What is a Singer?

The history of singing goes back to the earliest recordings of mankind (as early as 800 B.C.) and songs are believed to have been used even before the development of modern languages. In western culture, singers were often restricted to only singing in churches until the fourteenth century. The rise of operas and performances thereafter laid the groundwork for today's professional singers.

A singer (also referred to as a vocalist) is a person that vocalizes musical sounds with tone and pitch, and uses his or her own voice to produce music. Singers may sing solo or in a group, and are oftentimes accompanied by instrumental music. Professional singers are usually highly trained and also possess a certain level of natural singing ability including a wide vocal range or pleasant vocal resonation. Singing is an accepted art form that is taught in most public and private schools. It can also be a fun activity and be casual entertainment, such as karaoke.

The physical act of singing occurs as air passes through the larynx, throat, and mouth, and it's interesting to note that vocal resonation in singing involves seven areas of the human body:

  • Chest
  • Tracheal tree
  • Larynx
  • Pharynx
  • Oral Cavity
  • Nasal Cavity
  • Sinuses

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What does a Singer do?

A singer is an artist or performer who crafts a vocal song using various techniques and training. Singers often practice daily and will hire professional voice coaches to help them hone their craft. Singers may write their own music or sing music written by others. In addition to singing, singers may work as music teachers or voice coaches. Professional singers are highly talented and have an excellent ear for identifying tone and pitch. Singers often freelance and are contracted on a per job basis, either as a singer or as a consultant or judge in singing competitions.

Professional singers may be employed by a record label that finances the development and recording of their music. Other singers may be employed by companies including radio advertising firms and variety show theatres.

What does it take to be a Singer?

Some highly talented singers have gotten their break into the music industry through highly competitive talent competitions. Some have had success self-promoting their talents in video clips on the Internet that when liked by viewers, are recommended to important people in the music industry.

Getting a start in professional singing can begin in a variety of ways:

  • Talent Competitions
  • Auditioning For Singing Parts in Theatre Productions
  • Becoming A Back Up Singer For A Band
  • Open Microphone Nights at Clubs
  • Being The Entertainment In A Restaurant Or Bar
  • Samples Sent to Music Executives
  • Singing at Weddings and Events
  • Being Discovered on the Internet in Video Clips

Singing is a highly competitive industry that for many is challenging to pursue. It is a performance based career and individuals considering this field should not be afraid to be on stage and in front of an audience. Singing does not require any formal education per se, but singers must have a developed musical ability to sing songs that will be pleasing to the ear. Many singers spend years training and developing their vocal abilities. A successful singer will be able to capture the attention of the intended audience and perfectly navigate and control the pitch, tone, and rhythm of their voice.

Singing as an art is widely recognized and many four year universities offer Bachelor of Art degrees in singing and music.

What is the workplace of a Singer like?

Singers can work in a variety of locations but are predominately performing on a stage or recording in a studio. Special event singers often travel to perform at various venues including:

  • Weddings
  • Parties
  • Dances
  • Corporate Events
  • Fairs and Festivals

Theatrical singers are live performers who often perform nightly performances at a theatre. Opera singers are a specialization of theatrical singers that perform usually in a home theatre they are employed by. A theatrical singer in a main role will usually have their own dressing room and voice coach. Supporting or back-up singers will often share a common dressing area and receive less perks than a singer in a main role.

Professional recording singers exist outside of the entertainment industry in small numbers and are typically employed in marketing sectors for use in marketing jingles and advertisements. These singers will usually work as collaborators and writers of the pieces they sing and will work out of an office.

Professional singers in the music industry are the most noted public figures in the singing profession. Professional singers record their tracks in studios and often will spend hours in the editing booth with producers. Singers at this level are considered to be at the top of the profession and often have demanding travel and work schedules. Singers will be required to tour cities for months at a time performing on stage and promoting their music in stores and events, and will have tour buses to live out of while on the road.

How much does a Singer earn?

According the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Singers earn a mean hourly wage of $29.10 with those in the top 90th percentile earning $58.90 per hour.

Singers often command higher wages in more densely populated areas with greater need. Singers residing in areas of entertainment such as Los Angeles and New York usually receive higher compensation for their services. Of course, the sky is the limit if you become a singing sensation.

Learn more about being a Singer