If you’re reading this, you’re probably either searching for a session singer or curious about becoming one. I’ll start with the question I get frequently: “Are you a soprano session singer?” and my answer is always, “it depends.” Let’s explore what to ask when hiring a soprano session singer.
What to ask a soprano session singer
A soprano is a singer who sings higher notes. However, the term “soprano” is very relative. Mariah Carey could be classified as a soprano, but she has a five-octave range, so she could very easily be considered an alto as well. The guidelines to know what vocal range you have are blurry, so many people just guess based on what they feel is the best description of their range. This can lead to trouble if someone thinks they are a soprano but finds that your song is outside of their range. When looking to hire a session singer, the best questions to ask are:
- What is your vocal range?
- Can you listen to this song and tell me if you can hit these notes?
Most session singers know their range, so if they tell you their range is between two notes, you’ll know if your song is a good fit. However, you must know what key your song is in and what notes are in it for it to work. If you don’t know your song’s key or notes, it’s always a good idea (and major time saver) to send a demo to your potential singer and have them review it. They can listen to the song and decide if it fits their voice. Be sure to highlight the important parts of your song (if, for example, the bridge has an especially high or low note).
If you ask either of the questions above, this is a much easier way to find the right singer for your project. You might think you need a soprano, but someone who considers herself an alto may do just fine. If they fit the range of your song, their label shouldn’t matter!
Please note: there are other terms used in classical music, such as mezzo-soprano, contralto, etc. I am not using any of those here because I’m focusing on session singing. If your song is a classical song, you can still follow the guidelines above to get the best singer for the role!
Alright, so let’s say you aren’t here to hire a soprano session singer, but you want to be one:
How to Become a Soprano Session Singer
The first thing you’ll want to decide is whether you actually are a soprano. There are plenty of tools online to help you find your range. Check out this video:
This will give you your range (remember these notes! This is an important piece of information as a session singer). From there, you can kind of decide what label you want to have. Do you feel more comfortable as a “soprano” or an “alto”? What range is more fun to sing?
Now that you’ve decided, you’ve got to get out there and promote yourself. Create a reel if you don’t have one. Post it on all your social media. Perform at open mic nights. Create a YouTube channel of yourself singing. Get business cards. You’ve got to treat session singing like any entrepreneur business! Once you’ve established yourself, clients will begin to contact you. If someone asks you if you’re a soprano session singer, you can respond with your range and see if that fits into their project.
Here are some other links that might help:
Here is another video of a vocal range exercise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9AyP3eU2tA
Here is a video by Felicia Ricci (a great vocal coach online) on how to increase your range: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6OYv2FifCI
This is just a fun BuzzFeed quiz that has nothing to do with ability, but it still kind of fun 🙂 https://www.buzzfeed.com/ninamohan/are-you-more-soprano-or-alto?utm_term=.ru4nLmMgl#.nqrX8naDr