By, Tara Sutaria
(She’s an accomplished singer and performer and the newest diva of Disney Channel! Having learnt classical ballet, modern dance and Latin American dances, she is quite the dancer too. And that’s not all. She’s sung for movies like Taare Zameen Par and Guzaarish.)
How to Have a Successful Singing Career
“I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing”. ~William James.
Having grown up in an environment of music and song, sometimes I’m certain that I can hear music even when there isn’t any. Music has been proven to cure life threatening diseases, uplift the spirit and contribute to overall happiness. Today India is on the global music map with Indian composers and musicians contributing to world music. So, what better time for us to embark on a career in music?
BUT…. sadly, life isn’t just about a song. You need to be prepared for a bumpy road, rocky terrain and many hiccups along the way. To be successful and accomplished at anything, you need to be disciplined. You need to set aside time for practice, warm up your voice before you begin singing and be careful not to harm your throat in any way.
Know your music!
You also need to be knowledgeable and well informed not just about the current trends in music but also arm yourself with a vast knowledge of all kinds of music! Even if you are aiming at being a pop singer, you should be well versed with all kinds, including classical, rap, and jazz and so on, as many times you will be required to do a fusion song or take a rhythm or beat from another genre of music.
Many youngsters mock music of previous generations but it is most essential to have a working knowledge of it as these songs are immensely popular and liked by people of all ages. It is better to be safe and pick an older song when performing than to try a new song as it may not be accepted by your audience. People find comfort in familiarity and I have realised this when I have performed all time favourites like Abba, Disney songs, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sound of Music.
Connecting with your audience
In order to make a successful career in singing, you also need to make contact with your audience. Even the most spectacular voice on the planet, if impersonal in its approach, will leave the audience cold. A good singer is actually one who is a good performer. Involve your audience and make each and every one of them feel special and as talented as yourself, by inviting them to sing along. You will be surprised at how your popularity soars and with it you’re rating on the charts.
For those who are shy, it helps to expose you to an audience as much as possible. You could do this by participating in every show that comes your way. This makes you more confident and comfortable not only with yourself, but with people too.
Here are a few tips to preserve your voice for a successful singing career:
1. Avoid the three C’s in the food family – Colour, Citrus, and Cold foods.
2. Before a performance, don’t eat chocolate, fried and oily foods.
3. Always keep yourself and your voice well hydrated.
4. When you get the urge to clear your throat, don’t. Drink a few sips of water instead.
5. Suck on a piece of raw ginger all day before a performance. Ginger soothes the throat.
6. Preferably don’t speak for 24 hours before recording a song or performing. Your voice needs its rest just like the rest of you do, if you are to sizzle, sparkle and shine on the day itself.
7. Incase you have a sore throat or a cough, don’t strain your voice by trying to sing, or sing at half volume, as your vocal cords may get permanently damaged.
8. During the teen years, the voice changes, so a person you need to be really careful not to damage your vocal cords by training or pushing the voice at this crucial time in your life.
While there are some performers making a career out of singing when they don’t really sing all that well, it’s those people who love their craft and continually improve their form and ability who command the most respect as singers. I’ve found that if you love what you do, you’re happiest.
I stand by the famous saying “Don’t fit in, stand out!”