What is the part of any live performance that most of the audience is captivated by? The singer of course! Singing is the main focus of any band and the reason why the musicians play their instruments, at least when they're not busy taking over the limelight and soling that is!
On this page I want to really highlight the importance of being able to sing really well if you want to get out there live on stage in front of people and make a big impact. Because that's a big part of the reason you're on that stage: to entertain the audience who have come to see you and hear what you're playing and enjoy your performance.
Who Can Sing?
Depending on the band or collection of musicians you have up there on stage, there usually is at least one lead vocalist and if you're lucky, one or more backing vocalists that can sing harmonies that are in tune. Some bands have this kind of thing honed to perfection: think of established bands like The Eagles, Beach Boys, Crosby Stills Nash and Young are just some examples of the American big vocal sound.
Other bands have just two vocalists that sing together a lot and lift the music just with their own matched voices. Think of British three piece bands like The Jam where Paul Weller and Bruce Foxton made even their hard edge sound work beautifully.
Then you have bands with just one singer, or one person that sings at any given time with no harmony vocals, like Cream where Jack Bruce would sing one song then Eric Clapton would sing another. However your band's vocal configuration, the main point I'm trying to make here is that you need your singer to be the main focus of attention and that singer has to be good enough to carry the songs and give the audience what they want.
Can You Sing?
Now to the hard truth lying behind every wannabe front man or woman's job. Can you sing and can you sing well? Just being able to sing in the shower is not really going to cut the mustard on stage if you can't hit the higher notes and hold them or you run out of puff at the crucial moment.
A lot of people when starting out in this industry take lessons in singing to help them elevate themselves from out of the shower to onto the stage with guts and power. Sure, being able to sing seems to just come naturally to some people, but these are rare and most of us need some kind of tuition to make it on the professional stage.
What Do You Want to Be?
I know when I was a young teenager, I wanted to be a great singer and songwriter like my heroes of the day and be famous, rich and live the life of Riley. Hey, I kind made it but I never really got into the higher echelons of the top performer elite.
I mean names like Mick Jagger, Bonnie Tyler, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Tina Turner etc. Those people are practically household names and quite rightly so. They got to the stop and like the orang-utan in the Jungle Book: The King of the Swingers, who reached the top and had to stop… and that's what's a-bothering me!
Well, nice to have gotten to the place where there's nowhere left to go apart from down and making sure that never happens! Great vocalists are great because they made it to the top of their industry and stayed there not just because they rode the hype train but because they were and are damn good at what they do!