Switching Genres: Tips for Singers on How to Jump From Song to Song
In any given day, I work on several songs by different artists. Yesterday I had a child nursery song, a Broadway-style show tune, and a piano ballad. Tonight I have a country ballad and an EDM dance track. It can be difficult to switch mentally from singing one style to another, so here are a few tips I’ve learned!
Do You Need to Switch Genres Quickly?
If so, I’m guessing you’re either a session singer or a live cover band performer (or both). In both of these roles, it’s important that each performance sounds authentic. Here are four simple steps to help!
1). Watch music videos of each genre.
This obviously won’t work if you’re performing live, but for session work, it’s a big help. For some reason, watching the video and listening to the track are better than just listening. The visual helps me get into it mentally. Think about it: if you’re watching a country video, you’re seeing fields, cowboy boots, and trucks. If you’re watching a dance video you’re seeing clubs and glow sticks. It’s a totally different scenario and helpful to watch!
2). Create a character for each song.
This one works for live singing as well (see: Beyonce and Sasha Fierce). I’m going to get into this in depth in a different entry, but I like to envision a character singing each song. I think of the person and what they would wear, how they would act, and what they would be doing as I’m getting ready. It becomes much easier to go from one song to another when you’re just switching characters!Need to switch genres when #singing? Create a different character for each song! Click To Tweet
3). Take a break.
Sometimes you don’t have a lot of time and have tight deadlines; I get it. But if you have time to go for a quick walk or do some light cleaning or exercise, do it! Cleaning helps me because I find it meditative and relaxing, but you might not agree haha. If you’re performing live, maybe just a quick water break or something to flip the switch in your head to jump to the next genre.
4). Try blending genres.
This one I don’t recommend for session singers if you have a tight deadline or a picky client, but it can be fun! Let’s say you’re switching from jazz to pop…why not try bringing that jazz feel and emotion into the pop track? It might sound awful, but you never know! You might create something cool that the client will love.
As an update, here is the shortened video version of this post:
Hopefully these tips will help you with switching genres! If you have any other ideas, please leave me a comment and let me know!