fast track' your career and become a pop star overnight. Just make sure your act is polished before you go on.
Sing everywhere – the more you sing the more chance there is of you being stopped by a record producer in a supermarket. It sounds like a dream, but it does occasionally happen in real life too.
Make an internet presence. Remember the Arctic Monkeys? They got famous entirely via their MySpace account and by generating fans and attracting agents that way. You can do the same though it's not all about MySpace – have a website, a twitter account, a Facebook page and let people listen to your music for free through all of them. This way too if you do get any kind of exposure – such as through something like Xfactor – you can really capitalise on that by saying on air 'check out my Facebook page' or 'check out my website'.
Promotional material is also highly useful and that can be something like business cards with your web address/Youtube channel on, home made CDs of your music which you can push onto the general public, and portfolio's/fliers to show to potential agents.
Get an agent. An agent will help you to find jobs in singing and to promote you to various events. They can also help you with your CV, professional photo shoots and much more to get your career going and will have the contacts you need to start getting good gigs.
Get a 'singing job'. If you're really serious about becoming a singer then you should get yourself a singing job which could mean something like singing in a bar or on a cruise ship. While it's certainly possible to promote yourself as a singer while having other interests and career pursuits, getting a job where you use your voice is the most guaranteed way to get a lot of practice and exposure, and also will ensure that you are a 'singer'. As soon as you start singing for a living you're a professional singer and can label yourself as such – it's just becoming successful now which is the hard part.