Making the commitment to always be on time, listening to and following directions, and showing respect for the material you sing will help to give you an edge over the competition while keeping you at the top of your game. Being well prepared through rehearsal and self-discipline, along with keeping your promotional materials accurate and up to date, will also serve to put your best face and voice in the forefront. There are five more things you can do that just might spell the difference between booking the gig that leads to a recording contract or continuing to work a growing number of frustrating odd jobs that deplete your energy, taking you farther away from your career as a singer. These additional five tips will help you stand out as you build a reputation as a viable force in the music business.
Excused = Dismissed
Here’s a simple rule to follow even when things go wrong or you’re having an unbelievably bad day – the rule is: make no excuses. So, you couldn’t rehearse because there was a power outage or you were late for some studio session work because you were stuck in traffic? It’s unfortunate; and yes, it happens, but it can spell the difference between stepping up to the next level of opportunity or checking out the wrong side of a closed door. The problem that exists in this competitive industry is that there are many talented people that you are competing with. So, even though your talent is unique and substantial, making excuses for not being prepared or being late or whatever, can be perceived as a red flag by those who have the power to make or break your career. If something is coming up and you know you’ll be late or not perfuming up to speed, and you are certain you can give a quality performance as promised, you can run the risk of communicating the situation as quickly as possible as a heads up. Let them know you’re willing to audition or perform or whatever – but apologize and be open to making amends as suggested by the person or party who is calling the shots. This can communicate that you are a responsible person – but it can also come off as another flakey artist making an excuse for not being responsible. So, unless it’s extremely unusual circumstances that the party would be aware of – such as a natural disaster or major accident – show up, do your best, make no excuses, and then, move on.
Keep It Positive
A positive attitude of being open and willing to try new things and to serve the needs of those around you is truly like a breath of fresh air in an industry of “me first” or “look at me” behaviors and concerns. By focusing on the needs of others and how your voice and talent can serve those needs, you already have an edge over most of your competition. Those that engage a positive, supportive attitude when working will naturally bring out the best in others around them. In addition, showing appreciation and genuine gratitude for the opportunity to serve others is a huge plus. Extending that gratitude and appreciation for how the gifts of others impacts your work as a singer is also refreshing and can help to open more doors and windows of opportunity for you as a singer. Always give thanks to the people you work with, meet with, audition for, or network with. To reinforce that thank you that you offer, make a commitment to do something positive for at least one person for each appointment and connection you make in the stops along the road to your singing success. Show genuine compassion, concern and respect for the time, opinions, and feelings of those you meet along the way. Those personal touches that come with a positive attitude of reverence and gratitude will make a positive, lasting impression that can lead to more work and more promising opportunities.
Commit Don’t Quit
Singers who totally commit to a performance are fun to watch. Those that commit to a full rehearsal, trying new ideas, exploring options, and making the best use of everyone’s time are a blessing and – a desired commodity. Your reputation for being reliable and fully committed to delivering as promised are critical as your work your way up the ladder of success. Don’t be wishy-washy or indecisive. If you have questions about style or interpretation or even a skill set, don’t be afraid to ask. In fact, get fearless and be boldly transparent whenever something comes up where you feel you need more information. For one thing it shows that you want to do your best and it empowers or affirms the person that you are seeking to give you the information. Rule of thumb for anything you do in the pursuit of your singing success, remember that you must be fully committed to excellence, to giving your best and to bringing out the best in others around you. So, make a personal note about goals and objectives before you go into any situation. These goals and objectives can help you stay focused on your commitment to others you work with, the material your singing, and the audience you’re hoping will spread the word as they become part of your fan base.
Circle Your Connections
We can’t say this enough – network, network, network! SSTV is a perfect resource for finding and expand your circles of connection. Hook up with other singers and share ideas and challenges. Don’t be afraid to talk about your concerns, fears and doubts. By doing so, you’ll soon discover that you’re not alone, but you’ll also discover new coping mechanisms and resources for addressing weaknesses, fears, confidence issues – you name it. The more you connect with others that are facing many of the same challenges and share a lot of the same hopes, dreams, and concerns as you do, the more information and tools you will have to help you cope, find hope, and rope off additional areas for personal and professional growth. Make a list of fear and doubts and specific needs. Then, post these in a forum, here at SSTV or share them with Lindsey Kirkendall at CCM Indie. The stronger the community of your support base becomes, the greater your knowledge and confidence. So, actively seek to create circles of connection that surround your fears, doubts, challenges, and concerns and shore up your confidence, comfort, care and commitment to your singing success. You can also contact Lindsey at CCMIndie@salempublishing.com. For more information on CCM Indie, visit http://www.todayschristianmusic.com/ccm-indie.
Refresh + Review
Keep things growing as you continue to hone your skills, learn your craft, and freshen your perspective. Continue to use the tools and programs developed by Brett Manning and his affiliates here at SSTV. Singing is a craft that must be nurtured, practiced, refined, and mastered on an ongoing basis. Visit Nashville and book some sessions at Brett Manning Studios. Plan your trip so that you can participate in a live performance skills based boot camp with Tom Jackson. Check out a number of songwriter nights at Nashville venues such as the Bluebird, Douglas Corner and the Commodore Lounge. Nashville is a rich resource for pumping up the volume of knowledge you need to season your creative soul. Enhance your interpretive skills by studying other singers and by investing in some acting lessons. Revisit basics of rhythm by incorporating it into workout routines such as jogging or walking or even dancing. Find out all you can about your singing heroes – what works for them, advice they have, and learn about challenges they faced and overcame or still struggle with in their careers. Get together with others or engage your fellow SSTV viewers in brainstorming sessions on things such as finding new material, songwriting, live performance skills, stage fright, image issues, getting gigs, session work, networking – anything that you want to open up and explore in order to optimize your experience as a singer.
Poppy (@thatpoppy) Testifies
Poppy recently moved to Nashville. She has no regrets from making the move and has experienced both personal and professional growth in this journey so far. She’s also had the opportunity to study with Brett Manning. “In my first lesson with Brett, I think it was about five minutes into the lesson, and he already knew what was up with my voice,” she said. “Before I went to Brett I was always really nervous about singing loud – and high. Every time I have a lesson it seems like my voice grows, and gets stronger. Taking these lessons has definitely made me more confident in my voice. I’ve learned so many things about it, things that I would’ve never known if I didn’t go to Brett.” I’ve learned a new appreciation for the vocal technique. The greatest rewards are watching her develop as a singer because of the focused training Brett gives.
Invest In SSTV
Follow these five rules for success, invest in the products and resources available here at SSTV, and consider a road trip to Nashville. Respect yourself and nurture the gift of your unique voice. This will give you that extra boost you need to help you track one cut above the mix of talent as you pursue that rightful place of recognition for your singing success.