I’ve talked about this in interviews before, but I realized I didn’t have it anywhere on my blog. Here’s my background and a little info on why I do what I do (and why I love it)!
Getting Started as a Session Singer
Technically, I started session singing when I was around 14. My family is very musical, so I had cousins and uncles who were songwriters and owned recording studios. I started singing for songwriters who wrote their own songs but didn’t want to sing themselves. I was a budding songwriter myself but I was more than happy to help other people bring their ideas to life. Because I didn’t understand business at all, I charged nothing. I simply wanted to work in music. I started getting referrals and growing my business from there.
Getting Paid as a Session Singer
My grandparents were the ones who suggested asking for money. They were driving me to my gigs and explained to me that people should pay for services provided. I was too shy to ask for most of my gigs, and when I did ask, I greatly undervalued myself. At this stage, I just wanted to pay my grandparents back for their gas money. I didn’t feel I was “worth” anything yet.
Getting Older as a Session Singer
I finished high school and started college while continuing to session sing on the side. By this time I had learned a great deal about studio techniques and had grown out of my shell. I was able to drive myself to gigs and therefore understood why money was important (especially as a college student). Clients started hiring me for top lining and I grew in terms of my songwriting abilities. I think simply growing older and having more life experience contributed greatly to my writing, but I know there are young songwriters out there who are simply born with incredible talent. My improvements came through work and practice.
Getting Burnt Out as a Session Singer
I was spending every second of my time working on other people’s songs (when I wasn’t working or going to school). I was exhausted and irritated. No one wanted to work on my own songs or even hear them. I took a long break from session singing to write, record and release my own album, Zebra Stone. It was definitely not a solo effort; I had a ton of incredible musicians support me along the way. It renewed my passion for creativity and music, and after it was finished I was ready to get back into session singing.
Getting Serious as a Session Singer
Going back into session singing, I decided I was going to treat it like a legitimate business. I armed myself with contracts, policies, and conditions. I got clear on who I could best serve in the industry. My social media maven whipped me into shape and made me understand the point of putting myself “out there.” It’s not about the negative comments or haters, it’s about who I can help and how I can help them. I refined my purpose. I’m so excited about what I do, and I love helping people achieve their musical goals.
I usually post tips and tricks for the industry, but today I thought it might be cool to just share my own personal journey and show you how I ended up here. I’d love to know your own story of how you ended up where you are today! Drop me a comment and let me know or find me on social media. If you have any questions about the industry, please let me know and I’ll do my best to answer. You can also contact me if you want!
I am also currently giving private consultations for session musicians. We can talk about whatever you like, whether it’s policies, recording, or any other aspect of running a session business. Feel free to contact me about it here!