The Vocalist

By Espie Estrella,

What is a vocalist?

A vocalist is someone who performs a piece of music through singing. Also called musician, the vocalist or singer may be accompanied by instrumentalists and/or back-up singers and they may perform a cappella.

Professional singers are those who’ve undergone extensive vocal training under a teacher or vocal coach.

Vocalists may either be the:

· Lead vocalist – Main singer, sings the melody

· Backing vocalist – Backup vocals that accompanies the lead vocalist, sings the harmony

· Session singers – Vocalists who are hired for a certain project or performance within a specific period of time

· Understudy – Vocalist who fills in when the assigned singer is unable to perform

Vocal Range:

Vocalists perform pieces based on their vocal ability or vocal range. They are classified as soprano,mezzo sopranotenoralto and bass.

What are the qualities of a good vocalist?

· Loves to perform

· Pronounces words with proper articulation and diction

· Sings in perfect timing with the music

· Takes or has taken voice lessons under a vocal coach or teacher

· Knows all the songs by heart prior to a performance

· Is on time during performances

· Attends practice sessions

· Sings with emotion

· Works well with others

· Has stage presence

· Able to sight read

· Performs with confidence

What other pointers should a vocalist keep in mind?:

· Don’t forget your warm-ups

· Even if you’re already a good singer, there’s always room for improvement, so continue practicing

· It’s not enough that your vocal cords are fit; your body must also be healthy and fit

· Observe proper posture when singing

· Avoid drinking or eating anything cold, sweet and other items that can irritate your voice prior to a performance. Drink water instead and stick to a light meal before a performance.

· Don’t smoke

· Rest up before a performance

Why become a vocalist?

There is a very high demand for vocalists; they appear on stage in musicals or plays, you see them in concerts, bars and lounges, they perform on TV, films, radio shows and they release singles and song albums. If you love to sing and perform, becoming a vocalist may be your dream career.