5 Tips I Learned as a Background Vocalist

Article by Linn Holmstedt

The value of supporting performers can never be underestimated.

The role of the background vocalist is a significant one in the overall musical texture and visual experience of any performance. Today, here’s:

5 Tips I Learned As A Background Vocalist

    1. Connecting With The Music
      You are there to complement the primary performer, so always make sure you know the material well. Also, be able to complement the main melody with effective harmonic lines.
    2. Be A Great Team Player
      Always respect the other band members and be able to take direction on the fly. Always be nice, because everyone wants to work in a positive environment.
    3. Be Alive and in the Moment
      You are part of the band, but have no instrument to hide behind. Though maybe not singing all the time, you’re still performing all the time. So practice your stage presence, whether being small moves or bopping to the beat, so you still you provide an enhancing visual presence to the overall performance. You may also find yourself performing with other background vocalists as well. Maybe very last minute with little to no rehearsal. So be able to read and act to other peoples stage presence on the fly and adjust accordingly. 
    4. Continue To Grow
      Research the greats. I recommend watching the Netflix Documentary ”20 Feet from Stardom” and also studying live performances. I learnt a great deal from watching the background work on acts such as; Stevie Nicks, Tina Turner and Brittany Howard. There are thousands of resources out there and we can never stop learning and improving our craft.
    5. The Power of Practice
      Train your ears! Work on your intervals and improve your rhythm and tone. It will set you apart from the good to the great.
Article by Linn Holmstedt
image credit: Bruno Cervera
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