The Role of the Singer
What is a singer, and what is her role in the song, the band, and ultimately the music industry. Whether you are a professional singer making a living out of your craft, or a hobbyist who wants to achieve mastery in her passion, it helps to know how your position fits in the whole picture.
This will prevent yourself stepping on other people’s shoes and enhance chemistry in the team environment that is so crucial in the music industry.
To get this into perspective, let’s view it from the standpoint of the music industry. The product is the song, the studio is the lab, and the record companies are the factories.
So what is the role of the singer?
The singer or the band is the front-line contact point, the people the customers see and evaluate. Looking at other industries, who else play this role? Ready for this? Salespeople!
You are the salesperson for the song and rep for the company. When you perform your piece, you are, in effect, pitching your product to the customers!
I can almost hear the cries of “Blasphemy! Music is about art, not about sales and profits!” Well, sorry to disappoint, but that’s just the way it is. There is no question about it, at least not in the customer’s mind.
Let’s explore this further. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes.. There are millions of songs out there, and it’s impossible to sort through all of them. But you are a music enthusiast, and you’re looking for something to listen to when you’re having a bad day or something.
The best thing to do is maybe search for yourself songs that are about having a bad day, or asking your friends.
You do some searching and find a band singing a song that was quite ok, but you didn’t feel really connected, so you move on. Sometime later, you tune in to MTV and watch the same song, this time with video clips but sung by a different band.
The way this band sings the song, you feel a connection that wasn’t present in the original band who wrote the song. This is a common occurrence, where the cover song ends up being more widely accepted than the original version.
If the song itself was the art that should sell itself, this phenomena shouldn’t exist. This proves that writing a good song is just the beginning of the journey, not the end. The product is done, time to deliver it to the masses.
And make no mistake about it, delivery counts! People don’t like to waste time listening to inadequacies of the artist, they’re there to be entertained, so the artist better deliver. No excuses!
So there you are! The role of the singer is to give identity to the music, to infuse it with a part of you, to make it all as human as possible so that the (human) audience can connect.
The issue with a lot of singers is that many are too focused on technique and forget that the audience don’t care about and don’t understand most of the technique on display.
Remember the human touch. A voice that almost breaks out crying conveys the emotion of sadness better than screeching high notes and complex scales. Maybe even flat the notes a bit if you trust your ears.
Put drama and emotion into the song, and your audience will be hooked. Treat it more like acting in a movie as opposed to doing an acrobatic display of vocal prowess. The role of the singer therefore is not to instruct, but rather to tell an engaging story.
Besides, if your material sound like a masters thesis, you would severely narrow down your potential audience.. Happy singing! =)