BY: Christelle Dawson

Job Description

Singers read and interpret musical compositions and apply their voice and style to create a song. Singers use one or more vocal ranges, such as alto, baritone, or bass in certain music styles, including folk, rock, country, gospel, jazz, or rap. Those working as singers might find employment as back-up performers for bands, commercial jingle singers, cruise ship singers, nightclub entertainers, or even vocal teachers.

Working Conditions

Musicians typically perform at night and on weekends. They spend much of their remaining time practicing or in rehearsal. Full-time musicians with long-term employment contracts, such as those with symphony orchestras or television and film production companies, enjoy steady work and less travel. Nightclub, solo, or recital musicians frequently travel to perform in a variety of local settings and may tour nationally or internationally. Because many musicians find only part-time or intermittent work, experiencing unemployment between engagements, they often supplement their income with other types of jobs. The stress of constantly looking for work leads many musicians to accept permanent, full-time jobs in other occupations, while working only part time as musicians.

Education/ Training Requirements

Most singers are just high school graduates, and a few have gotten masters degrees. You should have experience though. You don't need any special requirements.

Personal Characteristics

  • True love and passion for singing and music and not just in it for potential fame and money. An obsession with music won’t hurt!
  • Natural vocal talent (a skill you're born with). I know that people like Victoria Beckham and many others do not have natural vocal talent, but are still successful, but they are not necessarily respected as true vocalists
  • Musical ear and ability
  • Resilient personality - able to take criticism and rejection
  • Good business and negotiation skills to promote yourself to agents and clients. Ability to sit at a computer or on the phone for hours selling yourself as a singer
  • Strong drive to succeed
  • Positive outlook
  • Competitive nature. This can often spur you on to get the work you want
  • A strong and memorable image. I don't believe you have to be conventionally pretty, skinny or look like a supermodel to succeed if you have the musical talent and drive
  • Confidence and strength of character
  • Unwavering self belief
  • Charisma (That certain something that a person has that may be called charm!)
  • Ability to play another instrument like guitar or piano
  • Ability to song write (this will always be a skill worth developing)
  • Demo CD of songs showcasing your voice and abilities
  • Publicity photos
  • Biography
  • Website (My Space, ReverbNation and Facebook are free!)
  • Creativity
  • Originality

Earnings and Job Outlook

Current number of workers in USA (2012)167,400

Projected number of workers in USA (2022)176,200

Average entry-level annual salary in USA (2014)$18,319

Average annual salary for all workers in USA (2014)$66,280

Average experienced-worker annual salary for all workers in USA (2014)$134,864